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shutterstock_61848763-300x203The securities attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating claims against LPL Financial broker Stephen Garrett (Garrett).  According to BrokerCheck records, Garret has been subject to two customer complaints.

Most recently, In February 2014, a customer alleged inappropriate investments and options trading in volatile stocks concentrated in the oil and energy sector and inconsistent with customer’s investment objectives.  This dispute settled for $62,500.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

shutterstock_120556300-300x300The investment lawyers at Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Donald Southwick (Southwick).

According to BrokerCheck records, without admitting or denying the findings, Southwick consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to perform a reasonable basis suitability analysis prior to recommending investments to his customers. The findings also stated that Southwick recommended unsuitable transactions in the securities accounts of two customers by recommending purchases that resulted in an over-concentration of illiquid private offerings, inconsistent with their investment objectives and risk tolerance. Southwick has been suspended from the securities industry for six months.

Moreover, Southwick has been subject to two customer complaints.

shutterstock_136504499Gana LLP is investigating the LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (Ticker Symbols LJMAZ, LJMCX, LIMIX). The LJM Funds relied extensively on a strategy that is designed to profit from calm markets. The LJM Preservation and Growth Funds collapsed and lost more than 80% of its value as a result of last week’s market volatility. The combonation of LJMAZ, LJMCX and LIMIX at one point collectively held over $800 million in assets CNC reached out to Chicago-based LJM Partners, Inc. – the funds managers, and no comment was made.

According to its annual report to shareholders, LJM explained that it options “to deliver solid returns while maintaining risk parameters.” LJM also suggested that it used techniques to mitigate losses in extreme market conditions. The fund was designed to take advantage of the spread between realized and implied volatility. According to CNBC, “LJM Preservation and Growth Fund had been run by Anthony Caine, a veteran of the 1990s technology boom who later founded LJM, and Anish Parvataneni, a former trader for well-known investor Ken Griffin’s Citadel.”

According to reports, LJM was infused with almost $400 million in new capital in 2017 alone.

Gana LLP represented 19 Claimants in a FINRA arbitration against Anthony Diaz. A panel of arbitrators awarded the Claimants over $4 million. The case was picked up by major publications including the Washington Post and InvestmentNews. Adam Gana, managing partner of Gana LLP said his clients “gave their life savings to [Diaz], and he was just a predator who was looking out for his own best interest and not the best interest at my clients.” Gana said he will go after Diaz’s assets and earnings in an attempt to recover the judgment. “We will fight tooth and nail to get these people their money,” he said. “This is not money that our clients can afford to lose.”

Gana LLP is a full service law firm that specialized in Securities Arbitration. The firm tenaciously defends investors and aggressively pursues brokerage firms for misconduct.

shutterstock_188874428-300x200The investment attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint brought against former RBC Capital Broker Martin Olson.  According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Olson was subject to a customer complaint in December 2016.

In December 2016, Olson was named in a customer complaint that asserted breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Michigan Securities Act and fraud. Olson was found jointly and severally liable and the customer was awarded $250,000 in damages.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

First, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. § 78a et seq.) and Rule 10b-5 protect investors against deceptive and manipulative acts in the purchase or sale of securities. This sweeping legislation is the cornerstone of federal securities laws. Rule 10b-5 makes it unlawful to employ a device or scheme to defraud, to make any untrue statement of material fact or omit to state a material fact not misleading, or to engage in any practice that would operate as a fraud.

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shutterstock_66745735-300x200The securities lawyers at Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint against Morgan Stanley broker Theodore Crowley (Crowley).

According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Theordore Crowley (Crowley) has been subject to a customer complaint.

In June 2012, a customer alleged that from 2008 through 2011, he was charged excessive markups and markdown on the purchase and sale of municipal bonds by Crowley. This dispute settled for $465,000.

In April 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a tax lien against Crowley for $611,984.42.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

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shutterstock_174495761-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), broker Brent Van Lott (Lott) is being investigated for allegedly violating FINRA rules.  Lott has also been subject to three customer disputes.

