Articles Posted in Churning (Excessive Trading)

shutterstock_29356093-300x214According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker James Pecoraro (Pecoraro), associated with Spartan Capital Securities, LLC (Spartan Capital) has been subject to at least 11 customer complaint, six regulatory actions, and one judgement or liens during his career.  Some of the complaints against Pecoraro concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.

In August 2022, FINRA found Pecoraro consented to sanctions and findings that he excessively traded in customers’ accounts. FINRA found that Pecoraro recommended a pattern of high-cost and high-velocity trading in the customers’ accounts. FINRA alleged that Pecoraro’s customers routinely followed his recommendations and exercised de facto control over their accounts. The findings state that Pecoraro effected a total of 325 trades resulting in annual turnover rates ranging from 13.47 to 57.97 and annualized cost-to-equity ratios ranging from 57.58 percent to 175.19 percent. FINRA found that Pecoraro’s trading was excessive and unsuitable for the customers’ investment profiles and the customers suffered losses of $166,018, total trading costs of $184,053, and commissions of $165,437.

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shutterstock_108591-300x199The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that broker William Nicholas Athas (Athas), currently employed by SW Financial has been subject to at least nine customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Athas’s customer complaints alleges that Athas recommended unsuitable investments in various investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In January 2022, FINRA barred Athas finding that Athas willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and violated FINRA Rule 2020 by churning customer accounts.

In May 2020, a customer complained that Athas violated the securities laws by alleging that Athas engaged in unsuitable trading, common law fraud, churning. The claim alleges $84,932.35 in damages and is currently pending.

In January 2017, a customer complained that Athas violated the securities laws by alleging that Athas engaged in misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, unauthorized trading, and violations of Texas State Securities Act. The damage amount requested was $290,000. The claim settled in the amount of $95,000.

In July 2011, a customer complained that Athas violated the securities laws by alleging that Athas engaged in churning and excessive trading. The damage amount requested was $100,000. The claim settled in the amount of $10,000.

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shutterstock_187697825-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that broker Christian Frank Lucchetto (Lucchetto), currently employed by Arive Capital Markets has been subject to at least one regulatory action and one criminal action during the course of his career.

In January 2021, Lucchetto faced a regulatory action commenced by FINRA. Lucchetto consented to the entry of findings that he engaged in unsuitability and excessive trading in his customer’s account. The sanctions included $5,000 in civil penalties and administrative fines, as well as $30,454.86 in restitution. Additionally, FINRA suspended Lucchetto in all capacities from February 2021 through May 2021.

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shutterstock_153912335-300x189The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that advisor Russell Green (Green), currently employed by Cabot Lodge Securities LLC (Cabot Lodge) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Green’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Green recommended unsuitable investments, among other allegations, including: churning, and misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In August 2017, a customer complained that Mr. Green violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Green engaged in excessive trading and unsuitable recommendations.  The claim settled in the amount of $250,000.

In June 2014, Mr. Green was subject to a FINRA regulatory action. Mr. Green allegedly engaged in misconduct regarding necessary client information in connection with the deposit and sale of stock. Mr. Green consented to sanctions; he was faced with $5,000 in fines.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typically trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim 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.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

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shutterstock_29356093-300x214The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that broker Kevin Meadows (Meadows), most recently associated with IBN Financial Services, Inc. (IBN Financial Services) has been subject to at least five  customer complaints and two regulatory actions during the course of his career. Meadows has been recently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Meadows’s customer complaints alleges that Meadows recommended unsuitable investments in various investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts, including churning customer accounts.

In April 2020, a customer complained that Meadows violated the securities laws by alleging that Meadows recommended unsuitable investments and failed to repay a loan. Further, the claim alleged that Meadows engaged in failure to supervise, excessive trading, and breach of fiduciary duty. The damage amount requested was $168,000. The claim settled in the amount of $35,000.

In March 2006, a customer complained that Meadows violated the securities laws by alleging that Meadows engaged in unauthorized trading and use of margin in customer accounts. The damage amount requested was $135,481.71. The matter was settled in a voluntary mediation, without going through arbitration/litigation. The claim settled in the amount of $50,000.

