On Thursday May 17, 2012, the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a press release announcing the filing of a summons and complaint to recover funds for investors. The filing coincided with an earlier press release disclosing that Mr. Robert (Bob) H. Van Zandt had been indicted and arrested for criminal charges stemming from some of the same activity that formed the factual basis for the civil filing.
The New York Attorney General’s civil filing noted that Mr. Van Zandt issued promissory notes totaling over $35 million to over 250 investors, most of whom were unsophisticated and invested the bulk of their life savings in the scheme. The filing alleged that these promissory notes were securities sales that were not properly registered with the requisite governmental offices in New York State and, while stated to be suitable for self-directed IRAs, were at best “highly speculative.”
The civil filing also alleged that while the Van Zandt Agency, by Mr. Van Zandt, sold the promissory notes with the understanding that the money collected would be used to fund real estate purchases and real estate development, in reality bank loans were used to fund certain purchases and construction, while other projects were never even commenced. The civil filing further alleged that no investors received security in the form of mortgages or otherwise, and that the money was converted for personal use or used to pay interest claims of other investors, essentially a Ponzi scheme.
Malecki Law already represents a very large group of investors against MetLife Securities, Inc. in a $9.5 million arbitration proceeding before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and is investigating bringing other actions against other broker-dealers for their possible role in dealing with Mr. Van Zandt and the Van Zandt Agency. Any investor who has questions concerning any investment made with Mr. Van Zandt or the Van Zandt Agency should contact an attorney at Malecki Law to discuss whether they may qualify for such a claim.