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A FINRA arbitration panel ordered Windsor Street Capital, to pay two customers more than $1.3 million in compensatory damages, interest, punitive damages of over $3,000,000, attorneys fees in the amount of $552,321 and sanctions in the amount of $44,450 for churning customer accounts. The total award will be in excess of $5,000,000.

The Claimants alleged that Windsor churned their accounts over a very short period of time and violated know-your-customer rules and misrepresented the investments Windsor recommended.

You can find the award here.

shutterstock_173864537-300x200The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Bradley Tennison (Tennison). According to BrokerCheck Records, the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA) barred Tennison indefinitely from the financial industry for failing to appear to an on the record testimony regarding an investigation of Tennison’s outside business activities at Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. (Geneos Wealth Management). In addition, Tennison has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve unsuitable limited partnerships and selling away. Tennison has also been subject to termination from two firms of employment.

In April 2018, a customer alleged that in 2016, Tennison recommended a former client to invest $300,000 in “The Joseph Project”, which he represented to be a 12 month investment with 5 % returns. The customer never received any statements or returns on her principal payment. The customer has requested $300,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

Subsequently, in April 2018, Tennison was terminated from Geneos Wealth Management for failing to be in compliance with the firm’s policies and regulations regarding outside business activities and selling away.

In July 2018, FINRA found that Tennison was in violation of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010 for failing to show up to an on-the-record testimony regarding the customer complaint alleging selling away at Geneos Wealth Management. Without admitting or denying the findings, Tennison consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings. Consequently, Tennison was barred from the financial industry. The extent of Tennison’s outside business activities is still unclear. Continue Reading

shutterstock_99315272-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge Securities) broker Edward Klug (Klug) left the securities industry in May 2018 after disclosing several large tax liens in the prior years.  Klug has made seven financial related disclosures and lists four customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Klug allege churning or excessive trading.

In March 2018 Klug disclosed a $141,711 tax lien against him.  In May 2017, Klug disclosed a $482,714 tax lien against him.  Prior to that, in April 2016 Klug disclosed a $44,229 tax lien against him.  Such disclosures on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services.  FINRA discloses information concerning a broker’s financial condition because a broker’s inability to handle their own personal finances has also been found to be material information in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

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shutterstock_61848763-300x203The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating former International Assets Advisory, LLC (International Assets) broker Frank Cuenca.  According to BrokerCheck records, in December 2017, Cuenca was terminated by SII Investments, Inc. (SII investments) for failing to follow his firm’s procedures regarding submitting variable annuity transactions. He also failed to submit a customer complaint and unapproved email in a timely manner. In addition, Cuenca has been subject to five customer disputes, the majority alleging failure to follow customer instructions.

In March 2009, a customer alleged that in 2008, Cuenca failed to follow customer instructions to liquidate the account and to move $12,000 back into the market. The customer requested $12,000 in damages.

In December 2008, a customer alleged that Cuenca liquidated the customer account without the customer knowledge or permission. The customer requested $5,000 in damages. Continue Reading

shutterstock_172034843-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (Royal Alliance) broker Gregory Hill (Hill). According to BrokerCheck Records, Hill has been subject to one pending customer dispute and tax lien. In addition, Hill has been subject to termination from employment. The majority of these concerns allege the firm’s failure to supervise.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that Hill’s firm of employment failed to supervise Hill’s inappropriate sale of a variable annuity to the customer. The client has requested $1,185,056 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In addition, in December 2010, ING Financial Partners, Inc. terminated Hill for failing to report his three tax liens on the U4 form.  Hill has also been subject to a tax lien. In June 2010, Hill incurred a tax lien of $86,263. Continue Reading

shutterstock_85873471-300x200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) broker Walter Stucker (Stucker). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), Stucker has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the false representation and unsuitable recommendation of securities in the energy sector and oil and gas limited partnerships.

