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shutterstock_189006551-207x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Daniel Pimental (Pimental), most recently employed by Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (Wells Fargo) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career. Mr. Pimental is no longer a registered broker. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Pimental’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Pimental recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving mutual funds, options, and over-the-counter securities, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In January 2020, a customer complained that Mr. Pimental violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Pimental engaged in unsuitable investment advice, unauthorized trading, and churning of the customer’s accounts. The claim is currently pending.

In May 2008, a customer complained that Mr. Pimental violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Pimental engaged in unsuitable investment advice. The claim settled in the amount of $14,138.

In March 2002, a customer complained that Mr. Pimental allegedly played a role in the substantial aggregate net loss in their technology stocks. The claim settled in the amount of $700,000.

Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly.  This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation.  Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Advisors should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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_188141822-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Viqas Akhtar (Akhtar) has at least three disclosable events.  Theses events include three customer complaints alleging that Akhtar engaged in some form of investment related misconduct in the handling of the client’s accounts.  Akhtar is currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities).  Akhtar’s customer complaints alleges that Akhtar recommended unsuitable investments and engaged in unauthorized trading in different investment products including private placements relating to the handling of client accounts.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Akhtar violated the securities laws by alleging that Akhtar made unsuitable investments resulting in losses in the amount of $150,000 in the account.  The claim settled for $37,500.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Akhtar violated the securities laws by alleging that Akhtar made unsuitable investments resulting in losses in the amount of $85,000 in the account.  The claim is currently pending.

In October 2019 a customer complained that Akhtar violated the securities laws by alleging that Akhtar engaged in unauthorized trading resulting in losses in the amount of $8,000 in the account.  The claim settled for $9,539.

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shutterstock_102217105-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Siddharth Reddy (Reddy), recently employed by Paulson Investment Company LLC (Paulson Investment Company) has been subject to at least three  customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Reddy’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Reddy recommended unsuitable investments in various investments, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts. Mr. Reddy is no longer registered as a broker.

In September 2013, a customer complained that Mr. Reddy violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Reddy engaged in unsuitable investment advice. The claim settled in the amount of $200,000.

In September 2013, a customer complained that Mr. Reddy violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Reddy engaged in unsuitable investment advice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and material misrepresentations.  The claim settled in the amount of $55,000.

In September 2012, a customer complained that Mr. Reddy violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Reddy engaged in unsuitable investment advice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and material misrepresentations. The claim settled in the amount of $150,000.

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shutterstock_186471755-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Gary Saccaro (Saccaro), currently employed by Paulson Investment Company LLC (Paulson Investment) has been subject to at least 16 customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Saccaro’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Saccaro recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving various securities, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In January 2012, a customer complained that Mr. Saccaro violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Saccaro engaged in unsuitable investment advice. The claim settled in the amount of $115,000.

In April 2004, a customer complained that Mr. Saccaro violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Saccaro engaged in unsuitable investment advice, breach of fiduciary duty, unauthorized trading, churning, and breach of contract.  The claim settled in the amount of $50,000.

In September 2002, a customer complained that Mr. Saccaro violated both state and federal securities laws.  The claim settled in the amount of $175,000.

In July 2002, a customer complained that Mr. Saccaro violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Saccaro engaged in unsuitable investment advice, unauthorized trading, churning, and violation of margin requirements. The claim settled in the amount of $745,000.

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shutterstock_183549914-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Johnny Guan (Guan), currently employed by Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis Capital) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Guan’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Guan recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving real estate securities, options, and penny stocks, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts

In December 2019, a customer complained that Mr. Guan violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Guan engaged in negligent investment advice, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized transactions.  The claim settled in the amount of $5,400.

In April 2016, a customer complained that Mr. Guan violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Guan engaged in unsuitable investment advice, negligence, and material misrepresentations.  The claim settled in the amount of $7,200.

