Articles Posted in Investment Lawyer

shutterstock_190371500-300x200Advisor Bryan Benson (Benson), formerly employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) has been subject to at least one customer complaint and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaint concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In April 2020 FINRA barred Benson after he consented to sanctions and findings that he refused to provide information and documents that were requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into an investment-related customer complaint.  It is unclear the nature of the FINRA complaint that led to Benson’s bar from the industry

In April 2017 a customer complained that Benson violated the securities laws by alleging that Benson engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitable investments concerning DPPs and limited partnership interests. The claim settled for $415,000.

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shutterstock_39128059-300x174The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Eladio Santiago (Santiago), currently employed by Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. (Cambridge Investment) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Santiago’s customer complaints alleges that Santiago recommended unsuitable investments and account mismanagement among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In February 2020 a customer complained that Santiago violated the securities laws by alleging that from 2014 through the present the broker made unsuitable investments and engaged in mismanagement with respect to recommendations and handling of accounts. The claim is currently pending.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Santiago violated the securities laws by alleging that from November 2012 through October 2018 the broker made unsuitable investments and engaged in mismanagement with respect to recommendations and handling of accounts. The claim is currently pending and alleges $350,000 in damages.

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shutterstock_189276023-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Narinder Singh (Singh) has multiple client complaints concerning allegations that he engaged in the sales of investments in a company he controlled called Express Asset and Wealth Management, Inc. (Express Asset) among other allegations.  According to BrokerCheck records, Singh was formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC (Farmers Financial).  If you have been a victim of Singh’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Singh violated the securities laws by alleging that Singh solicited him to invest $50,000 in an investment contract guaranteeing 5% interest for six months to a company controlled by Singh. The claim alleged $16,500 in damages and is currently pending.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Singh violated the securities laws by alleging that Singh induced them to invest $412,500 into an investment contracts with a company Singh controlled called Express Asset and Wealth Management, Inc. Claimants alleged that the first investment of $300,000 was made in January 2015 and second investment of $112,500 was made in January 2017.  The claim alleged $1,237,500 in damages and is currently pending.

According to Singh’s publicly disclosed records the he has no disclosed outside business activities.

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shutterstock_186471755-300x200Advisor Marco Azizi (Azizi), currently employed by Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concern alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Azizi violated the securities laws by alleging that Azizi from 2012 through 2014, the customers allege that the Azizi facilitated unsuitable, high-risk and illiquid investments.  The claim is currently pending.

In October 2018 a customer complained that Azizi violated the securities laws by alleging that Azizi recommended unsuitable investments and several other allegations associated therewith.  The claim is currently pending.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do.  Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_185219489-300x237The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Robert Genito (Genito) was terminated by his firm and then barred from the securities industry over allegations that he engaged in undisclosed businesses and private securities transactions among other allegations.  According to BrokerCheck records, Genito was formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm PFS Investments Inc. (PFS Investments).  If you have been a victim of Genito’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In November 2019 FINRA barred Genito finding that Genito consented to the sanction and findings that he refused to appear for a FINRA on-the-record testimony requested when it began an investigation after it received a Form U5 filed by his member firm. FINRA stated that the Form U5 indicated that the firm terminated Genito’s registration because it discovered that he was involved in an undisclosed outside business activity or private securities transaction. PFS Investment discharged Genito in December 2018 forfor involvement in outside business activities and potentially private securities transactions.

According to Genito’s publicly disclosed records the only outside business activities disclosed include GeniTrust.  It is unclear at this time whether FINRA’s allegations concern these entities.

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shutterstock_102242143-300x169The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor James McKinney (McKinney), formerly employed by Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera) has been subject to at least three customer complaints, three tax liens, and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), McKinney’s customer complaints alleges that McKinney recommended unsuitable investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In November 2019 FINRA filed a regulatory action against McKinney alleging that he was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that he failed to comply with FINRA requests for information, documents and on-the-record testimony in connection with an investigation of him for possible violations of FINRA rules.  If McKinney does not respond to the investigation the usual outcome is a bar from the securities industry.

McKinney also has three tax lien disclosures including a $622,351 lien from June 2017.  The fact that a broker cannot manage his own personal finances is material information for a client to consider.  In addition, the types of products clients have alleged were unsuitable are high commission products that may be recommended to generate high profits for the advisor at the expense of the client.

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shutterstock_92699377-300x285The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor William Baum (Baum), currently employed by Great American Investors, Inc. (Great American) was has been subject to at least eight customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Baum’s customer complaint alleges that Baum recommended unsuitable investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In July 2017 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Baum that he settled consenting to findings that he sent 58 text messages relating to his securities business – including messages about investment strategies and specific securities – to sixteen customers over the course of a year. FINRA found that Baum prevented his member firm from supervising those communications, violated the firm’s policy about business correspondence, and contradicted his attestation that he would use his firm’s email system for all business correspondence and retain all correspondence with customers for the firm’s review.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Baum violated the securities laws by alleging that Baum engaged in sales practice violations over the period of 2014 through 2017 by failing to recommend appropriate investments, disclose all conflicts of interest and fully inform claimants about the associated risks. The claim alleges $87,000 in damages and the case settled for $20,000.

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shutterstock_112866430-300x199Advisor Yvonne Silguero (Silguero), currently employed by LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of her career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Silguero violated the securities laws by alleging that Silguero engaged in sales practice violations related to negligence, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty from July 2014 through October 2018 concerning alternative investments. The claim alleges $500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In April 2017 a customer complained that Silguero violated the securities laws by alleging that Silguero engaged in sales practice violations related to violations of the Texas State Securities Statutes, negligent misrepresentations, unsuitable investment recommendations and violations of the FINRA Rules.  The claim alleged $3,759,713 in damages and went to hearing.  The arbitration panel found LPL Financial liable and awarded $864,839 in damages, $340,000 in attorneys’ fees, and $350,000 in additional damages.

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shutterstock_180342179-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Timothy Atyeo (Atyeo), currently employed by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (Oppenheimer), has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Atyeo has been accused by multiple customers of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

In July 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Atyeo violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations, and over concentration and speculative trading in the energy sector.  The claim alleges $1,100,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In June 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Atyeo violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, too much risk and lack of diversification from 2014 through 2017 causing $4,000,000 in damages.  The claim was denied by the firm.

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shutterstock_156972491-300x198The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor James Crosson (Crosson), currently employed by Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation (Lincoln Financial) and formerly with Voya Financial Asvisors, Inc. (Voya Financial) has been subject to at least four customer complaints, and one termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Crosson’s customer complaints alleges that Crosson recommended unsuitable investments in a stock called Castle Brands (Ticker Symbol: ROX) among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

Castle Brands purports to be a developer and international marketer of premium and super premium beverage alcohol brands including rum, whiskey/bourbon, liqueurs, vodka and tequila, which are marketed and sold in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia.  The stock appears to be a risky penny stock with a market capitalization of little more than $200 million.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Crosson violated the securities laws by alleging that the risks associated with purchasing Castle Brands stock was misrepresented and the amount invested in the stock was excessive.  The claim alleges $85,000 in damages and settled for $11,196.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Crosson violated the securities laws by alleging that the risks associated with purchasing Castle Brands stock was misrepresented.  The claim alleges $39,703 in damages and is currently pending.

In April 2019 Crosson was discharged from Voya Financial after the firm alleged that Crosson discussed one customer’s complaint with another customer.

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