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shutterstock_183201167-300x198The investment attorneys of Gana LLP are interested in speaking with clients of broker Parks Heard Brown Jr. (Brown). According to his BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Brown has been the subject of at least four customer complaints. The customer complaints against Brown allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, churning, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in October 2016, alleging that the broker while employed at VSR Financial Services Inc. made unsuitable investments based on the client’s liquidity needs. In March 2014, FINRA found that Brown violated FINRA rules 2090 and 2111 that require the use of reasonable diligence when recommending investment strategies. In addition, a customer alleged an unsuitable series of investments made in account between June 2012 and January 2014 resulting in damages of $245,750.00. The case settled for $71,500.00.

In another case filed in March 2004 a customer alleged that in June 2003 Brown misrepresented and failed to inform the account activity that caused $7,000.00

shutterstock_128655458-300x200Our law firm, Gana LLP, is investigating claims made by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Vernon Regier (Regier), formerly associated with Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. The customer complaints allege that Regier engaged in securities law violations, including making unsuitable investments in clients’ accounts. The most recent complaint filed in July 2016 alleges that between 2010 and 2015, Regier engaged in unsuitable trading in a customer’s account by recommending purchases of publicly traded shares of United Development Funding IV (UDF). The complaint is currently pending. In April 2016, another investor filed a complaint and alleged unsuitable activity occurring in the investor’s account from April 2015 – March 2016, causing damages of greater than $5,000.00. That complaint is also currently pending. In January 2012, a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable trading activity in 2008. The claim was settled for $104,191.00.

Regier first became associated with FINRA in 2002. Below are the firms that Regier has been employed by and registered with throughout his career:

  • Washington Square Securities, Inc. (January 2002 – August 2002)

shutterstock_39128059-300x174The investment and securities fraud attorneys of Gana LLP are investigating potential recovery options for investors with broker Glenn Charles Wiggle Jr (Wiggle). According to BrokerCheck records Charles Wiggle has been subject to four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints allege unsuitable investments, and misrepresentation among other claims.

The most recent customer claim was filed in September 2015 alleging that in 2007, Wiggle recommended unsuitable investments in speculative securities such as Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners causing $500,000.00 in damages. The claim settled for $109,000.00. In addition, a customer filed a claim in April 2011 alleging that from December 2007 to October 2010, the broker made unsuitable investments in REIT purchases and purchased equities without prior consent, causing $100,000.00 in damages. This claim settled for $55,000.00.

Our firm has represented many clients who invested in REITs, the Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners. All of these investments come with high costs and historically have under-performed, 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). However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. 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.

shutterstock_188269637-300x200Gana LLP’s securities fraud investigation has uncovered a complaint filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Gerald O’Halloran (O’Halloran). O’Halloran was  formerly associated with Kovack Securities Inc. The complaint alleges that O’Halloran has been the subject of at least eight customer complaints, two employment separations for cause, and one criminal charge. The customer complaints against O’Halloran is a makeup of allegations of numerous securities law violations, including that O’Halloran engaged in unauthorized trades, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty & breach of contract among other claims.

The most recent complaint against O’Halloran was filed in August 2016, alleging $135,000.00 in damage stemming from violation of trading negligently, misrepresentation, omission of a material fact, breach of fiduciary duty & breach of contract in customer’s account while employed at Credit Suisse Securities. The claim is currently pending.

In 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging unauthorized trades in the account during February 2011 claiming $14,000.00 in damages. The case was resolved with the customer receiving $27,000.00.

shutterstock_184429547-300x200The investment attorneys of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christopher Paul Anthony (Anthony) for allegedly churning, failing to supervise, and recommending unsuitable investments in products, such as Foreign stocks and Indexed Exchanged-Traded Funds or ETFs. According to BrokerCheck records, Anthony has been subject to two customer complaints and one employment separations for cause among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in January 2017 and alleged negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract causing over $2 million in losses. In August 2016, another customer filed a complaint alleging that from Spring 2014 to Spring 2015, Anthony made unsuitable investments and was churning (excessively trading) in the account leading to $100,000 in damages. These two complaints are currently pending in FINRA arbitration.

In April 2015, Christopher Anthony was terminated from his position at Rhodes Securities Inc. for failing to supervise, trading with discretion, and trading outside the investment objectives of his clients’ accounts. He is currently not registered with any securities firm.

shutterstock_70999552-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Scott Palmer (Palmer). According to BrokerCheck records, Palmer is subject to at least five customer complaints. The customer complaints against Palmer allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, excessive options trading, and unauthorized investments among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in July 2016, and alleged $125,000 in damages due to claims that the broker made unsuitable investments in clients account while employed at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. The complaint was settled for $75,000.

In January 2015, another customer brought a complaint against Palmer alleging that investments in the customer’s account were unsuitable based on clients’ investment objectives causing alleged damages of $226,877. The complaint was settled for $70,000.

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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.

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shutterstock_189496604-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating a complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Mike Emmanouilidis (Emmanouilidis) formerly associated with Morgan Stanley. According to BrokerCheck records Emmanouilidis has been subject to 16 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Emmanouilidis allege misrepresenting the facts concerning the nature of investment risks in structured products among other claims.

The most recent claim against Mr. Emmanouilidis was filed in August 2016 and alleges that from 2013 to 2015, the customer was misrepresented of the investment risks in products causing $500,000 in damages. The complaint is currently pending.

In November 2011, a customer alleged that Mr. Emmanouilidis, while employed at UBS Financial Services, from November 2007 to May 2011, misrepresented material facts concerning the risks associated with an investment causing $100,000 in damages. The complaint settled in 2012 for $74,500.

In December 2010, a customer alleged Mr.Emmanouilidis made misrepresentations, omissions of material facts and breached his fiduciary duty in connection to investments in PPN Asian currency baskets causing losses of $54,375. The complaint settled for $100,000.

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shutterstock_182053859-300x200Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Michael Spears (Spears) currently associated with IMS Securities, Inc. alleging negligence, failure to supervise, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. According to BrokerCheck records Spears has been subject to two customer complaints involving direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.

The most recent claim was filed in August 2016 and alleges that, while Spears was employed at IMS Securities, acted negligently, misrepresented material facts, failed to supervise, and breached his fiduciary duty in connection to non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) causing damages of $1,667,000. The claim is currently pending.

In July 2016, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Spears breached his fiduciary duty, over-concentrated investments, and failed to supervise in correlation to real estate products and variable annuity investments causing $3,000,000 in damages. The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_168326705-199x300The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Linda Dowd. According to BrokerCheck records, Dowd has been subject to employment separation from WFG Investments Inc. (WFG Investments) and one regulatory action. Linda Dowd has spent 27 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Sunbelt Securities, Inc. (Sunbelt Securities) out of the firm’s Carlsbad, California office location. Brokers and investment advisers that forge customer signatures constitute a form of securities fraud.

In July 2016, Linda Dowd was terminated from her position at WFG Investments and has been sanctioned by FINRA. According to FINRA, Dowd had a customer pre-sign distribution requests forms on at least 26 occasions to effectuate a verbal distribution request as an accommodation to the customer. The findings state Dowd additionally utilized a personal email address to create a perception of legitimate customer communications. Dowd was also alleged to have falsely advised the firm’s compliance personnel that she had received the customer’s completed and signed distribution requests via email. For this, Dowd was fined $5,000 and was issued a one-year suspension.

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