Massachusetts regulators say they have expanded the scope of their investigation of business operations associated with Nicholas Schorsch, a spokesperson confirmed late Friday.
The move came one day after news of a lawsuit filed in New York that accuses real-estate mogul Schorsch of playing a role in American Realty Capital Properties’ (ARCP) recent $23 million in accounting errors.
“We have sent out subpoenas to four companies this week concerning … what they knew regarding information contained in the suit: American Realty Capital Properties, American Realty Capital, RCS Capital (RCAP) and Realty Capital Securities,” said Brian McNiff, who works for the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “This is all related to our original complaint.”
In November, Galvin’s office began investigating Realty Capital Securities, including its nontraded REIT sales. At the same time, multiple independent broker-dealers — including RCAP-owned Cetera Financial Group — suspended sales of Cole and AR Capital nontraded REITs, along with several major custodial firms, such as Charles Schwab (SCHW). Some, but by no means all, of these broker-dealers have resumed their sales of these REITs.
Earlier this week, three top executives resigned from American Realty Capital Properties: Schorsch stepped down as executive chairman and a director; CEO David Kay resigned; and Lisa Beeson, president and chief operating officer, also ended her time at ARCP.
On Thursday, ARCP’s former-Chief Accounting Officer Lisa McAlister filed a complaint alleging that Schorsch directed two executives to manipulate quarterly financial results in July. In addition, McAlister says she informed Schorsch and Kay of questionable accounting practices in the first quarter of 2014, but her concerns was ignored.
McAlister’s complaint, which was first reported in The Wall Street Journal, is part of a lawsuit that seeks at least $50 million in damages.
In November, equity raised from investors at ARCP’ Cole Capital unit fell to $19.7 million, a drop of 81% from October, according to investment bank Robert A. Stanger & Co. AR Capital’s American Realty Capital-branded real estate products raised $154.3 million in November, a 58% decline from October, according to the bank.
Schorsch remains executive chairman of RCS Capital, which raises money from investors for AR Capital’s nontraded REITs.