Articles Posted in Investment Lawyer

shutterstock_180341738-200x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that broker Joseph Gebron (Gebron) currently employed by SW Financial has been subject to at least seven customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Gebron’s customer complaints alleges that Gebron recommended unsuitable investments in various investments. Allegations involving common and preferred stocks, and private placement securities, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In January 2013, a customer complained that Gebron violated the securities laws by alleging that Gebron engaged in unauthorized trading, misleading representations, and omissions. The claim alleges $820,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In February 2012, a customer complained that Gebron violated the securities laws by alleging that Gebron engaged in negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. The claim settled in the amount of $47,500.

In May 2011, a customer complained that Gebron violated the securities laws by alleging that Gebron engaged in unsuitable investment advice, violation of common law fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.  The claim settled in the amount of $45,000.

In November 2009, a customer complained that Gebron violated the securities laws by alleging that Gebron engaged in unsuitable investment advice, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim settled in the amount of $50,000.

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shutterstock_1081038-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that former broker Martin Batstone (Batstone), barred from acting as a broker from FINRA, has been subject to at least six customer complaints and two regulatory actions during the course of his career. Batstone was most recently associated with Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge). According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Batstone’s customer complaints alleges that Batstone recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving private securities, annuities, mutual funds, and REITs, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In October 2019, FINRA filed a regulatory action finding that Batstone consented to sanctions. Batstone was a respondent in a FINRA complaint. The complaint alleged that Batstone willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5(a)-(c), and FINRA Rule 2010, by transferring client funds into his personal bank accounts. FINRA has barred Batstone from acting as a broker or otherwise being associated with a broker-dealer firm, starting February 2020.

In October 2017, a customer complained that Batstone violated the securities laws by alleging that Batstone engaged in unsuitable investment advice, due to the purchase of two annuities unsuitable for the client based on her risk tolerance.  The claim settled in the amount of $5,000.

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shutterstock_182053859-300x200Investment Adviser, Joseph Teifer, currently employed at Herbert J. Sims & Co. Inc., has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career. Both complaints have recently surfaced in the past year alleging Teifer making inappropriate investments.

According to a BrokerCheck report, in April 2019, two allegations were made against Teifer for making unsuitable recommendations. Both customer disputes were closed by the firm without action being taken.  The first complaint alleges inappropriateness of investments and damages of approximately $19,000 for investments made during 2017-2019. Similarly, as second complaint surfaced for similar allegations alleging damages of approximately $60,000. These complaints appear to relate to mutual fund recommendations made through David Lerner.

Brokers have an obligation to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Brokers should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that brokers must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The broker must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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.

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shutterstock_115937266-300x237Adviser Michael Greenstone (Greenstone), currently employed at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (Merrill Lynch), has been subject to at least nine customer complaints during the course of his career. Eight of the nine complaints against Greenstone allege unsuitability.  In addition, Greenstone recently had nine customer complaints expunged in mass from his record using FINRA’s notoriously flawed expungement process.  According to the PIABA Foundation, 1,078 expungement-only cases have been filed from 2015 to 2018.  The study concluded that “The Finra [expungement] process is being systematically gamed, exploited and abused with one-sided hearings, manipulation of arbitrator selection, deletion of significant customer complaints and abusive (and possibly fraudulent) conduct to such an extent that it must be frozen until it can be repaired.”

According to a BrokerCheck report, there have been two complaints against Greenstone in the past two years alleging him of making unsuitable investment recommendations. The most recent allegation against Greenstone is pending and the customer is seeking $5 million in damages for unsuitable investment recommendations made from 2013 through 2019. Over the course of Greenstone’s career, several customers have accused him of making unsuitable investment recommendations. The aggregate settlement amount for his collective complaints is in excess of $240,000.00. Greenstones two largest reported settlements occurred in 2009 and in 1999. In July 2009, a customer alleged Greenstone placed her in a portfolio that was not suitable for her risk tolerance and age. This matter settled for approximately $114,000.00. Moreover, in July 1999, accused Greenstone of excessive and unsuitable trading. This matter settled for $106,000.00.

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shutterstock_145123405-200x300According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor David Hirons (Hirons), currently employed by Wedbush Securities Inc. (Wedbush Securities), has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one termination for cause during the course of his career.  Hirons’s customer complaints alleges that Hirons recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including equities, futures funds, and options.

In April 2018 Hirons was discharged by RBC Capital Markets, LLC when the firm alleged that he was terminated for violating the firm’s order execution policy.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Hirons violated the securities laws by alleging that Hirons made investments recommendations that the client alleges involved options trading from June 2018 until December 2018 resulted in liquidations and losing funds. The claim alleged $712,080 in damages and settled for $65,000.

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shutterstock_24531604-200x300John Timberlake (Timberlake), a previously registered broker formerly employed at Carter Terry & Company, Inc. (Carter Terry), has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career. His most recent customer complaints allege Timberlake of making unsuitable trading recommendations. Additionally, Timberlake was recently discharged from Cater Terry & Company for violating the firm’s policies.

According to a BrokerCheck report, there have been four complaints against Timberlake in the past 5 years alleging him of making unsuitable recommendations. Collectively, the allegations brought up against Timberlake have settled for over $200,000.00. In October 2019, a customer filed a complaint against Timberlake for unsuitably recommending a speculative investment strategy. This matter settled for $50,000.00. Additionally, In March 2019, a customer alleged that Timberlake failed to make suitable investments, implement a proper investment strategy and properly manage the account. This matter settled in favor of the client for $55,000.00. Similarly, in January 2016, another customer alleged Timberlake of making unsuitable recommendations. Here, the customer settled for over $105,000.00.

Brokers have an obligation to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Brokers should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that brokers must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The broker must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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.

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shutterstock_135103109-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Ryan Wroblewski (Wroblewski), currently employed by Morgan Stanley and formerly registered with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  Wroblewski’s customer complaints alleges that Wroblewski recommended unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, unauthorized use of margin, and breach of fiduciary duty in various investments relating to the handling of client accounts.

In February 2021 a customer complained that Wroblewski violated the securities laws by alleging that Wroblewski made investments recommendations that the client alleges involved misrepresentations with respect to options investments from April 2018 to April 2020. The claim alleges $17,500 in damages and is currently pending.

In February 2021 a customer complained that Wroblewski violated the securities laws by alleging that Wroblewski made investments recommendations that the client alleges involved unsuitable investments, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. The claim is currently pending.

In May 2020 a customer complained that Wroblewski violated the securities laws by alleging that Wroblewski made investments recommendations that the client alleges involved in unsuitable investments and unauthorized use of margin from 2014 through 2016. The claim alleges $985,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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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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