The law offices of Gana LLP are investigating claims that broker Angelo Talebi (Talebi) made misrepresentations regarding investments in alternative investments such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and oil and gas limited partnerships. Upon information and belief, Talebi is targeting Iranian investors in California. According to Talebi’s BrokerCheck, at least 13 customer complaints have been filed regarding Talebi’s sales practices in FINRA arbitration. Some of the complaints also allege that Talebi unsuitably invested clients in various investments including variable annuities and private placements including KBS 1 REIT, Leaf Equipment finance, Inland American Real Estate Trust, Atlas Resources. Another complaint alleges unsuitable equity investments and excessive use of margin.
From 1999 through December 2012, Talebi was associated with LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial). Thereafter, until April 2014, Talebi was a registered representative of Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Currently, Talebi is associated with Independent Financial Group, LLC.
The investment products that Talebi is alleged to have inappropriately recommended to clients are part of a growing industry trend of placing investors heavily in alternative investments and illiquid products. Many times brokers tell investors that these products are more stable and predictable than the stock market. After the financial crisis many investors were receptive to these sales pitches. However, brokers sometimes fail to disclose that the stability of these investments is artificially generated by the lack of disclosure and trading market for these products. In the cases of REITs and oil and gas private placements investors may only learn years after investing that the value of these assets has fallen substantially and some investors do not know of their losses until the investment goes completely bust.
LPL Financial in particular has been accused by several regulators of failing to reign in their broker’s sales practices concerning alternative investments. On March 24, 2014, LPL Financial was fined $950,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to supervise the way that its brokers marketed and sold nontraditional investments. LPL Financial was alleged to have deficient supervision in the sale of alternative investment products, including REITs, oil and gas partnerships, business development companies (BDC’s), hedge funds, managed futures, and other illiquid pass through investments. FINRA found that from January 1, 2008, to July 1, 2012, LPL failed to adequately supervise the sales of theses alternative investments that violated concentration limits.
LPL Financial also paid a $500,000 fine to the Massachusetts Securities Division and was ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution for supervisory and suitability related violations involving the sale of non-traded REITs that were inappropriate for clients. This penalty was a portion of $11 million paid in restitution and fines from six firms related to REIT sales. The other firms included Ameriprise Financial Inc., Lincoln National, Commonwealth Financial Network, Royal Alliance Associates, and Securities America.
The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors concerning unfair practices by their financial advisors. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover. We are here to help the Iranian community in California.