The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Craig Langweiler (Langweiler). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 36 disclosures on Langweiler’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, multiple judgments or liens, and a criminal matter. The most recent customer complaints against Langweiler alleges a number of securities law violations including excessive commissions, churning, unauthorized trading, and suitability among other claims.
The most recent regulatory action against Langweiler by FINRA alleges that he willfully failed to amend his Form U4 to timely disclose federal tax liens, totaling approximately $143,000, and civil judgments, totaling approximately $56,700. FINRA alleged that Langweiler also provided inaccurate and incomplete responses regarding liens and judgments to his employer and he provided inaccurate responses to FINRA.
When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical 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.