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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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shutterstock_62862913-259x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisors Gurpreet Chandhoke (Chandhoke) and Stephen Shea (Shea) are subject to a complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) concerning their actions selling VII Peaks Capital to investors.  The two representatives were registered with the same brokerage firms at relatively the same time.

FINRA alleged that over the course of more than three years, between March 2014 and August 2017, Chandhoke and Shea consistently failed to meet their obligations to disclose private securities transactions and other outside business activities (OBAs) to the FINRA member firms with which they were associated.  FINRA claims that Chandhoke separately engaged in unethical business-related misconduct by structuring deposits of cash into multiple bank accounts to evade federal reporting requirements and making false statements to a member firm to obtain a line of credit.

In total, between March 2014 and March 2017, FINRA alleged that Chandhoke and Shea participated in private securities transactions totaling $9,902,425 without providing written notice to their employer member firms.  FINRA alleged that in April 2009, Chandhoke and Shea co-founded VII Peaks Capital LLC (VII Peaks Capital), an investment advisory company that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  FINRA found that in October 2013, Chandhoke and Shea, through VII Peaks Capital, created VII Peaks BDC Investors, LLC (VII Peaks BDC Investors).  VII Peaks BDC Investors was alleged by FINRA to be an offering to provide an opportunity for the prior investors in the Co-Optivist Funds to continue to participate in the investments but also to raise funds to offset start-up costs associated with a new managing broker-dealer for the Co-Optivist Funds.

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shutterstock_160071281-300x168The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Frederick Stow (Stow) was discharged by his employer after being accused of misappropriating client funds.  According to BrokerCheck records, Stow is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James).  In addition, Stow disclosed two customer complaints related to misappropriating funds. If you have been a victim of Stow’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In May 2019 Stow was discharged by Raymond James after the firm claimed that Stow misappropriated funds from customer accounts.

Thereafter, in June 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Stow violated the securities laws by misappropriating funds from 2013 through 2019.  The claim alleges $911,500 in damages and is currently pending.

In July 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Stow violated the securities laws by misappropriating funds from 2015 through 2019.  The claim alleges $911,500 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_187532303-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Diane Zhu (Zhu) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) that were not approved by the brokerage firm.  Zhu, formerly registered with PFS Investments Inc. (PFS Investments) was subject to a regulatory investigation according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Zhu disclosed one employment termination for cause.

In July 2019, FINRA alleged that Zhu accepted a bar from the financial industry, without admitting or denying the findings, that she refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with FINRA’s investigation into Zhu’s outside business activity that led to her termination from her member firm.

In November 2018 Zhu was discharged by PFS Investments after the firm claimed that she engaged in an undisclosed outside business activity.

At this time it is unclear what the activity was that was the focus of FINRA’s investigation or the scope of Zhu’s activities.  Zhu’s publicly available BrokerCheck information discloses several OBAs including the sale of home security and automation products and a company called Stars Accounting which appears to be a tax accounting business.  It is unknown whether the activity investigated by FINRA involves any of these entities.

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.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_173509961-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Robert Montes (Montes) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) and investment sales that were not approved by his brokerage firm.  Montes, formerly registered with Morgan Stanley was subject to a regulatory investigation according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Montes disclosed three customer complaints.

In July 2019, FINRA alleged that Montes accepted a bar from the financial industry, without admitting or denying the findings, that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he potentially misused an elderly customer’s assets.

At this time it is unclear what the activity was that was the focus of FINRA’s investigation or the scope of Montes’ activities.  Montes’ publicly available BrokerCheck information discloses several OBAs including a real estate venture and a company called R.J.R. Asset Management, LLC.  It is unknown whether the activity investigated by FINRA involves any of these entities.

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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