[Update through January 2021] When we first wrote this post in 2014, its title was Real Life “Wolf of Wall Street” Gets the Boot! Since it is such a great story, we have reprinted that post below and then updated it to reveal what we know today.
One of the things we love to do is publish “where are they now stories.” If not in prison, many fraudsters simply go on to commit new frauds and scams. Does Chris Veale fit into that mold? You decide.
January 2014: Anyone who watched the new movie Wolf of Wall Street was probably amused by some of the over-the-top shenanigans at brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. Some thought the movie was a comedy. Unfortunately, the movie was based on the real firm Stratton Oakmont. This week, Massachusetts state securities regulators began proceedings to bar former Stratton broker Christopher Veale from ever selling securities to Massachusetts residents. Generally when a state regulator takes action the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – FINRA – quickly follows up with nationwide sanctions.
So who is Christopher Veale? According to public records, not a very good guy in our opinion.
FINRA’s BrokerCheck system lists a staggering 21 disclosure events. (Most brokers have none.) These include 2 regulatory actions, 12 customer disputes, 6 judgments or liens and 1 criminal prosecution. We suspect that Mr. Veale doesn’t mention those statistics when touting hot investments to unsuspecting clients. [Before leaving the industry, Veale racked up an astonishing 25 disclosure vents. He was suspended by FINRA in 2015 for failing to cooperate with an investigation.]
More telling, in 18 years in the securities business, Christopher Veale has been registered with 18 firms, including 3 different firms in 2012 alone. (Securities officials call this “cockroaching.”)
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin claims that Veale engaged in abusive sales practices. One of the allegations involved an elder abuse claim in which Veale churned the account of an 81 year old man and concealed excess commissions. The term “churning” involves repeated buying and selling of securities. Each transaction earns the broker a commission. Churning involves engaging in transactions for the sake of the commissions instead of the client’s financial well being.
According to the Massachusetts complaint, Christopher Veale and another broker convinced an elderly man to invest $847,000. His account was margined as well meaning he was borrowing money to invest. In less than 2 years Veale and the other broker caused the man $1.6 million in out-of-pocket losses while earning themselves $320,000 in commissions.
Veale has denied the allegations.
According to an article in InvestmentNews, the State of Rhode Island has also now made a formal complaint against Christopher Veale and his former employer, Brookville Capital Partners.
Said Galvin in announcing the enforcement actions, “Rogue brokers have long been a plague on the investing public. My office, along with other state and federal regulators, is determined to move aggressively against them, as well as the firms that hire them.”
Veale learned from a master. According to FINRA, his first job in the industry was working with legendary Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie) at Stratton Oakmont.
As noted above, this isn’t Veale’s first time in trouble. FINRA says he was arrested in Miami for felony corruption by threat against a public servant. It appears he dodged that charge after completing a pretrial diversion program.
On the regulatory front, clients have successfully complained about Veale as well. Complaints include churning, making unsuitable recommendations and breach of fiduciary duty. If that isn’t enough, he was slapped with a $503,000 tax lien last fall and American Express hit him with a judgment for $200,000.
If you think that sounds a lot like the movie Wolf of Wall Street, you are right. Except this time there are real victims including an 81 year old man who claims he lost $1.6 million. Unfortunately, the real life story isn’t funny like the movie.
The lessons in this story? First, always check BrokerCheck before investing. The regulatory record of both the broker and the brokerage firm are available instantly and for free.
Next while FINRA, the SEC and state securities regulators work hard to police the industry, there will always be bad brokers. If you have lost money because of churning, an unsuitable investment, thinly traded REIT, Ponzi scheme or other scam, contact us. Most investment fraud cases can be handled through arbitration and without legal fees unless there is a recovery.
Chris Veale and Global Recovery Solutions
Fast forward to January 2021. Where is Chris Veale now? Glad you asked!
The Wall Street Journal did its own story on Christopher Veale. That was in March 2015 after we published our story. At that time, he told them that he had “moved on to other ventures.” Then the trail grew cold. Until now.
Sources tell us that Veale left the securities world and now is in the debt collection business. This is what we have been told:
Veale is part owner of a collection agency in Boca Raton, Florida called Global Recovery Solutions LLC. Not to knock the fine residents and honest business people of Boca, but the city has earned the reputation as the fraud capital of North America.
True to that reputation, we are told Global Recovery Solutions engages in daily and deliberate violations of Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. As of December 29th, the Better Business Bureau gives the business an F rating. One consumer told the BBB,
I had a loan balance that was due to Cash Net USA and Global Recovery Group , Inc called me to collect and pretended to be the collection agency for Cash Net USA , I paid the whole balance of 363.47 in full and was sent an e-mail stating I paid in full and then I got a call from CASH NET USA’s actual collection agency “United Holding Group who then stated that I did not pay the balance off and that Global Recovery Group is fraud they are not a real company who do not collect for CASH NET USA.
We understand that Cash Net USA is a payday lender, another industry with a tarnished reputation. Our source tells us that Global recovery Group collects for several payday lenders including Ace Cash Express, The Cash Store, and Cash Net USA.
The scam allegedly taking place is new to us. It is called a “process server scam”. We Googled in and learned the five signs of a process server scam. They are:
- Offer to Pretend they Couldn’t Find You. In most situations, a court case cannot proceed if you have not been officially notified of the action against you. …
- Offer to Make the Case Go Away. …
- Making Harassing Phone Calls. …
- Attempting to Negotiate Debt. …
- Trying to Collect Money for the Case
We also believe that collections there make calls from spoofed numbers containing whichever area code they are calling. They pretend to be process servers looking for the debtor to “serve legal documents.”
So who is behind this company? We are told Christopher Veale, a company called Dressler & Associates LLC in New York and a business called Debt Management Partners.
Piecing it all together, it appears these folks are trying to extort money from unsophisticated and vulnerable borrowers.
And that brings us to our investigation. We are always interested in class action cases against companies that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices (FDCPA) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. There are many laws designed to protect consumers and debtors from spoofed calls, from harassing phone calls and from calls after the caller has been instructed to stop calling.
We don’t know if any of these allegations against Veale and Global Recovery Group are true but we have heard suggests the case is certainly worth investigating. If you worked at a call center for any of these companies, we would love to hear from you. If you were on the receiving end of illegal collection calls, let us hear from you too.
One report does not make a class action but several might.
For more information, contact the author Brian Mahany online, by email at or by telephone at 800.669.7782. All inquiries are kept in confidence. If you are a present or former employee, we won’t use your information without permission.
Did you lose money because of a bad stock broker? Our minimum loss for stockbroker fraud cases is generally $100,000 but contact us anyway if you need more information. (There is no minimum for class action cases.)
*FINRA says there is another broker named Christopher Veale, Christopher Lee Veale who is currently at Charles Schwab and has been in the industry for 20 years without a single blemish on his record. Always do your own research before jumping to conclusions.