Broker Investigation: Brian Decker Churning Claims

shutterstock_186471755According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Brian Decker (Decker) has been the subject of at least 10 customer complaints and 2 judgments and liens over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Decker alleging a litany of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trades, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and false statements, and churning, among other claims. The claims involve different investment recommendations including claims involving equity securities among other speculative securities.

Decker entered the securities industry in 2006 with brokerage firm J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. Thereafter, in January 2007 through June 2009, Decker was associated with brokerage firm vFinance Investments, Inc. Finally since September 2009, Decker has been registered with Legend Securities, Inc. in Trinton Falls, New Jersey.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. When brokers engage in churning the investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is transacted to profit the broker through the generation of commission payments. The elements to establish a churning claim, which is considered a species of securities fraud, are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.

The number of complaints made by investors against Decker is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Far fewer brokers have multiple customer complaints approaching the number of complaints made against Decker. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters. Brokers with liens on their records, such as Decker, may be motivated to engage in misconduct to generate additional income to pay off old debts.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of unsuitable investments and churning. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.