Broker Investigation: Customer Complaints Against Jeremy Monte

shutterstock_177577832The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against Jeremy Monte (Monte). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Monte has been the subject of at least 3 customer complaints and 3 judgment or liens. The customer complaints against Monte allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in April 2015 and alleges unsuitable investments in non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs) and variable annuities by charging advisory fees on these investments in addition to commissions. Another complaint filed in February 2013 alleges unsuitable recommendations from 2005 through 2009 leading to $61,000 in damages.

Monte also has three liens listed. In March 2013, a tax lien of $83,199 was filed. In May 2012, a tax lien of $13,999 was filed. Finally, in April 2010, a tax lien of $24,394 was filed against the broker. A broker with large liens are an important consideration for investors to weigh when dealing with a financial advisor. An advisor may be conflicted to offer high commission investments to customers in order to satisfy liens and debts that may not be in the client’s best interests.

Monte entered the securities industry in 2003. From June 2004 through August 2009, Monte was associated with Mutual Service Corporation. From August 2009 until September 2015 Monte was associated with brokerage firm American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. out of the firm’s Fairport, New York office location.

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.

The number of customer complaints against Monte is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.

The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP represent investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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