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shutterstock_190371500-300x200Advisor Andrew Scheirer (Scheirer), currently employed by Kovack Securities, Inc. (Kovack Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as 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 December 2014, Scheirer’s former employer First Allied Securities Inc. (First Allied) terminated Scheirer alleging that he did not follow the firm’s procedures concerning an arbitration that had been filed by a customer.

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investment recommendations, misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.  The claim alleged $100,001 in damages and settled for $40,000.

In March 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that in approximately 2007 the broker recommended various unsuitable private equity products. The claim alleged breach of contract, material omission, fraud, unsuitability, control person liability, and failure to supervise.  The claim alleged $200,000 in damages and settled for $30,000.

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shutterstock_160486019-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Eric Stuckey (Stuckey), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) has been subject to five customer complaints and two liens.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of a Stuckey’s customer complaints allege that Stuckey made unsuitable recommendations in different investments including variable annuities and energy stocks.

In May 2018 a customer alleged the broker recommended unsuitable investments, misrepresented features of the investments and failed to disclose risks in the investments causing $220,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2018 a customer alleged that the broker placed them in high risk funds which are not suitable causing $79,000 in damages.  The claim was settled for $25,000.

shutterstock_183544004-300x200Money Concepts Capital Corp (Money Concepts) advisor Ray Reese (Reese) has been subject to at least three customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern variable annuities or alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as 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 May 2018 a client alleged that Reese misrepresented the product as they were not informed it was not publicly traded and therefore illiquid.  The client alleged damages of $75,000 and the complaint was denied by the firm.

In May 2018 another client filed a dispute alleging unsuitability, negligence, breach of contract, and breaches of Missouri statutes in connection with the loss of assets they deposited for a whole life insurance policy.  The claim is currently pending and seeks $650,000 in damages.

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shutterstock_27597505-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Mitchell Kurtz (Kurtz), formerly associated with Henley & Company LLC (Henley & Company) in Roslyn Heights, New York was terminated by the firm.  In July 2017 Kurtz was discharged after the firm claimed that based discussions with Kurtz and the SEC Auditors that it is necessary to terminate Kurtz’s registrations with Henley & Company due to violations of both FINRA and SEC rules and firm policies and procedures regarding outside business activities (OBAs), selling away, fiduciary duty obligations, violation of professional standards and the firm’s Code of Ethics.

In addition in August 2012 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Kurtz for altering certain account records.  In December 2009 Kurtz was terminated by his prior employer Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James) for altering documents.

At this time it is unclear the nature or scope of the alleged OBAs and private securities transactions that Kurtz may have been involved in.

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shutterstock_112866430-300x199The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Mariondy Fernandez (Fernandez). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Fernandez has been subject to 19 customer disputes, 10 of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern violations of various securities laws regarding Puerto Rico municipal bonds and closed-end funds.

Most recently, in June 2018, a client alleged that Fernandez violated various securities laws, was negligent to industry standards, breached fiduciary duty, and failed to supervise in the case of the customer’s investments in Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end funds. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2017, a customer similarly alleged that Fernandez unsuitably placed the customer into Puerto Rico municipal bonds and over-concentrated the customer’s funds in the investments. In addition, the customer alleges failure to supervise and negligence. The customer has requested $1,910,000 in damages. this dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_164634200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstien LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Donnell Bowen (Bowen). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), Bowen has been subject to 13 customer disputes, one financial action, one regulatory action, termination from employment, and a civil lien. The majority of these disputes concern unauthorized changes and forgery of customer signatures on life insurance/variable annuity forms.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that Bowen forged the customer’s signature on nonvariable insurnace documents to convert the term life insurance policies into whole life insurance policies. The case was settled at $50.

Shortly after, in January 2017, Bowen was permitted to resign from Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC (Northwestern Mutual) while under investigation for alleged forgery of customer signatures on documents.

shutterstock_184430498-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Michael Polyakov (Polyakov) has been subject to three customer complaints and eight financial disclosures.  Polyakov is currently employed by Westpark Capital, Inc. (Westpark Capital).  Many of the customer complaints against Polyakov concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.

In January 2013 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, churning, and excessive trading.  The claim alleged $157,178 in damages and settled.

In March 2010 a customer filed a complaint alleging churning, unauthorized trades, and unsuitable investments claiming $250,000 in damages.  The complaint was settled.

In addition, Polyakov has eight financial disclosures concerning debt compromises.  This information has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider.  In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.

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shutterstock_102242143-300x169According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Roy Failla (Failla) has been subject to three customer complaints.  Failla is currently employed by First Standard Financial Company LLC (First Standard Financial).  Many of the customer complaints against Failla concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as excessive trading, churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable and unauthorized trading.  The claim alleges $1,500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In May 2010 a customer filed a complaint alleging churning, unsuitable trades, and misrepresentations claiming $417,000 in damages.  The complaint was settled for $40,000.

In February 2010 a client filed a complaint alleging unauthorized trading, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and excessive trading and claimed $299,817 in damages.  The claim was settled for $75,000.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Morgan Stanley broker Barry Garapedian (Garapedian). According to BrokerCheck Records, Garapedian has been subject to 14 customer disputes, two of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable investment recommendations.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that Garapedian recommended investments that were unsuitable and over-concentrated the customers funds into the investments. The customer also alleged that the account had excessive fees. The customer has requested $713,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, another customer similarly alleged that from 2013 to 2015, Garapedian was recommending unsuitable investments that didn’t align with the customer’s needs and goals. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, a customer alleged that from March 2013 to December 2017, Garapedian was recommending unsuitable investments that didn’t align with the customer’s investment objectives. The customer requested $106,178 in damages.

In March 2008, a customer alleged that Garapedian’s recommendation of Auction Rate Securities (ARS) was unsuitable to the customer’s investment needs and falsely represented. The case was settled at $125,000.

Auction Rate Securities are debt securities sold through a dutch auction at an interest rate that will clear the market at the lowest possible yield in order to ensure that all bidders receive the same yield. Since 2008, most auctions have failed and the market has largely collapsed – leaving many investors with illiquid investments that have long-term maturities. Continue Reading

shutterstock_176198786-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Laurence Greene (Greene). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Greene has been subject to two pending customer disputes concerning unsuitable investments.

Most recently, in May 2018, a customer alleged that Greene placed the customer’s funds into risk oil and gas securities which were unsuitable to to the customer’s investment objectives. In addition, the customer alleges churning of the account. This dispute is currently still pending.

In November 2017, a customer alleged that during 2013, Greene placed the customer in unsuitable investments, churned the account, breached fiduciary duty and excessively traded the accounts. The customer has requested $375,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

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.

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