In January 2016, a customer alleged Lott initiated trades without the customer’s written consent.  This dispute was settled for $50,000.

In March 2014, a customer alleged that a third party, acting in concert with Lott, forged the customer’s signature on contracts to acquire insurance policies.  This dispute is pending.

In another pending dispute from December 2013, a customer alleged that he never met Lott who was listed as the selling agent for his contracts.  The customer also alleged that Lott may be aware that the signatures on the contract delivery receipts are not those of the customer.

In October 2014, Lott was terminated from LPL Financial LLC for allegedly submitting equity indexed annuity applications without meeting or discussing them with clients as well as allegedly violating the firm’s document signature policy.

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shutterstock_178565714-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana LLP are interested in hearing from investors who lost money due to the mishandling of their accounts by broker Keith Michelfelder (Michelfelder).

According to BrokerCheck records, in August 2017, FINRA sanctioned Keith Michelfelder (Michelfelder) for allegedly effecting “at least 16 transactions in the accounts of a member firm customer without having obtained prior written authorization from the customer and written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary by his firm. The findings stated that the firm’s policies prohibited the use of non-firm email addresses to conduct firm business. In 2010 and 2011, Michelfelder signed annual certifications agreeing to use the firm’s domain email only for communications with customers and concerning firm business. Nevertheless, during July 2012, Michelfelder knowingly used a non-firm email address to communicate with the above customer.”  Michelfelder was fined $10,000 and was suspended for 60 days. In November 2017, Keith’s FINRA registration was revoked for failure to pay fines.

In August 2012, a customer alleged he discovered numerous unauthorized trades in his account. The customer was granted an award of $702,037.

In March 2011, a customer alleged Michelfelder engaged in unauthorized trading. This dispute settled for $61,500.

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shutterstock_103681238-300x300The investment lawyers at Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Luigi Mancusi (Mancusi).

According to BrokerCheck records, Mancusi allegedly “exercised discretion in effecting 45 transactions in a customer’s accounts without prior written authorization from the customer to exercise discretion in these accounts and without the accounts having been approved for discretionary trading by his member firm.” Further, Mancusi allegedly executed three transactions in another customer’s account without prior authorization. Reportedly, “Mancusi sold the security and used the proceeds to purchase two other securities in the customer’s account to replace it. As a result, the customer incurred fees, commissions, and ultimately a loss in disposing of an unwanted purchase into a new position, totaling $2,966.97.” Mancusi has been suspended from the securities industry for two months and has been fined $10,000.

Mancusi has also received five customer complaints.

In November 2017, a customer alleged Mancusi placed the customer in unsuitable investments for their age and risk tolerance and they were placed in unauthorized investments. This dispute is currently pending.

In July 2015, a customer alleged unauthorized transactions took place in the customer’s accounts. This dispute settled for $60,000.

In July 2013, multiple customers alleged unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation and failure to supervise. This dispute settled for $50,000.
In October 2009, a customer alleged Mancusi misrepresented material facts related to an unsuitable investment as well as unauthorized investments. This dispute settled for $80,000.

In September 2002, a customer alleged she instructed to Mancusi to purchase a fixed annuity and she was sold a variable annuity after Mancusi did not follow her instructions. This dispute settled for $30,000.

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shutterstock_177577832-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Brian Royster (Royster), formerly associated with HD Vest Investment Services (HD Vest), in November 2017, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he borrowed funds from clients.  FINRA found that Royster consented to the sanction and findings that he refused to comply with a FINRA request for documents related to its investigation into the circumstances surrounding his termination from HD Vest. FINRA found that HD Vest filed a Form U5 terminating Royster’s registration and stating that he had violated its policy regarding borrowing money from clients.

In addition to the bar Royster has been subject to two customer complaints concerning his variable annuity sales practices.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Royster’s securities violations and outside business activites.  The firm’s allegations concern borrowing of funds could be considered a private securities transaction – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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