We have been contacted by several people who were former clients of Ellwood Jones. Presently, Jones works for an investment advisory firm in Folsom, California called Capital Region Financial Group. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) says that Jones previously worked as a stockbroker for NFP Securities. While at NFP between 1997 and 2011, we believe that Jones was marketing investments offered by Nikolai Battoo, PIWM, Maven and Tracy Sunderlage. Those investments are worthless and suspected to be Ponzi schemes.
In our experience, stockbrokers like Jones rarely hurt just one client. Why he did what he did and how many people he hurt doesn’t matter, either. Both he and his former employer can be held responsible for losses sustained by customers.
Jones had a duty to perform proper due diligence on the products he was recommending and to insure that those products were suitable for his clients. NFP had a duty to know what Mr. Jones was selling and to properly supervise him. One former Jones colleague tells us that she was very suspicious of the high rates of return of the investments that Jones recommended to his clients.
In researching Ellwood Jones, we learned that he was sued in 2010 by a former client. Both Jones and his employer properly disclosed the lawsuit to regulators. At the time, Jones told them that he was “confident” that he would prevail. Curious what the suit was about, we obtained the records from the Superior Court of California, Sacramento County.
The complaint, filed in 2010, says that Jones was acting as the investment adviser to Roger Leasure and his company. Leasure claims that Jones held himself out as a financial professional with 25 years experience specializing in helping the owners of small, privately held businesses.
Leasure says that Jones invited him to an “investment retreat” and there solicited him to invest $300,000. Leasure did and later claims that he did not receive statements or an accounting of how the monies were invested. Ultimately, when Leasure demanded the return of his money, Jones stalled and a lawsuit was ultimately filed. Jones denied the charges.
That lawsuit was dismissed on September 30th. The record suggests the case settled, although there are no terms listed. Frequently, lawsuit settlements are private and not disclosed to the court or the public.
Our investigation of the 2010 lawsuit raises several interesting issues. Jones lists Capital Region Financial Group as his current employer. He tells the SEC, however, that he owns a company called Capital Region International located in Nevis, West Indies. The connection isn’t clear but much of the fraud involving Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage is alleged to have taken place in the West Indies. It also happens to be the home of Fidelity Insurance, another company entangled in the Battoo web.
We understand these could all be coincidences. Our job, however, is to be skeptical.
As noted above, all is not lost. We have no idea how well Capital Region is capitalized. We believe, however, that folks who purchased from Ellwood Jones while he was at NFP may be able to recover their money. Time is running out on those claims, however.
The author of this post, Brian Mahany has teamed up with Chapman Law to pursue cases against PIWM, Maven, Anchor Hedge Fund, First Fidelity, BC Capital and others who may be associated Nikolai Battoo and Tracy Sunderlage. That includes stockbrokers such as Ellwood Jones. We have successfully brought claims against insurance agents too.
If you wish to discuss fraud losses in general, contact the author at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). Have a claim involving Jones, PIWM, Battoo, Sunderlage, Maven or Anchor? Call us, we can help.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.
Tag as PIWM fraud, Maven fraud, Battoo fraud, Ellwood Jones stockbroker