Ex-securities broker named in Ponzi scheme lawsuits

FORT COLLINS – A Fort Collins man has been named in four lawsuits alleging he defrauded family trusts and individuals out of more than $3.5 million

Randall Lane Pope, 58, a former securities broker with Lakewood-based CapWest Securities, was one of several people and firms named in the suits, filed last year in Wyoming District Court.

The lawsuits allege Pope took part in Ponzi schemes that involved selling fraudulent debentures in Texas-based Striker Petroleum and Provident Royalties, companies that were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009 with allegedly bilking thousands of investors out of more than a half-billion dollars.

The companies allegedly enticed investors to loan them money to explore and drill for oil and gas on the expectation of a high rate of return.

Both Striker and Provident have gone out of business and into receivership, and investors have been advised that there is little chance they will recoup any of their funds.

Pope, reached at his home by telephone, declined to be interviewed by phone. But he did email the following:

“It is a fact of our legal system that anyone can allege anything they want in a lawsuit,” Pope wrote. “Unfortunately, a person immediately becomes a defendant whether or not the allegations are true or accurate. The allegations only have to be accurate at such time the case is presented in court in a trial.”

Pope has been named in similar actions in Colorado, Texas and Oregon, according to a review of court records by the Business Report.

Those cases are still under investigation or in arbitration by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the nation’s largest independent securities regulator.

FINRA’s mission is “to protect investors and make sure brokers operate fairly and honestly.”

FINRA spokeswoman Michelle Ong said she could not comment on any matter either under investigation or in arbitration.

But Ong confirmed that a final award against Pope was rendered in a FINRA arbitration case last month.

In late October, a three-person FINRA panel agreed to award Rosalin Rogers of Tarrant County, Texas, a settlement of $182,034 in compensatory damages.

According to FINRA documents, Rogers had sought $450,000 from Pope based on claims of breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations, omissions and negligence related to the recommendation and purchase of a tenant-in-common investment of an industrial warehouse in Texas.

FINRA records show Pope was a registered broker with CapWest Securities until October 2009.

Jon Deden, a credit examiner with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Division of Securities, said his office has received complaints about Pope, which were forwarded to FINRA.

Deden said his office has taken no enforcement actions against Pope and he said the Division of Securities has no action planned “at the present time.”

In the Wyoming lawsuits, Pope – along with the other defendants – is accused of:

  • Defrauding the Naomi Miles Revocable Trust and Charles M. Miles Jr. Trust of $966,000 through Ponzi scheme investments in Striker and Provident debentures.
  • Defrauding the Russell Fieldgrove, Mary Jane Fieldgrove and Cecil H. Fieldgrove Trust of $1.4 million through Ponzi scheme investments in Striker and Medical Capital Holdings. MedCap was a California-based company shut down by the SEC in 2009 for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme involving loans to health care providers and facilities.
  • Defrauding the Martha W. Gibbs Revocable Trust and Alida Talmage Trust of $762,000 in alleged Ponzi scheme investments in Striker and Provident debentures.
  • Defrauding the Arno Family Revocable Trust and Deborah and Erin King of $395,000 in alleged Ponzi scheme investments in Striker debentures.

A debenture is an unsecured loan backed only by the integrity of the borrower and not by collateral, usually offering a higher rate of return than a collateralized investment.

In each of the Wyoming cases, Pope and others are accused of selling the high-risk investments to buyers with little or no sophistication about the securities market.

Mark Stewart, an attorney for the Cheyenne-based law firm of Davis and Cannon representing the claimants in all four Wyoming District Court cases, said the cases may be headed for FINRA arbitration.

FINRA can strip the licenses of offending brokers and levy fines. FINRA said it levied nearly $50 million in fines in 2009.