The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of former securities broker Donna Barnard. According to her publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Donna Barnard has been the subject of numerous customer disputes in connection with the unethical Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Funds.
Donna Barnard was a Texas based securities broker. She worked in the securities industry for seven years. During her career, she was registered with three different securities firms. She is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.
- Woodmen Financial Services (2009-2012)
- Signal Securities (2013-2014)
- HD Vest Investment Services (2014-2017)
According to her publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Donna Barnard has been the subject of fourteen complaints received between 2018 and 2019 all connected to the Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Funds. These funds were part of what was known as the Woodbridge Group of Companies. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Woodbridge Group of Companies spent years operating as a massive Ponzi scheme.
The funds associated with the Woodbridge Group of Companies were privately traded securities not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, also known as private placements. Instead of selling equity shares of these private securities, numerous elderly investors were sold what are known as promissory notes by brokers like Donna Barnard. Private placements are not traded on any public securities exchanges, nor are they registered with the SEC. Because of this, they are very poorly regulated. This, in turn, creates a great potential for oversight when dealing with these products. These products in general are highly unsuitable for investors due to their speculative and illiquid nature; however, Woodbridge took it to an entirely new level.
In the case of Woodbridge, these brokers told potential investors that these promissory notes were backed by mortgages that the funds would be providing. Securities brokers all over the country recommended Woodbridge promissory notes to investors claiming that would receive an incredibly high annual interest rate of anywhere between 5 to 8 percent. These brokers asserted that this interest was to be paid out to investors in monthly distributions. However, Woodbridge did very little in regards to actually providing mortgages. Instead, money was simply being diverted to numerous LLCs housed under the Woodbridge umbrella to give the false appearance that the company was providing mortgages. Since the company was not generating the capital, they needed to do something else to fund its monthly distributions owed to investors.
In order to pay these dividends, Woodbridge used funds that it solicited from later rounds of investors. This continued until the Woodbridge Group of Companies eventually declared bankruptcy. This was after they had solicited over $1.2 billion from 8,400 investors–most of whom were elderly with a diminished capacity to make financial decisions on their own. When Woodbridge collapsed, these promissory notes became completely worthless and many investors lost their principal investments.
The complaints against Donna Barnard are from customers who alleged that her recommendations that they invest in these Woodbridge funds were highly unsuitable and that she misrepresented what they actually were. Donna Barnard was eventually sanctioned by FINRA after allegedly failing to comply with an investigation into these numerous complaints regarding her involvement with the Woodbridge Group of Companies. Because of her alleged failure to comply with the investigation, she was barred from acting as a securities broker in any fashion.
Oakes & Fosher Can Help
Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages.
Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Donna Barnard, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. Oakes & Fosher handles cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.