Articles Tagged with negligence

shutterstock_1744162The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Allan Montalbano (Montalbano). According to BrokerCheck records Montalbano has been the subject of at least four customer complaints and one bankruptcy filing. The customer complaints against Montalbano allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

In November 2015, Montalbano disclosed that he entered bankruptcy. The most recent customer complaint filed in June 2015 and alleged unsuitable recommendations and excessive trading claiming $250,000 in damages. The claim is still pending. In May 2013, another client filed a complaint alleging Montalbano failed to follow instructions. The claim closed.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

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shutterstock_88744093The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Kyle Harrington (Harrington). According to BrokerCheck records Harrington has been subject to 6 customer complaints, one regulatory action, one employment separation, and one financial disclosure. The customer complaints against Harrington allege securities law violations that including misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence among other claims.   The regulatory finding was made by FINRA which alleged that Harrington failed to disclose certain information that had to be disclosed on Harrington’s Form U4. The employment separation by Matrix Capital Group, Inc. (Matrix) also concerns allegations of failure to disclose reportable information.

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.

The number of events listed on Harrington brokercheck is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.

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shutterstock_189006551The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Johnathan McHale (McHale). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 6 customer complaints, one employment separation for cause, and 6 judgments or liens that have been filed against McHale. The most recent customer complaint against McHale filed in April 2014 alleges that McHale breached his fiduciary duty, negligence, and misrepresentations in the handling of the customer’s account leading to $108,000 in damages. The claim was settled for $14,995. In August 2012, another client alleged that McHale engaged in unsuitable investments leading to $43,000 in damages. The claim was denied.

In May 2014, National Securities Corporation terminated McHale alleging that he violated the firm’s policy by using his personal email address for business correspondence. In addition, McHale has 6 judgements. One tax lien filed in March 2011 for $34,598. Substantial judgements and liens 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

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_95643673The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Michael Venturino (Venturino). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 2 customer complaints against Venturino. The customer complaints against Venturino allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in June 2014 alleged excessive mark-ups or commissions claiming $125,000 in damages. The claim is still pending. In March 2014, another client filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning among other claims claiming damages of $140,368. The claim is still pending.

As a background, when brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

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shutterstock_119960017The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Robert Giusti (Giusti). There are at least 4 customer complaints against Giusti and one civil action. The customer complaints against Giusti allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, and excessive trading among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in April 2015 and alleged unsuitable investments and excessive trading among other claims for investments made between 2010 through June 2015 causing the investor $1,326,374 in damages. A civil judgment was filed against Giusti in April 2015 for $1,100,000. Another complaint filed in January 2012 alleged unsuitable investments and unauthorized use of margin funds causing $45,000.

Giusti entered the securities industry in 1995. From November 2006 through June 2009, Giusti was associated with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Thereafter, from June 2009 through September 2009, Giusti was briefly associated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. From August 2009 until December 2013, Giusti was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. Finally, since December 2013, Giusti has been registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC out of the firm’s New York, New York office location.

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_186180719The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Michael Child (Child). There are at least 2 customer complaints against Child. In addition, there is one regulatory complaint and three employment separations disclosed. The customer complaints against Child allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, and unauthorized trading among other claims. One of the claims involves allegations around the recommendation of a variable annuity.

The regulatory action was initiated by the state of Utah in March 2012 and alleged that certain information on a suitability form was not current resulting in a fine and a 12 month probation. In 2008, Child’s brokerage firm, GunnAllen Financial, Inc. alleged that Child allowed a statutorily disqualified person to represent himself as being associated with the branch office.

Child entered the securities industry in March 1998. Since March 2008, Child has been registered with H. Beck, Inc. out of the firm’s Salt Lake City, Utah office location.

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_45316696The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Robert Bragg (Bragg). There are at least 4 customer complaints against Bragg. The customer complaints against Bragg allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. The claims appear to relate to allegations regard direct participation products and limited partnerships such as equipment leasing and non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs). Our firm has written numerous times about investor losses in these types of programs such as equipment leasing programs like LEAF Equipment Leasing Income Funds I-IV and ICON Leasing Funds Eleven and Twelve. Investors are destined to lose money in these investments because the costs and fees associated with these investments make significant returns virtual impossibility. Yet for all of their costs investors are in no way compensated for the additional risks of these products.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2015 and alleged unsuitable investments for investments made between 2005 though August 2013 causing $460,488 in damages. Another complaint filed in November 2014 alleged breach of fiduciary duty among other claims for investments made in October 2007 though September 2010 causing $322,432.

Bragg entered the securities industry in March 2004. Since March 2004, Bragg has been registered with VSR Financial Services, Inc. out of the firm’s Colorado Springs, Colorado office location.

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_186471755The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Robert Hinz Jr. (Hinz). There are at least 7 customer complaints against Hinz. The customer complaints against Hinz allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading among other claims. One of the claims involves the purchase of oil and gas private placement Reef Oil & Gas Income and Development Fund III.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2013 and alleged fraud and negligence from activities that occurred from July 2007 until December 2009 and resulted in $240,000 in damages. Another complaint filed in January 2012 alleged dissatisfied performance with respect to investments and asked for $34,680. The case was closed with no action.

Hinz entered the securities industry in January 1982. Since August 1994, Hinz has been registered with VSR Financial Services, Inc. out of the firm’s Seattle, Washington office location.

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_162924044The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Howard Slater (Slater). In addition, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2015046156301) against Slater. There are at least 18 customer complaints against Slater and 2 regulatory actions. The customer complaints against Slater allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in November 2013 and alleges unsuitable investments, fraud, and negligence concerning investments in alternative investments in real estate investments. The complaint seeks $90,000 in damages. In another complaint filed in July 2013, a customer complained that Slater misinformed her regarding the risks of three non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs).

In a FINRA regulatory action against Slater, the agency alleged that in February 2008 and August 2008, Slater sent emails to two customers in connection with their purchases of IMH Secured Loan Fund, LLC (IMH Fund) that contained misrepresentations regarding the features of the IMH Fund. In addition, according to FINRA, in March 2008, Slater sent an email to a customer that contained exaggerated and misleading statements about the safety of the IMH Fund. Finally, FINRA found that in April 2008, Slater caused an SAI customer’s account records to reflect false annual income and net worth information that caused the business records maintained by his firm to be inaccurate.

Slater entered the securities industry in January 1994. Since July 2005 Slater has been registered with Securities America, Inc. out of the firm’s Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

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shutterstock_128856874The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against Frank Marinelli (Marinelli). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Marinelli has been the subject of at least 3 customer complaints, 1 employment termination, 2 judgment or liens, and 1 criminal matter. The customer complaints against Marinelli allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and unauthorized trading other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in March 2014 and alleges unsuitable investments and churning causing $120,000 in damages. Another complaint filed in March 2012 alleges high pressure sales tactics unauthorized trading and mismanagement of the client’s account leading to $200,000 in damages.

Marinelli also has two liens listed, both filed in 2010 related to taxes. One lien is for $123,240 and the other is for $41,306. A broker with large liens are an important consideration for investors to weigh 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.

Marinelli entered the securities industry in 1999. From September 2001 through December 2011, Marinelli was associated with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. Since December 2011 Marinelli has been registered with Southeast Investments, N.C., Inc. out of the firm’s Brooklyn, New York office location.

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