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shutterstock_156367568-300x200Advisor Anthony Hobson (Hobson), currently employed by Money Concepts Capital Corp (Money Concepts) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented investors who suffered losses caused by these types of products.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Hobson violated the securities laws by alleging between April 2008 and November 2010, Hobson over-concentrated accounts in high-risk and speculative alternative investments. The claim alleges $218,500 in damages and is currently pending.

In January 2015 a customer complained that Hobson violated the securities laws by alleging that Hobson misrepresented a non-traded REIT. The claim was settled by the firm for $32,500.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

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shutterstock_183549914-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor John Holland (Holland), currently employed by Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (Cetera Advisor) has been subject to at least three customer complaints and two employment termination for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Holland’s customer complaints alleges that Holland recommended unsuitable investments, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Holland violated the securities laws by alleging breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. The claim alleges $1,000,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In August 2014 Securities Management & Research, Inc. (Securities Management) and BFC Planning Inc. (BFC Planning) discharged Holland alleging that he altered client documents.

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shutterstock_177577832-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Joseph Peggs (Peggs), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) has been subject to one employment termination for cause, one regulatory action, and eight customer disputes during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Peggs concerns allegations over several different investment products including equities, options, and variable annuity sales practices.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Peggs violated the securities laws by alleging that Peggs and several other defendants failed to carry out the decedent’s intentions regarding beneficiary designations for two annuities. The decedent’s ex-wife contends that the proceeds of the annuities should have been distributed in such a way that the proceeds could fund continuing payments to her. The alleged damages are unspecified and the claim is currently pending.

In February 2019, a customer complained that Peggs violated the securities laws by alleging that Peggs representative placed them in an unsuitable holding when they rebalanced the portfolio in March of 2015 and that the holding in question then lost significant value.  The alleged damages are $20,000 and the claim settled for $15,000.

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shutterstock_153463763-300x199Advisor Jeffrey Davis (Davis), currently employed by Kovack Securities Inc. (Kovack Securities) has been subject to at least ten customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented investors who suffered losses caused by these types of products.

In April 2017 FINRA alleged that Davis consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he recommended and effected unsuitable transactions in the accounts of customers by over-concentrating their assets in illiquid non-traded REITs. FINRA stated that the investments totaled $566,000, and represented between approximately 30% and 52% of the customers’ liquid net worth. FINRA found that this concentration in illiquid investments were excessive and unsuitable in light of the customers’ financial situations, risk tolerances, and investment objectives.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Davis violated the securities laws by alleging that Davis recommended an unsuitability of a fixed index annuity and mutual funds and the overconcentration of REITs in her account. The claim alleges $5,380 in damages.

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shutterstock_175835072-300x199Our firm represents multiple clients who have been recommended GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments. GPB invests in a variety of businesses but primarily in auto dealerships and waste management businesses.  However, over the past year controversy has embroiled GPB Capital in a saga including multiple regulatory investigations and even an FBI referral which has left investors clueless to the fate of their investments.

According to our investigation Kalos Capital, Inc. (Kalos Capital) and its brokers including Joshua Stivers (Stivers) have recommended GPB Capital private placements to investors.

As a background, financial advisers sold $1.5 billion of these high-risk private placements offered by GPB Capital Holdings.  However, GPB Capital told investors in 2018 that virtually none of the firm’s financial reports could be trusted and that in fact the offering had no accurate financial information.  Recently, GPB Capital released its own internal analysis and valuation of its funds without providing any evidence to support its findings.  As reported by InvestmentNews, the two largest funds offered GPB Holdings II and GPB Automotive Portfolio have declines of 25.4% and 39%.  However, some of the other funds, like Armada Waste, faired much worse declining to only 32% of their original value.  Again these valuations are provided by GPB Capital and only after a year of accounting mishaps.

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shutterstock_93851422-300x240According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Trevor Rahn (Rahn), formerly associated with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JP Morgan), has been subject to at least four customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one judgement or lien during his career.  The majority of the customer complaints against Rahn concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Rahn violated the securities laws by alleging that the trading activity increased dramatically and resulted in losses and significant tax obligations. Customer also alleges financial advisor engaged in a pattern of unauthorized trading and margin use in customer’s account in order to generate commissions, and resulting in losses to customer. The claim alleges $854,410 in damages and is currently pending.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Rahn violated the securities laws by alleging that the number of transactions in the account were unauthorized. The overall time period is 03/2014-09/2017. The claim alleges $1,137,915 in damages and settled for $114,000.

