Justia Lawyer Rating for Adam Julien Gana
Super Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell
AVVO
BBB Accredited Business

shutterstock_175000886-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Craig Siegel (Siegel) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one regulatory action during his career.  Siegel is formerly employed by Portfolio Advisors Alliance, LLC (Portfolio Advisors).  The majority of the customer complaints against Siegel concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning.

In April 2019 Siegel failed to respond to requests by FINRA to provide documents and information and was suspended indefinitely.

In October 2018 a customer complained that Siegel made unsuitable investment recommendations, breach of regulatory requirements, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, and churning from July 2013 to August 2017. The claim is currently pending.

In April 2018 a customer complained that Siegel violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor engaged in excessive trading, churning, unsuitable transactions, failure to supervise, and respondeat superior.  The claim seeks $99,300 in damages and is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_70513588-300x200Advisor Gordon Roberts (Roberts), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel, Fisher) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints mostly 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In March 2019 a customer complained that Roberts violated the securities laws by alleging that the client is disappointed with the overall performance of his investments and was misled into believing that his investments, purchased between 2008-2012, were balanced to protect against substantial and significant losses.  The complaint also alleges that he was not kept informed of the losses in his account which negatively impacted his financial well being. The claim is currently pending.

In January 2013 a customer complained that Roberts violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations from December 2008 through December 2012 causing damages. The claim settled for $45,000.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_183554579-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Darrach Bourke (Bourke), currently employed by Emerson Equity LLC (Emerson Equity) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, one regulatory action, one employment termination for cause, and five criminal matters during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Bourke’s customer complaints allege that Bourke recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products and unauthorized trading among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Bourke violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Bourke made unauthorized trades and had discretionary control causing damages.  The claim alleged $173,000 in damages and settled for $32,500.

In March 2017 FINRA found that Bourke consented to sanctions and findings that he exercised discretion without written authorization in the accounts of two customers.  FINRA found that Bourke discussed investment strategies with these customers but that he exercised discretion and executed transactions in the accounts without first speaking with the customers about the specific transactions.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_189276023-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Alberto Sanchez (Sanchez) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) that were not approved by his brokerage firm.  Sanchez, formerly registered with SagePoint Financial, Inc. (SagePoint Financial) and MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was barred from the financial industry according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Sanchez disclosed at least two customer complaints.

In June 2019 FINRA found that Sanchez consented to the sanctions and findings that he did not provide documents as requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation concerning his involvement in a potential undisclosed outside business activity.  Accordingly, Sanchez was automatically barred from the securities industry.

At this time it is unclear what OBA Sanchez engaged in that FINRA was investigating and whether or not that activity also involved private securities transactions.  Sanchez’s public disclosures state that he was involved in a number of OBAs including rental property business, an insurance business, Creative Financial Network, and Health Insurance.  It is unclear if these OBAs were the subject of FINRA’s investigation.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_168326705-199x300Our 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 Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (Royal Alliance) and its brokers including Matthew Crafa (Crafa) 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.

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.   See 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.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_174858983-300x216According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Mark Kolta (Kolta), currently employed by Worden Capital Management LLC (Worden Capital) has been subject to at least 14 customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kolta’s customer complaints allege that Kolta recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments, equities, and annuities among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In April 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kolta violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Kolta made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence causing $300,000 damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kolta violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Kolta made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and misrepresentations causing $15,000 damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In February 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kolta violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Kolta made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and negligence concerning non-traded REITs and an annuity causing damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_93851422-300x240The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Benjamin Bourgeois (Bourgeois) has taken funds from clients and engaged in certain business activities not approved by his brokerage firm.  Bourgeois, formerly registered with Commonwealth Financial Network (Commonwealth Financial) out of Metairie, Louisiana has been barred by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to answer questions concerning his conduct.  In addition, Bourgeois disclosed at least three customer complaints and one termination for cause.

In May 2019 FINRA found that Bourgeois consented to sanctions and findings that he failed to produce documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation into allegations reported that he borrowed money from a customer, converted customer funds, and committed fraud.

In April 2019 a customer alleged that Bourgeois engaged in conversion of customer funds made by personal check purportedly for investment purposes; employing devices, schemes or artifices to defraud; making untrue statements of material facts; fraud beginning around 2016.  The claim alleged $519,500 in damages and is currently pending.

Bourgeois’ CRD disclosures states that Bourgeois has an outside business activity through which he engages in fixed insurance sales.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_185913422-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Stephen DeCesare (DeCesare) sold investments in Legal Coverage Group, Ltd. (Legal Coverage) offered by Gary Frank (Frank) that was not approved by his brokerage firm.  DeCesare, formerly registered with Triad Advisors LLC (Triad Advisors) out of Marlton, New Jersey no longer works for the firm according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, DeCesare disclosed at least two customer complaints.

In March 2019 DeCesare was alleged to have solicited a client to make a $250,000 investment in Legal Coverage.

In March 2019 the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Frank with wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and money laundering stemming from a massive fraudulent loan scheme.  According to the indictment Frank executed a complex and sophisticated scheme to defraud numerous victims.  Frank purported to own and operate a Bala Cynwyd business named Legal Coverage which contracted with employers desiring to offer a legal plan to their employees as part of their employee benefits plans. However, Frank is alleged to have tricked his victims into believing that Legal Coverage was a rapidly growing leader in the legal plan industry, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue and employing hundreds of individuals.  In reality, Legal Coverage experienced virtually no growth from approximately 2006 through 2017 and generated only several thousand dollars of annual revenue. Frank allegedly obtained over $30 million in loans which he used to live an extravagant lifestyle.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_24531604-200x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor James Booth (Booth) has taken funds from clients and engaged in certain business activities not approved by his brokerage firm.  Booth, formerly registered with LPL Financial, LLC (LPL Financial) out of Norwalk, Connecticut has left LPL Financial and is under investigation by securities regulators.  In addition, Booth disclosed at least four customer complaints.

Our firm has been contacted by Booth clients who have been informed that certain funds of clients that they believed were invested with Booth could no longer be located.  Upon information and belief, investors have been asked to write out checks to Insurance Trends to invest with Booth and now these funds cannot be located.  If you have had this experience with Booth we encourage you to contact our firm for a free consultation.

Booth’s CRD disclosures state that Booth has an outside business activity called Booth Financial Associates and John M Glover Agency.

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.  Booth’s activities in 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.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_188606033-300x200Advisor Shimshon Plotkin (Plotkin), currently employed by Independent Financial Group, LLC (Independent Financial) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints mostly 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In June 2016 a customer complained that Plotkin violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor breached their fiduciary duty, negligence, misrepresentations, and breach of contract among other allegations associated non-traded REITs and other DPPs causing $1,000,000 in damages. The claim was settled for $250,000.

In January 2016 a customer complained that Plotkin violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor breached their fiduciary duty among other allegations associated with alternative investments causing. The claim was denied by the brokerage firm.

Continue Reading