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shutterstock_20354401-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against John P. Correnti (Correnti), working out of Cleveland, Ohio. Correnti allegedly failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents related to an investigation into claims that Correnti engaged in undisclosed outside business activities. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry.

Correnti began his securities career in 2007. From 2007 until 2015, Correnti was associated with MVP Financial. He moved to Forest Securities in 2015 and was with them for less than a year. Finally, he moved to AXA Advisors where he was terminated in less than a year.

According to BrokerCheck records, Correnti was terminated by AXA Advisors in July 2016 “due to his apparent involvement in the possible market manipulation of a low price security.”

shutterstock_115937266-300x237According to BrokerCheck records Gaetano “Guy” Magarelli (Magarelli), now associated with Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge), has been subject to five customer complaints and one lien.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Magarelli has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice.  Some customers have also alleged unauthorized trading among other claims.

The most recent complaint filed in June 2017 alleges $84,000 in damages stemming from a two year period.  The claim is currently pending.  Another claim was filed by a customer in March 2017 alleging that there were unsuitable trades from 2010 through 2017 causing $131,000 in damages.  The claim has been denied by the firm.

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shutterstock_183011084-199x300According to BrokerCheck records Todd Ryman (Ryman), now associated with SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. (SunTrust), has been subject to six customer complaints and one regulatory action in his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Ryman has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice in a variety of securities including equities, private equity investment funds, and other types of investment vehicles.  Some customers have also alleged unauthorized trading, misrepresentations and failure to follow instructions, among other claims.

One customer complaint filed in November 2016 alleged an unsuitable investment in a private equity fund resulting in $250,000 in damages.  The claim was settled for $205,193.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  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_179921270-200x300The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the allegations made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against broker Ann Comcowich (Comcowich). According to the broker’s file on FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Comcowich allegedly refused to provide the proper documentation and information to FINRA that was necessary during an ongoing investigation regarding an amended Form U5 that was filed by her former firm. During her employment at Prudential, Comcowich was allegedly suspected of processing 13 unauthorized withdrawals from customer accounts. In April 2017, due to these allegations, Comcowich was barred from holding any registration capacities in FINRA.

Comcowich entered the industry in 1999 and had 16 years of experience as a registered broker. Before being barred, she was employed at Prudential Investment Management Services LLC from March 2000 to November 2016.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

First, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. § 78a et seq.) and Rule 10b-5 protect investors against deceptive and manipulative acts in the purchase or sale of securities. This sweeping legislation is the cornerstone of federal securities laws. Rule 10b-5 makes it unlawful to employ a device or scheme to defraud, to make any untrue statement of material fact or omit to state a material fact not misleading, or to engage in any practice that would operate as a fraud.

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shutterstock_173509961-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Paul Smith (Smith), in June 2017, was barred by FINRA for failing to provide documents and information concerning private securities transactions.

Prior to the FINRA bar Smith was terminated by his firm Bolton Global Capital (Bolton Global) over claims by the firm that the firm was notified by the SEC that smith engaged in private securities transactions.  In addition to the termination Smith has been subject to ten customer complaints.

According to the customer complaints, Smith’s clients were solicited to invest in the Haverford Group which turned out to be a fraudulent investment offering.  It appears that Smith recommended the Haverford investments since at least 2011 through 2017.  At this time the extent and scope of the fraud is unknown.

FINRA requires brokers to disclose their outside businesses because the risk to investors is that the broker will use such businesses to engage in unauthorized securities activities.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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shutterstock_1832893-226x300The law offices of Gana LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.  According to BrokerCheck records, Customers have filed about seven complaints with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Jeffrey Grayson (Grayson), a former registered representative with Wells Fargo Advisors (Wells Fargo) out of the firm’s Florham Park, New Jersey office location.

Some of the customer complaints against Grayson allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and overcenoncetrated clients in oil & gas related investments among other claims.  The most recent complaint was filed in June 2017 and alleged unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments.  The complaint is currently pending.

In February 2017 FINRA suspended Grayson alleging that Grayson exercised discretion in four accounts without written authorization from those customers and without having obtained approval from his member firm to treat those customer accounts as discretionary. FINRA also found that Grayson provided inaccurate responses about his use of discretion on the firm’s annual compliance documents.

