Articles Posted in Investment Attorney

shutterstock_158028338-300x298The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against current The O.N. Equity Sales Company (O.N. Equity) broker Richard Wesselt (Wesselt). Wesselt operates his securities practice under an d/b/a entity called Wesselt Capital Group.  According to BrokerCheck records, Wesselt has been subject to seven customer complaints over the course of his career and one termination for cause. The most recent customer complaint against Wesselt occurred in August 2016 and alleged that sale of variable annuity and life insurance were unsuitable.  The claim alleged damages of $25,709 and settled.

Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  A variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.  Brokers often solicit these products to earn lucrative up front commissions even when the product is inappropriate for the investor.  In addition, some brokers will attempt to flip or switch annuities every couple of years which has the effect of further denying the investor of benefits while increasing commissions to the broker.

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shutterstock_20354398-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints and a FINRA enforcement action with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Michael Hebner (Hebner). According to BrokerCheck records, Hebner has been subject to five customer complaints and one employment termination for cause. The customer complaints against Hebner allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.

Hebner was terminated in January 2015 by Wunderlich Securities, Inc. on allegations that Hebner failed to follow firm procedures regarding the approval and retention of correspondence.  The most recent claim was filed in January 2017 alleging Hebner made unsuitable recommendations from 2010 until 2014.  The customer claims that the activity caused $429,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_61142644-300x225Broker Andrew Kramer (Kramer) was recently sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an enforcement action.  According to the FINRA AWC (Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent) FINRA found that Kramer consented to sanctions that he failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for documents and information related to an examination concerning a customer complaint.

The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the six customer complaints brought against Kramer. The customer complaints allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims.  Accorded to one complaint, it was alleged that Kramer implemented a bear market strategy.  When brokers recommend these strategies they are rarely profitable and almost always unsuitable for the client.  Historically the market is only negative a small fraction of the time.  Accordingly, a sustain bear market strategy always bets against the odds rarely makes sense.

The most recent claim was filed in December 2016 alleging Kramer engaged in unsuitable trades causing $1,000,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_171721244-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Robert Schultz (Schultz). According to BrokerCheck records, Schultz has been subject to four disclosures including four customer complaints. The customer complaints against Wolfe allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations, negligence, and omissions of material information among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in October 2016 claims $95,000 in damages and alleges suitability misconduct, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty from 2005 through 2010.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_183554579-300x200The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against current FSC Securities Corporation (FSC Securities) broker Brian Presley (Presley). According to BrokerCheck records, Presley has spent 34 years in the securities industry and is currently located in Punta Gorda, Florida operating under the d/b/a The Presley Advisory.  Over his career, Presley has been the subject of at least eight customer complaints and two regulatory actions.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2015 alleging that Presley breached his duties to his clients in illiquid investments including oil and gas and non-traded REIT’s.  The customer alleged $117,000 in damages.  The claim has been settled.  Many of Presley’s other customer complaints similarly allege damages resulting from the sale of alternative investment products.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products (DPPs) and private placements including oil and gas partnerships, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.

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shutterstock_183554579-300x200Our firm is investigating claims made by various regulators and brokerage firms including Axiom Capital Management, Inc. (Axiom) and Financial West Group (FWG) concerning broker Sara Eng (Eng a/k/a Sara Aiping Ng).  Eng is currently associated with brokerage firm Moloney Securities Co., Inc. (Moloney).

The allegations revolve around Eng’s offering of investments to clients.  In October 2015, FWG terminated Eng for cause and allowed Eng to voluntarily resign after allegations were made that   Eng was being placed on heightened supervision for potential violation of firm policy regarding marketing of investments to firm customers.  Thereafter, in September 2016, Axiom terminated Eng for cause for violation of the firm’s policies and procedures regarding email correspondence.  At the same time The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) opened its own investigation into Eng concerning Axiom’s disclosures for Eng’s termination.  At this time it is unclear the exact nature and extent of the investigation.

Eng entered the securities industry in 1997.  From November 2002 until March 2014, Eng was associated with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc.  From February 2014 until November 2015, Eng was associated with FWG.  From October 2015 until September 2016, Eng was registered with Axiom.  Finally, since November 2016 Eng  has been registered with Moloney out of the firm’s Oak Brook, Illinois and Flushing, New York office locations.

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shutterstock_32215765-300x200The securities and investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Malcolm Segal (Segal). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck record, there are at least 11 disclosures on Segal’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one employment separation from Aegis Capital Corp. The customer complaints against Segal allege misappropriation of customers’ funds, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.

Throughout his career with Aegis, Segal received number customer complaints:

January 2016: Alleging misappropriation of funds and misrepresentation. The damage amount requested is $135,000.00. This complaint is currently pending.

shutterstock_102217105-300x200The securities and investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker David James Mura (Mura). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck records for Mura, there are at least 14 disclosures on Mura’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one employment separation from Aegis Capital Corp. The customer complaints against Mira allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, excessive trading or “churning”, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

The most recent customer complaint against Mura was in August 2014, alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. This claim occurring during Mura’s employment at J.P. Turner & Company. The customer alleged losses of $268,000.00 and the claim settled for the amount of $55,000.00.

In July 2013, another customer complaint was filed with FINRA alleging that Mura of unsuitable investments in private placement exchange-traded funds, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. The statement of claim did not specify an amount and the settled for $1,100,000.00.

shutterstock_102242143-300x169The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Ziv Ohel (Ohel). According to BrokerCheck records, Ohel has been subject to at least seven customer complaints, one regulatory action and one employment separation for cause among other claims. The customer complaints against Ohel allege securities law violations that include unsuitable investments, churning, and failure to follow instructions among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in November 2016 alleging damages stemming from unauthorized investments made in October 2016. The complaint settled for $20,000. The complaint was settled for $30,996.00.

In January 2017, the state of Michigan filed a claim alleging that Ohel engaged in dishonest or unethical practices within the last 10 years. In addition, Ohel was terminated from his position at Ameriprise Financial on October 25, 2016 for policy violations including receiving a loan from and being named in fiduciary capacities for a client of the firm.

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Tracy Rae Turner (Turner). According to BrokerCheck records, Turner has been subject to at least 31 customer complaints, two employment separations for cause, one regulatory, and one financial among other claims during his 22 years of experience. The customer complaints against Turner alleges securities law violations that including unauthorized trading, fraud, breach of contract, negligence, and failure to supervise among other claims.

In a FINRA regulatory action against Turner in November 2016, the agency alleged that he offered and sold interests to investors totaling approximately $4.1 million without giving prior notice to and receiving prior written permission from his member firm. For successfully soliciting these investments, Turner received approximately $270,000 in compensation. A decision was rendered in April 2017 which resulted in barring Turner from FINRA association and fining him for $272, 879.04. The findings of the decision also alleged that Turner created a publically available offering memorandum to market sales of interest in private securities without providing a sound evaluation of investments and included false and misleading statements.

In June 2009, Turner was permitted to resign from his position at CapWest Securities, Inc. for conducting sales in states where he was not registered.