SEC Wins Bench Trial Against Advisory Firm, World Tree Financial, LLC and Its Co-Owners for Cherry-Picking Scheme and Misrepresentations to Clients
(STL.New) On January 15, 2021, following a week-long, live bench trial, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana entered final judgment in favor of the SEC against investment advisory firm World Tree Financial, LLC and its co-owners Wesley Kyle Perkins and Priscilla Perkins. The SEC charged Wesley Perkins and World Tree on September 18, 2018, with perpetrating a fraudulent cherry-picking scheme. The SEC also charged Wesley Perkins, World Tree, and Priscilla Perkins for misrepresentations to investors regarding its trading policies.
The court found that between July 2012 and July 2015, Wesley Perkins and World Tree engaged in a cherry-picking scheme in which Wesley Perkins intentionally allocated profitable trades to favored accounts, including his own, while allocating unprofitable trades to two accounts with substantial assets controlled by one client. Also, the court found that Wesley Perkins, Priscilla Perkins, and World Tree falsely represented to clients that World Tree and the Perkinses were not trading in the same securities as World Tree’s clients and further found that the defendants’ scheme violated the firm’s stated trading policies.