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shutterstock_160071281-300x168The law offices of Gana LLP are investigating reports by multiple securities regulatory agencies that Yasuna Murakami (Murakami), Avi Chiat (Chiat) and the companies and hedge funds that the two managed defrauded over 50 investors by raising $15 million and then misappropriating funds in Ponzi like fashion.

According to the SEC, From 2007 to 2016, Murakami and Chiat defrauded more than 50 investors in three hedge funds run through their investment advisory businesses, MC2 Capital Management, LLC and MC2 Canada Capital Management, LLC.  The three hedge funds are the MC2 Capital Partners, LLC (Partners Fund), MC2 Capital Value Partners, LLC (Value Fund), and the MC2 Capital Canadian Opportunities Fund, LLC (Canadian Fund).

The SEC alleged that the firms and their principals violated their fiduciary duties as advisers to the funds by lying to investors about the funds’ performance, falsifying account statements, falsifying tax documents, falsifying performance letters, and providing other misleading communications to investors. According to the SEC, Murakami and Chiat continually misled investors into believing they had invested in profitable ventures when in reality Murakami and Chiat engaged in unprofitable trading that lost more than 70% of the money raised for their first hedge fund in less than two years.

Further, the SEC found that over nearly a decade Murakami stole more than $8 million of investor funds and spent those funds on personal and business expenses.  The SEC also alleged that Murakami used $1.3 million of investor funds to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors while telling those investors that the proceeds were from investment gains.

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shutterstock_172105349-199x300The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming that financial advisor Leon Vaccarelli (Vaccarelli) defrauded his elderly clients out of more than $1 million.

According to FinancialPlanning, the SEC filed a complaint in federal court in New Haven alleging Vaccarelli engaged in a Ponzi scheme for more than four years. To pay his mortgage and other personal expenses, Vaccarelli allegedly did not put client funds in conventional brokerage accounts as promised and instead had some clients write checks payable directly to him and used the funds to pay for his expenses or to repay earlier investors.

Upon information and belief, as of September 7, 2017, Gana LLP is the only firm to have brought civil claims in arbitration to help investors recovery their money from this Ponzi Scheme.

shutterstock_76996033-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finding that LPL Financial LLC (LPL) advisor, Sonya D. Camarco (Camarco), misappropriated over $2.8 million in investor funds from her clients and customers. LPL terminated Camarco in August 2017 “for depositing third party checks from client accounts into a bank account she controlled and accessing client funds for personal use.”

Camarco is a 23-year industry veteran. From 1993 to 2000, Camarco was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. Thereafter, from 2000 to 2004, Camarco became registered with Morgan Stanley DW Inc. Finally, from 2004 to 2017, Camarco was associated with LPL Financial LLC.

According to FinancialPlanning, Camarco faces five counts of fraud charges and an asset freeze after investigators said she used third-party checks and other means to forward client funds towards personal expenses. Camarco allegedly forged clients’ signatures on at least 120 first- and third-party checks, having them sent to a post office box at a UPS store and signing them over to an entity she controlled.

shutterstock_186772637-300x199Gana LLP is examining claims made by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission against broker Michael Siva (Siva). According to BrokerCheck records, Siva and five other individuals allegedly engaged in securities fraud and profited by over $5 million by trading on insider information about dozens of impending corporate mergers, acquisitions, and tender offers.

Siva entered the industry in 1996. He is currently employed at Morgan Stanley and has worked there for 8 years. Between October 2014 and April 2017, Siva allegedly used inside information to make profitable trades for his clients, earning commissions for himself in the process. Mr. Siva also allegedly traded on behalf of himself and his wife based on two of the tips he received.

Securities fraud (a/k/a investment fraud) stems from a variety of deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets. Securities fraud stems from intentionally false information or the omission of material information that induces an investor to make purchase or sales decisions. Securities fraud violates state and federal securities laws. Securities fraud encompass a wide range of illegal activity, including violations of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, insider trading, and other illicit activity on trading floors of stock and commodities exchanges. Insider trading is the illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential information.