Articles Tagged with Investors Capital Corp

shutterstock_187083428-300x198The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Robert Estevez (Estevez). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 9 disclosures on Estevez’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one judgments or liens among other claims.  Some of the regulatory actions expressed concerns over Estevez’s ability to manage his own personal finances.  Substantial financial disputes on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services.  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.  The most recent regulatory action against Estevez was filed by the State of Michigan which is currently pending and remains unresolved at this time.

In September 2016,FINRA alleged that Mr. Estevez recommended unsuitable short-term steepener transactions to his customers, which are highly complex investment products that profits from the difference between short and long term rates. FINRA claims that the market for steepeners are known to have an illiquid nature, making them unsuitable for most customers. This investment strategy resulted in approximately $24,000 in customer loss. Estevez was issued a penalty of $20,000 and suffered a two-month suspension.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_171721244Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Kenneth Saunders (Saunders) currently associated with National Planning Corporation (NPC) alleging unsuitable investments among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Saunders has been subject to six customer complaints.  Some of the complaints involve direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other alternative investments.

Saunders has also disclosed a number outside business activities including his d/b/a Saunders Investment & Tax Advisory Group, Inc., Heron Bay Association, and Parke Place HOA.  The most recent customer complaint was filed in March 2016 and alleged that Saunders recommended unsuitable alternative investments causing $150,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Our firm has represented many clients in these types of products.  All of these investments come with high costs and have historically underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed at all.  However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them and have created a large market for a failed product.  Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money in these illiquid investments until many years after investing.  In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_103665437The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2013038133001) against broker Joseph Daigneault (Daigneault) resulting in a monetary sanction and a suspension. In addition, according to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA, Daigneault has been the subject of at least 1 customer complaint. The customer complaint against Barthole allege unsuitable investments concerning alternative investments and claims $1,000,000 in damages.

FINRA’s findings stated that from October 2005 through September 2013, Daigneault provided consolidated statements to at least eight customers that included misleading information regarding the customers’ financial holdings. According to FINRA, Daigneault manually created the consolidated statements using a spreadsheet program. However, many of the statements that Daigneault created included values for non-traded, illiquid assets that Daigneault listed the value of the customer’s initial investment regardless of the current actual value of the investment. In addition, FINRA found that several statements had a death benefit column where investment values were listed even where the securities in question did not have death benefits.

A consolidated report is a single document that combines financial information regarding a customer’s financial holdings on one statement. Consolidated reports are supplements but do not replace customer account statements. Due to the increasing complexity of investments offered by brokers from multiple different issuers and platform FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 10-19 reminding brokers and brokerage firms that consolidated report are communications with the public that must be must be clear, accurate, and not misleading. The valuations and values provided on the statements must be consistent with the customer’s official account statement. When creating consolidated account statements broker must take reasonable steps to accurately report information.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_182053859The investment attorneys of Gana LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Noel Vincent (Vincent). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Vincent has been the subject of at least 9 customer complaints, one regulatory event, and three judgment or liens. The customer complaints against Vincent allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and fraud among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2015, and alleged $50,000 in damages due to claims pertaining to investments purchased from 2005 through 2007 that were unsuitable based on the client’s risk tolerance, investment objectives, investment knowledge, time horizon, and liquidity needs.

In March 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging an unsuitable series of investments between 2006 through 2009 resulting in damages of $413,000. In another case filed in October 2013, the client alleged unsuitable investments were made in 2007 resulting in $190,000 in damages. The case settled for $26,331. Also in April 2013, another customer complained that Vincent sold unregistered securities and committed fraud causing $638,000 in damages.

In addition, there are three liens filed against Vincent. In May 2012, a $4,385 tax lien was imposed. In May 2011, Vincent received a $104,688 tax lien. In February 2009, a $76,279 tax lien was imposed against Vincent. A broker with large liens are an important consideration for investors to consider when dealing with a financial advisor. An advisor may be conflicted to offer high commission investments to customers in order to satisfy liens and debts that may not be in the client’s best interests.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_160486019According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Lucian Hodgman (Hodgman) has been the subject of at least 4 customer complaints, 4 regulatory action, and three employment terminations. Customers have filed complaints against Fladell alleging securities law violations including churning and excessive trading, unsuitable investments, and unauthorized trades among other claims.

