On December 10, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted cease-and-desist proceedings against Walter Francis Grenda, Jr. (CRD# 722911) and the company he jointly owned, Reliance Financial Advisors, LLC. In July, Grenda submitted an offer of settlement, which was accepted by the SEC and included a bar from Grenda ever associating with another broker-dealer again.
According to the SEC, while Grenda was a stockbroker registered with the firm Mid Atlantic Capital Corporation, Grenda allegedly made false and misleading statements to his clients in recommending and selling investments in a risky hedge fund called Prestige Wealth Management Fund, LP (Prestige Fund). The SEC stated that Grenda sold the Prestige Fund to his long-standing clients, many of whom were retired or near retirement, on fixed incomes, and lacked investment knowledge or sophistication. To come up with money to invest in the Prestige Fund, some of Grenda’s clients allegedly had to cash in variable annuities, for which they incurred approximately $290,000 in surrender fees.
According to the cease-and-desist order, Grenda had knowledge of the high risk involved with investments in the Prestige Fund but still made it appear to advisory clients that it was less risky. For example, the SEC said Grenda provided a private placement memorandum to his clients that included great exaggerations regarding the individual who developed the strategy coded into the trading platform – an individual who the SEC said had virtually no trading or investment experience.
The SEC order states that the Prestige fund allegedly took in $8 million in investments from Grenda’s clients, but did not result in positive returns as was initially advertised. In approximately October 2012, Grenda allegedly withdrew his clients from the Prestige Fund, and the Fund collapsed shortly thereafter.
If you have invested with Walter Francis Grenda, Jr. and lost money as a result, our securities lawyers at Meyer Wilson may be able to help. We are currently investigating allegations against Grenda and want to help you recover your losses. Call us for a free case evaluation and learn how we may be able to help you take legal action.