UBS Charged With Fraud in Auction Rate Securities Sales
The State of Massachusetts filed a Complaint today against UBS claiming UBS engaged in fraud and dishonest and unethical conduct with regard to its sales of Auction Rate Securities (ARS). Link to Complaint and Exhibits. In a 101 page Complaint, Massachusetts references voluminous emails it obtained from UBS supporting its claims, and further charges UBS with books and records violations for failures to produce additional documents.
The Complaint describes UBS’s “all-out” effort to market ARS, and especially “troubled student loan-backed auction rate certificates,” to offset increasing inventory from corporate investors who were selling the ARS due to concerns about the market. Despite awareness of serious problems with the market, UBS was initiating conference calls in August 2007 with its financial advisors to encourage the sale of ARS to retail clients and “unload this paper.”
The Complaint further describes the incredible conflicts of interest surrounding the market: “by setting up a situation where it was actively controlling whether auctions would clear and what rate they would clear at, UBS had (unbeknownst to its customers) set up a situation which put it in a fundamentally conflicted role between its desire to keep its underwriting clients happy with the promise of low financing costs and its “moral obligation” to retail customers to keep the auctions it had set up afloat.”
If you are an investor stuck with Auction Rate Securities, and you would like a free consultation to discuss your legal options with an attorney, please contact Greco & Greco.
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