Articles Posted in Securities Attorney

shutterstock_168737270-300x168Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Dominic DeBruin (DeBruin), formerly associated with LPL Financial, LLC (LPL Financial).  According to brokercheck, FINRA found that DeBruin refused to provide information and documents and to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested by FINRA concerning a member firm’s Form U5 reporting that he was under internal review for depositing client’s funds related to potential private securities transactions undisclosed to the firm into a bank account DeBruin controlled.

At this time it is unclear the total scope and extent of these outside business activities and private transactions.  However, according to DeBruin’s disclosures he is affiliated with the following entities: 1) Capricorn Partners, LLC – DeBruin’s securities d/b/a; 2) Out of Order LLC – an entertainment boking agency; 3) Goodlife Financial Group – an investment d/b/a; 4) Top 5 Entertainment.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

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shutterstock_123758422-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Barry Rumpel (Rumpel) currently associated with IFS Securities alleging unsuitable investments among other claims.  The majority of the complaints involve variable universal life insurance policies (VULs).  According to brokercheck records Rumpel has been subject to four customer complaints, one employment separation for cause, and one criminal matter.

In May 2016 Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) alleged that Rumpel engaged in a personal financial transaction with a client and terminated Rumpel.  The most recent customer complaint was filed in October 2016 and alleged that a VUL sold to the customer and his wife were not suitable and that wrong net worth was entered in application in 2011 and 2012.  The claim was dismissed.

VULs are often unsuitable life insurance products for many investors due to their high costs compared to traditional life insurance policies.  VULs can also lapse if policy premiums are not paid resulting in a complete loss of the investors capital without any life insurance benefit.

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shutterstock_20354401-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Bryon Glime (Glime) formerly associated with Capital Investment Group, Inc. (Capital Investment) alleging unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Glime has been subject to three customer complaints, one criminal matter, three judgments or liens, one employment termination for cause, and one regulator action.

In September 2015 Glime was terminated by Capital Investment after the firm alleged that Glime failed to timely report a criminal disclosure to the firm.  The criminal disclosure disclosed includes allegations of theft, embezzlement, and misappropriation.

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shutterstock_70513588-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Charles Sorensen (Sorensen) currently associated with Allegis Investment Services, LLC (Allegis Investment), d/b/a Soresnsen Financial, Inc., alleging unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and misrepresentations among other claims.  Some of the complaints involve securities including mutual funds and options.  According to brokercheck records Sorensen has been subject to four customer complaints.

In August 2016 a customer brought a complaint against Sorensen alleging that Sorensen made transactions without authorization in or around August 2015. The complaint alleges $100,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

In June 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging that the options strategy in which the account was invested in August of 2015 was not suitable causing $94,133.36 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_57561913-300x189Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Donnie Ingram (Ingram) currently associated with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus) alleging unsuitable investments among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Ingram has been subject to eight customer complaints.  Many of the complaints involve direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other alternative investments.

Our firm has experience representing investment fraud victims with these investments against Centaurus as well as other brokerage firms.  See Gana LLP Wins Arbitration Award On Behalf of Client Against Centaurus Financial.  In that case, the Claimant alleged that the broker involved invested over $2,000,000 in exclusively high cost products and 50% of those investments were in alternative investments such as private placements, oil and gas partnerships, and REITs.  The other 50% was invested in variable and equity-indexed annuities.  Award Can Be Found Here.

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shutterstock_156972491Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Wayde Walker (Walker) currently registered with National Securities Corporation (National Securities), alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Walker has been subject to seven customer complaints and three tax liens.

In May 2016 Walker disclosed a tax lien of $42,132.72.  In September 2015 Walker disclosed a tax lien of $110,255.57.  Also in May 2015 Walker disclosed another tax lien of $39,257.39.  A broker’s inability to pay debts may also be an indicator that a broker may solicit funds and loans from his clients or otherwise engage in other misconduct to raise funds to satisfy personal obligations.

In December 2015 a customer filed a complaint involving Walker alleging that the broker made unauthorized trades and misrepresented securities among other claims.  The customer alleged $513,218.40 in damages.  The claim is current pending.

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shutterstock_70999552Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Troy Tremblay (Tremblay) currently registered with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus), alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and unfair business practices among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Lambert has been subject to three customer complaints, two judgement/liens, and one financial disclosure.

In May 2014 Tremblay disclosed a tax lien of $43,280.84.  In February 2014 Tremblay disclosed another tax lien of $59,670.74.  A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

In May 2014 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Tremblay caused the customer $932,810 in damages stemming from a tenant in common (TIC) investment.  The claim was resolved for $315,000.

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shutterstock_70999552Our firm’s investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Joseph Zastrow (Zastrow) currently associated with Thrivent Investment Management Inc. (Thrivent) alleging unsuitable recommendations to invest in variable products such as variable annuities, equity indexed annuities, and variable life insurance.  According to brokercheck records Zastrow has been subject to six customer complaints and one criminal matter.

In August 2016 a customer alleged that Zastrow failed to provide the customer with disclosures about the variable annuity contract or provide suitability information in July 2015.  The customer also alleged that his signature was forged on documents dated May 2015. The customer claimed $2,956.67 in damages and was granted $2,861.98.

Variable annuities and equity indexed annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.

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shutterstock_85873471The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against William Byrd (Byrd) alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Byrd has been subject to three customer complaints.

A customer complaint filed in June 2016 alleging that the broker made unsuitable recommendations, misrepresented investments and breached his fiduciary duty causing damages in the amount of $65,000.  The claim is currently pending.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

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shutterstock_130706948The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker John Steffen (Steffen).  The FINRA regulatory action (No. 2012035116901) alleges that Steffen, from December 14, 2010 through December 15, 2011, executed approximately 1176 discretionary transactions by making reallocations in the subaccounts of variable annuities owned by approximately 192 customers, without obtaining written authorization from the customers.

In addition, Steffen has 13 disclosed customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  In June 2016 a customer filed a complaint against Steffen alleging unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning in connection with a series of variable annuity transactions conducted over a period of 12 years. The complaint also alleged that Steffen was not properly supervised.  The complaint alleges damages of $285,000 and is currently pending.

Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

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