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shutterstock_143685652-300x300Advisor Megurditch Patatian (Patatian), formerly employed by brokerage firm Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) has been subject to at least 13 disclosures of which nine are customer complaints, three are employment terminations for cause, and one is a regulatory action.  According to a BrokerCheck report several of the customer complaints concern alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In February 2021 FINRA filed a complaint against Patatian alleing that he made 81 recommendations to 59 customers to purchase non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). According to FINRA, all of the recommendations were unsuitable because he lacked a reasonable basis to recommend the product to any investor.  FINRA found that Patatian did not understand the basic features and risks associated with the non-traded REITs and failed to conduct reasonable diligence to understand the product.  As part of the misconduct, FINRA alleges that Patatian caused customers to incur taxes and surrender fees by recommended that the customers surrender existing variable annuity policies when he failed to understand the adverse financial consequences of the surrenders. In one instance, FINRA claims that Patatian impersonated a customer in a telephone call with an insurance company to obtain the contract value and surrender fee for the variable annuity.  Finally, in order to qualify investors for the REITs, FINRA claims that Patatian recorded inaccurate customer information on his member firm’s customer account and disclosure forms, including by overstating customers’ net worth and exaggerating customers’ years of investment experience.  According to FINRA, Patatian inflated the customer’s net worth on the firm’s REIT paperwork in order to evade concentration limits on REIT investments.

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shutterstock_160304408-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Rhett Bedwell (Bedwell) has been accused by clients of engaging in fraudulent investment activities including undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) and private securities transactions.  According to records kept by FINRA Bedwell was employed by LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) at the time of the activity.  If you have been a victim of Bedwell’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

Rhett Bedwell is accused by investors and was investigated for unsuitably recommending investors to invest in a Ponzi scam involving Small World Capital and Graysail Capital.  In March 2021 FINRA barred Bedwell after finding that Bedwell consented to sanctions and findings that he refused to produce information and documents requested by FINRA during the course of its review of an amended Form U5 filed by his former member firm. FINRA’s investigation stemmed from a disclosure that Bedwell had been identified in a pending customer arbitration alleging that he moved a client’s IRA to a different administrator and used forged documentation to invest the claimant’s money in a Ponzi scheme.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling 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_50740552-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Gregory Collier Sr. (Collier), currently employed by Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James Financial Services) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Colliers’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Collier recommended unsuitable investments in various investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In December 2019, a customer complained that Mr. Collier violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Collier engaged unauthorized trading.  The claim settled in the amount of $200,000.

In July 2019, a customer complained that Mr. Collier violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Collier engaged in unsuitable investment advice, and poor portfolio management.  The claim requested $25,000 in damages. The claim was denied.

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shutterstock_153912335-300x189The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that advisor Russell Green (Green), currently employed by Cabot Lodge Securities LLC (Cabot Lodge) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Green’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Green recommended unsuitable investments, among other allegations, including: churning, and misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In August 2017, a customer complained that Mr. Green violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Green engaged in excessive trading and unsuitable recommendations.  The claim settled in the amount of $250,000.

In June 2014, Mr. Green was subject to a FINRA regulatory action. Mr. Green allegedly engaged in misconduct regarding necessary client information in connection with the deposit and sale of stock. Mr. Green consented to sanctions; he was faced with $5,000 in fines.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typically 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_7641514-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Andrew Grant (Grant), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw & Company) has been subject to at least one regulatory action and a customer complaint during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Grant’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Grant recommended unsuitable investments, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In January 2020, FINRA initiated a regulatory action against Mr. Grant. Mr. Grant consented to the sanctions and findings. The findings involved Mr. Grant exercising discretionary trading in customers’ accounts, who did not give written authorization. Mr. Grant faced $5,000 in civil and administrative penalties/fines, along with suspension for 15 business days.

In August 2018, a customer complained that Mr. Grant violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Grant engaged in unsuitable investment advice for two years. The claim alleged $125,000 in damages and was closed-no action.

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