In September 2018 JP Morgan discharged Rahn after alleging unacceptable practices relating to the timing and size of orders entered resulting in charges in a client account as well as marking certain orders as unsolicited.

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shutterstock_180341738-200x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Dean Kajouras (Kajouras), currently employed by Fordham Financial Management, Inc. (Fordham Financial) has been subject to at least eight customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, one regulatory matter, and six judgement or liens during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kajouras’ customer complaints alleges that Kajouras recommended unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Kajouras violated the securities laws by alleging misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, statutory and common law fraud, suitability. The claim alleges $1,600,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2016 the State of Massachusetts entered into a cease and desist order against Kajouras concerning claims that Kajouras unsuitably overconcentrated a retired investor’s portfolio in a single security.  The State of Massachusetts fined Kajouras $60,000.

In May 2019 one of Kajouras’ tax liens entered totals $391,153.  Large tax liens on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.

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shutterstock_189276023-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Bryan Clark (Clark), formerly associated with Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (Madison Securities), was accused of selling securities without informing his brokerage firm.  According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Clark has three customer complaints, one bankruptcy disclosure, and one regulatory action. If you have been a victim of Clark’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In August 2019 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Clark alleging that  Clark consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear and provide on-the-record testimony during the course of FINRA’s investigation into whether he willfully failed to disclose a bankruptcy, failed to disclose outside business activities and participated in private securities transactions.

At this time it is unclear what business activities and the private securities transactions refer to.  Clark’s disclosures list several business activities including Preservation Capital Group, LLC and Value Health + Life Insurance Serves.

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shutterstock_186772637-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor John Howley (Howley), formerly associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC (Park Avenue), was accused of selling securities without informing his brokerage firm.  According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Howley has seven customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment termination for cause.  Howley has been accused by multiple customers of selling fraudulent investments in Global Credit Recovery.  If you have been a victim of Howley’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In September 2019 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Howley alleging that  Howley consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear and provide an on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA. FINRA stated that it requested an on-the-record interview for testimony in connection with its investigation into allegations reported by Howley’s member firm in a Form U5 that he failed to disclose private securities transactions to the firm and referred clients to outside investments.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling fraudulent securities sales through OBAs.  The sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

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shutterstock_180412949-300x200Our firm represents multiple clients who have collectively lost millions in GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.  Recently, class action lawsuits have been filed against GPB Capital with the goal of recovering investor funds.  However, it is our law firm’s belief that remedies against the sales agents who peddled GPB Capital offerings provide investors with potentially quicker and better recovery options.  Further, investors in many cases do not lose out from the ability to still collect from a class action resolution if such an event occurs.

Our firm has analyzed the GPB Capital offerings and believe that brokerage firms did not review these offerings in any significant detail.  Our firm’s investigation has found that brokerage firms failed to conduct due diligence and investigate multiple aspects of GPB Capital’s business including its senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices.  For instance, with respect to GPB Capital’s senior management the company was founded by David Gentile (Gentile).  Had brokerage firms investigated GPB Capital’s senior manager it would have found that prior to founding GPB Capital, Gentile’s experience was as a CPA and company advisor with the accounting practice his family ran at Gentile Pismeny & Brengel, LLP (GP&B) in New York.  Nonetheless, GPB’s PPMs claimed expertise in these areas.   GPB Holdings II, LP, PPM, pg. 9 (Apr. 13, 2015) (“GPB’s senior management have a great deal of experience investing in the Automotive Retail, Managed IT Services and Life Sciences sectors.”).

Any investigation would have revealed that GPB Capital is merely the private equity investment arm of a plain vanilla accounting practice.  There is no evidence that GPB Capital’s senior management had the knowledge, industry experience, or investment experience to run the operations of a $1.8 billion dollar mult-asset strategy private equity fund and should not have been entrusted with investor funds.  Our investigation has also identified a number of business claims that any review would have revealed could not have possibly be substantiated.

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