Nearly all of the regulatory actions and brokerage firm terminations revolve around allegations of dishonest conduct. For instance in 2001, UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) discharged Hodgman stating that he mpurchased a mutual fund in a client’s account without the client’s authority. In April 2002, the NASD alleged that Hodgman effected transactions in a customer’s account without the customer’s knowledge. In 2013, brokerage firm Moors & Cabot, Inc terminated Hodgman stating that the broker failed to cooperate with the firm’s investigation of marketing materials that were sent out to customers without the firm’s knowledge or approval. Thereafter, in December 2013, the Maine Office of Securities alleged that Hodgman made false statements in a record filed with the office in connection with his application to apply to the brokerage firm, Investors Capital Corp. In March 2014, Investors Capital Corp. discharged Hodgman stating that the firm determined that Hodgman was not truthful to the Maine Office of Securities. Thereafter, the state of Massachuestts initiated an action against Hodgman concerning his advertising in the state.

With this history in mind in June 2015, FINRA suspended Hodgman for 18 months alleging that between May and July 2013, Hodgman caused approximately 40,000 copies of advertisement postcards to be sent out through a third-party marketing company without approval of Moors & Cabot. According to FINRA, the postcards contained information about investing in fixed annuities that violated industry standards by failing to provide a sound basis for evaluating an investment in fixed annuities. In addition, FINRA alleged that in July and August 2013, Hodgman falsely represented to his firm that the marketing company had mailed the postcards prematurely and without Hodgman’s knowledge or authorization. To bolster this story, FINRA claims that Hodgman made a telephone call to a Moors & Cabot compliance officer impersonating a representative of the marketing company.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_178801082According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker David Page (Page) has been the subject of at least three customer complaints over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Page alleging securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, unauthorized trading, misrepresentations, and failure to follow instructions among other claims.

An examination of Page’s employment history reveals that the broker moves from troubled firm to troubled firm. The pattern of brokers moving in this way is sometimes called “cockroaching” within the industry. See More Than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities, The Wall Street Journal, (Oct. 4, 2013). In Page’s 18 year career he has worked at eight different firms. Since May 2005 until April 2008, Page was associated with Investors Capital Corp. Thereafter, from April 2008, until May 2013, Page was a registered representative with John Thomas Financial. From May 2013, until March 2015, Page was associated with Brookville Capital Partners. After that Page was associated for only one month with Tryco Securities, Inc. Finally, Page is currently registered with Legend Securities, Inc.

Several the firms Page has been associated with have been expelled by FINRA including John Thomas Financial which was run by Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis who recently agreed to be banned from the securities industry when the SEC accused him of defrauding investors in two hedge funds. In addition, John Thomas faced allegations of penny-stock fraud by FINRA after the firm reaped more than $100 million in commissions over its six-year history before it closed in July. According to new sources trainees at the firm earned as little as $300 a week to pitch stocks with memorized scripts.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_152149322The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred former Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera) broker Bruce Sabourin (Sabourin) after the broker failed to respond to a letter from the regulator requesting information. While the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA do not disclose the nature of the regulatory inquiry, in May 2014, Sabourin was terminated by Cetera for cause stating that the broker was terminated for excessive trading in client accounts and potential exercise of discretionary authority without written authorization.

According to the BrokerCheck records Sabourin has been the subject of at least four customer complaints, one employment separation, one regulatory action, and one criminal matter. The customer complaints against Sabourin allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

Sabourin entered the securities industry in 1994. From August 2001, until September 2009, Sabourin was associated with Investors Capital Corp. Thereafter, from September 2009, until February 2011, Sabourin was registered as a broker with MetLife Securities Inc. Thereafter, Sabourin was associated with Sterne Agee Financial Services, Inc. from February 2011, until December 2012. Finally, Sabourin was associated with Cetera from November 2012, until May 2014.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. Many of the claims against Sabourin involving claims of unauthorized trading, churning, and excessive trading.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. The broker must first discuss all trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).   These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature.

Continue Reading