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shutterstock_128655458-300x200Jonathan Ebel, a financial advisor currently employed at Network 1 Financial Securities, Inc. (Network 1 Financial), has been subject to at least one customer complaint during the course of his career.  Additionally, Ebel has also been subject to a tax lien. His most recent customer complaint alleges excessive trading and unsuitable trading.  According to a BrokerCheck report, in May 2018, Ebel was accused of excessively trading his client’s account and purchasing unsuitable investments. This matter settled for $30,000.00. Additionally, in December 2016, Ebel disclosed a tax lien in the amount of $31,962.00.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typically trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim 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.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

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shutterstock_61142644-300x225Adviser, Ezri Shechter, was previously employed at Spencer-Winston Securities Corporation. (Spencer-Winston), has been subject to at least five customer complaints over the course of his career with these claims alleging violations such as suitability, churning, and unauthorized trading. Most notably, Ezri has been suspended and fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for unauthorized trading activity.

Since May 2000 through December 2010, there have been three customer complaints against Shechter which cumulatively settled for over $170,000. Additionally, there have also been allegations of unauthorized trading against Shechter. The most recent unauthorized trading allegation occurred in June 2020 and sought damages of $25,000. Shechter’s unauthorized trading activity resulted in a three-month suspension and $12,500 fine by FINRA.

According to a BrokerCheck report, Shechter consented to “[causing] multiple customers of his member firm to sign blank or incomplete discretionary trading forms that he then copied and used to complete discretionary trading forms. The findings stated that Shechter submitted the forms with the photocopied signatures to his firm as originals, causing the firm to make and keep inaccurate books and records regarding the granting of discretionary authority.”

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shutterstock_179465345-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Martin Noonan Jr. (Noonan), formerly associated with BMA Securities, LLC (BMA Securities), has been subject to at least one customer complaint, one regulatory action, and eight judgement or liens during his career.  The complaint against Noonan concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Noonan violated the securities laws by alleging that Noonan engaged in sales practice violations related to account mismanagement or that the account representative engaged in unsuitable or excessive trading.  The claim is currently pending and seeks $250,000 in damages.

In May 2020 FINRA barred Noonan after the broker consented to sanctions and to findings that he refused to produce information or documents requested by FINRA during an investigation that it began after reviewing a Dispute Resolution Statement of Claim filed alleging unsuitable and excessive trading in a client account.  Accordingly, Noonan was automatically barred from the securities industry.

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shutterstock_180342179-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker James Parrelly (Parrelly), formerly associated with Investment Planners, Inc. (Investment Planners), has been subject to at least eight customer complaints, three regulatory complaints, and one employment termination for cause during his career.  Several of those complaints against Parrelly concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.

In June 2020, Parrelly was terminated by Investment Planners which alleged that at time of his resignation Parrelly was on heightened supervision and was engaging or had engaged in activities in violation of firm policies and/or FINRA rules, including: (1) use of personal email and texts to communicate with firm clients regarding their accounts; (2) failing to abide by terms of his heightened supervision plan (by continuing to use his personal email and texts and by not providing copies of his personal emails and texts to the firm); and (3) unauthorized trading. Parrelly then resigned in response to the anticipated commencement of an internal review into his activities.

In May 2020, FINRA suspended Parrelly finding that he consented to findings that he executed discretionary transactions in the securities account of a customer pursuant to the customer’s prior verbal authorization, but without written authorization from the customer or written approval from his member firm.

In April 2019 a customer complained that Parrelly violated the securities laws by alleging that Parrelly engaged in sales practice violations related to churning, negligence of duty and unsuitable investments.  The claim is currently pending and seeks $500,000 in damages.

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shutterstock_135103109-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker David Weisberg (Weisberg), formerly associated with Worden Capital Management LLC (Worden Capital), has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one regulatory action during his career.  Several of those complaints against Weisberg concern allegations of unauthorized trading activity and the regulatory action includes allegations of excessive trading also referred to as churning among other securities laws violations.

In April 2020 FINRA filed a regulatory action finding that Weisberg consented to sanctions and findings that he engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading in the account of an elderly customer. FINRA found that Weisberg began soliciting stock trades and some of Weisberg’s recommendations involved in-and-out trading and many of them used margin. FINRA determined that the customer relied on Weisberg’s advice and in virtually every case the customer purchased or sold exactly the quantity of shares that Weisberg suggested. FINRA found that the costs of Weisberg’s trading in the customer’s account were significant and Weisberg did not track the trading costs or take them into consideration when making recommendations. FINRA found that the trading generated commissions of approximately $75,638 while the customer lost approximately $55,627. Finally, FINRA also found that Weisberg used discretion to initiate stock trades in customers’ accounts without written authorization and his member firm who never accepted the accounts for discretionary trading.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Weisberg violated the securities laws by alleging that Weisberg engaged in sales practice violations related to negligence, unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and omissions. The claim is alleges $21,579 and is currently pending.

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