Notice to Deeproot Fund Investors: $58 Million Ponzi-like Scheme

February 3, 2023

KlaymanToskes Investigates PGH Advisors’ Pamela Hopman and MaRico Tippett

National investment fraud lawyers KlaymanToskes is investigating PGH Advisors’ Pamela Hopman (CRD# 3023382) and MaRico Tippett (CRD# 4821428) following allegations that they recommended investments in Deeproot Funds, a Ponzi-like scheme run by Robert J. Mueller (CRD# 1817451) that defrauded $58 million from nearly 300 investors.

On August 20th, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Deeproot Funds, LLC and its owner, San Antonio, Texas-based investment adviser Robert J. Mueller, with operating an alleged Ponzi-like scheme that defrauded $58 million from September 2015 to at least February 2021. Mueller created two pooled investment funds in 2014 known as the Deeproot 575 Fund and the Deeproot Growth Runs Deep Fund.

Customers who suffered investment losses at the hands of Robert J. Mueller, Pamela Hopman, MaRico Tippett, PGH Advisors, and/or Deeproot Funds are encouraged to contact attorney Lawrence L. Klayman at (888) 997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com to learn about recovery options. All consultations are free and confidential.

According to the SEC complaint, Deeproot investors, including many retirees, were allegedly solicited by Mueller to cash out annuities they held with other investment companies and instead invest in misrepresented Deeproot entities. The SEC’s allegations disclose that Mueller told investors Deeproot Funds would invest in life insurance policies and other Deeproot-related investments that would provide safe returns. While $58 million in funds were raised, less than $10 million was invested in insurance policies.

The SEC’s findings indicated that the majority of investors’ assets were used “like a piggy bank to fund Mueller’s Deeproot-affiliated businesses” and that Mueller “used more than $1.5 million of the Funds’ assets to pay hundreds of personal expenses.” Deeproot also made over $820,000 in Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors using money raised from new investors and made “at least $177,000 in payments from money borrowed on a short-term basis using the life insurance policies as collateral.”

The SEC’s complaint lists the following defendants:

  • Robert J. Mueller
  • Belinda G. Breen
  • Deeproot Funds, LLC
  • Policy Services, Inc.
  • Deeproot Tech LLC
  • Deeproot Pinball LLC
  • Deeproot Studios LLC
  • Deeproot Sports & Entertainment LLC
  • Deeproot RE 12621 Silicon Dr. LLC

While Deeproot Funds filed for bankruptcy in December 2021, investors may still pursue individual FINRA arbitration claims to recover investment losses by contacting attorney Lawrence L. Klayman at (888) 997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com

 Deeproot Broker Alert: PGH Advisors’ Pamela Hofman and MaRico Tippett

On January 23rd, 2023, the Arizona Corporation Commission (“ACC”), Securities Division, issued an Order to Cease and Desist naming Pamela Hopman, her husband Paul Hopman, and PGH Advisors, LLC (doing business as “The Hopman Group”) in connection with allegedly selling Deeproot Funds and failing to inform investors of their high commission fees. Hopman and his spouse were ordered to pay $410,790 in restitution and an administrative penalty of $35,000.

According to the ACC, PGH’s brochure, distributed or available to clients on an annual basis,  states, “PGH charges either a non-negotiable hourly fee or a negotiable fixed fee for financial planning” and “PGH does not receive any external compensation for the sale of securities to clients, nor do any of the investment adviser representatives of PGH.”

However, the ACC found that Pamela Hopman did receive external securities sales compensation through her entities PGH and MP Wealth Management. According to the findings, MP Wealth is a member-managed company, and the members of MP Wealth were Hopman and MaRico Tippett, until the Trustee of the Hopman Family Trust replaced Hopman on February 27th, 2020.

The ACC found that “on at least ten occasions from at least June 16th, 2016 through July 13th, 2020, PGH and Hopman sold Deeproot products to advisory clients of PGH and failed to disclose Hopman’s commission.” Hopman received at least $100,250 in commissions from selling at least $1,562,392 worth of Deeproot products to at least ten clients.

In one example, Hopman allegedly informed a conservative investor who stated he had “a need for liquidity in the near future” that Deeproot was “very safe, much safer than the stock market,” which the division notes is “in direct contravention of the Deeproot PPM’s disclosures that Deeproot investments ‘involve a high degree of risk’ and are ‘intended to be held indefinitely and are therefore, illiquid’.”

In addition, Hopman and Tippett allegedly began selling a series of highly speculative and illiquid products issued by Premier Global Corporation. The Premier products sold were “generally automatically renewing 12-month unsecured promissory notes that accrued interest and were payable to the investor.”

Also, on November 21st, 2022, the ACC issued an Order to Cease and Desist  charging MaRico Tippett with several securities violations in the state of Arizona, suspending him for 30 days and ordering him to pay $28,231.70 in restitution along with an administrative penalty of $2,500.

If you suffered investment losses with Robert J. Mueller, Pamela Hopman, MaRico Tippett, and/or PGH Advisors in Tucson, AZ you are encouraged to contact Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq. at (888) 997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com to discuss your potential case.

Related Customer Complaints Against Hopman and Tippett

Pamela Hopman (CRD# 3023382) has two pending customer complaints alleging over $1 million in collective damages. The first complaint, filed on December 28th, 2021, alleges investor damages of $906,302 regarding unsuitable private placement investment recommendations and asserts causes of actions including breach of contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, negligent supervision, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, consumer fraud, constructive fraud, and violations of Arizona securities and investment law.

The second investor complaint, filed on February 3rd, 2022, alleges investor damages of $100,000 and that as the owner of PGH Advisors, Hopman failed to supervise financial advisor Tippett. The complaint alleges causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, constructive fraud, negligent representation, breach of contract, implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of Arizona securities law.

MaRico Tippett (CRD# 4821428) is currently facing a pending customer complaint filed on February 22nd, 2022, which alleges $175,000 in damages to the investor regarding unsuitable alternative investment recommendations.

If you suffered investment losses with Deeproot Funds, PGH Advisors, Pamela Hopman, MaRico Tippett, and/or Robert J. Mueller, you are encouraged to contact Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq. at (888) 997-9956 or lklayman@klaymantoskes.com to discuss your recovery options.

About KlaymanToskes

KlaymanToskes is a leading national securities law firm which practices exclusively in the field of securities arbitration on behalf of retail and institutional investors throughout the world in large and complex securities matters. The firm has recovered over $250 million in FINRA arbitrations and over $350 million in other securities litigation matters. KlaymanToskes has office locations in California, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.


KlaymanToskes, P.A.
Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq.