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A Security Fraud Victim's Hardship and Perseverance

By Scott C. Ilgenfritz | Categories: Articles, LitigationPrint PDF September 2014

In the summer of 2009, Tamesha Stubbs contacted me about devastating financial losses that she had suffered as a result of having been advised to invest in purported oil and gas leases in Texas. The story she told me was heart-rending.

In September, 2007, Tamesha’s husband, Dion Stubbs, was killed in a car accident, leaving her a single parent with a young daughter. Dion had had the foresight to obtain life insurance coverage slightly in excess of $1 million. Following Dion’s death, Tamesha suffered from debilitating depression. However, she knew that she needed help to invest the life insurance benefits to generate income on which she and her daughter could live.

Tamesha was referred to Phillip E. Freeman, III, as a purported financial advisor, who could assist her in investing the life insurance benefits conservatively to generate income. Unbeknownst to Tamesha, Mr. Freeman had been barred from the securities industry because of past misconduct. Mr. Freeman also failed to disclose that he had a referral relationship with Robert W. Robinson to whom he referred potential investors for payments from the investors’ funds. Between late December, 2007, and October, 2008, through misrepresentations and omissions of material fact, Mr. Freeman and Mr. Robinson induced Tamesha to invest over $960,000 of her life insurance benefits in what they told her were legitimate, active oil and gas producing properties.

Although the collectibility of any judgment that Tamesha might obtain appeared to be highly questionable, I felt compelled to pursue claims on her behalf. As discovery in the case progressed, it became clear that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Robinson had perpetrated a colossal securities fraud on Tamesha. Less than $21,000 was repaid to Tamesha. The so-called “investments” turned out to be bogus.

The trial of Tamesha’s case took place in July, 2014. At the conclusion of the case, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge, James D. Arnold, entered a judgment against Mr. Freeman, Mr. Robinson, and three entities owned by Mr. Robinson for approximately $1.3 million in compensatory damages and $3.9 million in punitive damages.

On August 22, 2014, the Tampa Bay Times published an article, telling Tamesha’s story and reporting the outcome of the trial. Here is the link to that article:

Tamesha has persevered through the death of her husband and the fraud perpetrated upon her. She has recovered from her depression. She has picked herself up. She has a full time job. She is supporting herself and her daughter. She is slowly paying off the credit card and other debt incurred as a result of the fraud perpetrated on her.

Scott Ilgenfritz has spent his thirty-year legal career with Johnson Pope.  Since 1992, Scott has represented individuals and entities in claims against stockbrokers, brokerage firms, investment advisors, and other financial professionals to recover losses suffered as a result of negligence or other wrongdoing.  Scott has been Board certified by The Florida Bar as a Business Litigation Specialist since 1997.  In 1997, Scott became a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (“PIABA”).  PIABA is a national bar association comprised of lawyers who represent investors in securities arbitration proceedings.  PIABA promotes investor rights and education.  Scott has been a member of PIABA’s Board of Directors since 2008, and he is PIABA’s Immediate Past President.  Since 2007, Scott has been recognized annually as a Florida Super Lawyer in the practice area of Business Litigation.  In 2012, Scott was peer selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Commercial Litigation.  He has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America for the years 2013 through 2015 in the practice areas of Litigation-Securities, Commercial Litigation, and Litigation-Trusts & Estates.

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