In April 2018, a customer alleged that from 2011 to 2017, Stucker falsely represented the nature of sector securities to the customer by omitting the risks associated with the securities. The customer also alleged that Stucker unsuitably over-concentrated the customer’s funds into these investments. The customer has requested $600,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2017, a customer alleged that from July 2011 to December 2017, Stucker misrepresented the risky and volatile nature of oil and gas limited partnerships to the customer and unsuitably over-concentrated the customer into these investments.  The customer requested $632,907 in damages. Continue Reading

shutterstock_157506896-300x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Richard Minichino (Minichino). According to BrokerCheck Records, Minichino has been subject to a pending customer dispute concerning roll-over annuities. In addition, Minichino has been subject to 4 tax liens and termination from employment at Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial).

In April 2018, a customer alleged that Minichino unsuitably recommended the customer to roll over IRA annuities into other investments multiple times. The customer is requested $70,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, Minichino was terminated from Net Financial for trading customer’s accounts in an unsuitable manner that did not match with the investor’s needs or objectives.

Furthermore, Minichino has been subject to four tax liens within the past two years. In November 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of $44,390.10. In August 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of $7,469. In May 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of 6,402. In February 2017, Minichino was subject to $28,430.92.  The fact that a broker cannot manage his own personal finances is material information for a client to consider. In addition, an advisor with poor personal finances may be incentivized to sell unsuitable or high commission products that may be recommended to generate high profits for the advisor at the expense of the client. Continue Reading

shutterstock_189302963-300x194The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (Joseph Stone) broker Miguel Murillo (Murillo). According to BrokerCheck Records,  Murillo has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. In addition, Murillo has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for being in violation of various securities laws.

In September 2017, a customer alleged that Murillo engaged in recommending unsuitable investments, executing unauthorized transactions, excessively trading the account, and security fraud. The customer has requested $800,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2008, a customer alleged that Murillo failed to follow customer instructions and engaged in unauthorized trading and false representation of the nature of the investments recommended. The case settled at $35,000.

Murillo has also been suspended by FINRA for violating certain securities laws. In December 2010, FINRA found that Murillo was in violation of NASD Rules 2110 and 2310 for recommending unsuitable investments to inexperienced, elderly investors. The investment recommendations were alleged to have not matched the investor’s financial needs and objectives.  The customer had stated a desire for a conservative retirement account with low risk and passive income and instead FINRA found that Murillo listed the customer’s objective as speculation and risk tolerance as aggressive. In addition, many of the trades that Murillo executed were excessive and were made on use of margin when the investor had been completely uninformed about the use of margin and its risks. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Murillo consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of the findings. Murillo incurred a restitution fee of $35,000 and was suspended for 20 business days. Continue Reading

shutterstock_151894877-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Paul Dangelo (Dangelo). According to BrokerCheck Records, Dangelo has been subject to six customer disputes, the majority concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investment recommendations in Puerto Rico bonds.   In addition, Dangelo has been subject to termination from two firms of employment.

In January 2017, a customer alleged that from March 2005 to January 2017, Dangelo placed the customer in high-risk, uninsured Puerto Rico bonds that were unsuitable for the customer’s investment needs and objectives considering the customers old age of 70 years old and retiree status.

In addition, in September 2016, a customer alleged that from March 2005 to February 2015, Dangelo placed the customer in unsuitable bonds that did not match the customer’s objectives of safe, passive income investments.

Dangelo has also been subject to resignation and termination from firms of employment. In March 2018, Dangelo was terminated from Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (Oppenheimer) for neglecting to inform the firm about a regulation inquiry. In March 2015, Dangelo voluntarily resigned from Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo) due to a customer allegation that Dangelo was executing unauthorized trades in customer accounts. Continue Reading

shutterstock_182371613-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Joseph Pratte (Pratte), formerly associated with Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator Investors) in Riverside, California was terminated by his firm concerning allegations he engaged in prohibited outside business activity (OBA) and failed to submit the activity to the firm for approval as required.

Thereafter, in May 2018 FINRA sought to question Pratte concerning his OBA.  FINRA found that Pratte failed to cooperate with the investigation.  Accordingly, FINRA determined that Pratte consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide information in response to FINRA requests made to review Pratte’s outside business activities.

At this time it is unclear the extent of Pratte’s outside business activities or if private securities transactions were involved.  However, Pratte disclosed that he was engaged in a rental property business.

The allegations may involve private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.

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