Articles Posted in Investment Lawyer

shutterstock_152933045-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating broker Marc Korsch (Korsch), currently associated with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus Financial) out of Sarasota, Florida and Port Charlotte, Florida.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Korsch has been subject to at least three customer disputes, one financial disclosure, and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Korsch concern allegations of unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentations.

In June 2019 a customer alleged that from August 2014 through May 2019, Korsch misrepresented the features of real estate securities and provided misleading information causing $53,000 in damages.  This dispute is currently pending.

In April 2018 a customer alleged that Korsch made an unsuitable recommendation of annuity switches.  The claim alleged $55,000 in damages and settled for $8,000.

In February 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Korsch and his previous member firm, Trustmont Financial Group, Inc. (Trustmont Financial), violated the securities laws by, among other things, engaging in common law fraud, unsuitable investments, failure to supervise, and misrepresentations causing $500,000 in damages.  The FINRA arbitration panel ordered Trustmont Financial to pay the customer $848,002 in compensatory damages, $100,000 in punitive damages, $15,596 in costs, and $82,500 in attorneys fees.

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shutterstock_7947664-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against advisor Lloyd Johnston (Johnston).  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Johnston, formerly registered with Capital Financial Services, Inc. (Capital Financial) out of Spokane, Washington was barred from the financial industry.  According to a BrokerCheck report,  Johnston has been subject to at least two customer complaints, four regulatory actions, two investigations, one bankruptcy disclosure, one termination, and 15 tax liens.  Johnston’s customer complaints allege that Johnston engaged in unsuitable sales of alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have handed many cases with these types of investments causing investor losses.

In September 2018 Johnston failed to disclose or timely disclose tax liens with a balance exceeding $1,000,000 and violated the terms of a Conditional Registration Order, which resulted in the revocation of his license.  Large tax liens on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.

In May 2018 Johnston failed to respond to FINRA’s request for information and was suspended indefinitely.

In May 2018 a customer alleged that Johnston’s sales of alternative investments were unsuitable to the customer’s investment needs.  The exact amount of damages cannot be determined.  The claim settled for $35,000.

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shutterstock_154554782-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are reporting on advisor Thomas Gerard Murray (Murray) currently employed by FSC Securities Corporation (FSC Securities) out of Hartsdale, New York.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Murray has been subject to at least one customer dispute and one bankruptcy cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Murray’s customer complaint concerns allegations of unsuitable investments.

In February 2018 a customer alleged that Murray engaged in unsuitable investments of oil & gas programs causing $210,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $48,000.

In March 2012 Murray declared bankruptcy.  Information on financial matters such as bankruptcies and tax liens has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider.  In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.

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shutterstock_102217105-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Busco (Busco), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw) and previously with Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least 11 customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Busco’s customer complaints allege that Busco recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in alternative investments from 2009 through 2018 causing damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In April 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac causing $120,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $40,000.

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shutterstock_113632177-300x249According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Peter Goffin (Goffin), currently employed by Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge Securities) has been subject to at least nine customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Goffin’s customer complaints allege that Goffin recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Goffin violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Goffin breached his fiduciary duty and was negligent in the sale of alternative investments causing $150,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2012 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Goffin violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Goffin made unsuitable investments in a variable annuity causing $30,000 in damages.  The claim was denied.

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shutterstock_103681238-300x300Advisor Keith Kelt (Kelt), currently employed by Kovack Securities Inc. (Kovack Securities) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

Kelt operates under the d/b/a name TKG Financial, LLC in Santa Barbara, California.  In addition, Kelt has several other disclosed outside business activities including The Kelt Inc. and Kelt Osborne & Co.

In October 2018 a customer complained that Kelt violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor from 2008 until 2016 made unsuitable investments and failed to supervise related to the sale of securities in their accounts. The claim is currently pending.

In September 2017 a customer complained that Kelt violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor made unsuitable investments and was unhappy with her purchase of Hospitality Investors Trust REIT causing $30,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $17,040.

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shutterstock_52426963-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor William Hobby (Hobby), formerly employed by UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) has been subject to an astonishing 23 customer complaints and one employment termination for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Hobby’s customer complaints allege that Hobby recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In September 2018 UBS discharged Hobby claiming that the firm’s review found that he exercised discretion in client account without written authorization, failed to escalate same client’s complaint, and worked against firm’s interests by assisting that client in efforts to procure settlement from firm.

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Hobby violated the securities laws by, among other things, from August 2016 to October 2018 that due to her age she should not have been labeled as an aggressive investor and suffered losses she could not afford. The alleged damages are estimated to be in excess of $5,000 and settled for $24,000.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Brian Thomas (Thomas), currently employed by Harbor Financial Services, LLC (Harbor Financial) has been subject to at least six customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Thomas’ customer complaints allege that Thomas recommended unsuitable investments and securities among other allegations.

In July 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Thomas violated the securities laws by, among other things, made unsuitable investments, excessive and unauthorized trading resulting in damages from April 2015 through March 2017. The claim settled for $15,000.

In September 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Thomas violated the securities laws by, among other things, breaching his fiduciary duty, negligence, and breach of contract from 1996 through November 2011.  The claim alleged $100,000 in damages and resulted in a settlement of $75,000.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Neely (Neely), currently employed by St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc. (St. Bernard Financial) has been subject to at least one customer complaint, three regulatory actions, and one employment termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Neely has been accused by FINRA of engaging in unauthorized trading in client accounts.

In November 2018 FINRA settled a regulatory action against Neely stating that Neely consented to sanctions and findings that he exercised discretion in effecting hundreds of transactions in two customers’ brokerage accounts without obtaining written approval from the customers to do so. FINRA also found that the customers verbally authorized Neely to exercise discretion in their accounts but that Neely never sought his firm’s approval to service either customer’s accounts on a discretionary basis. In addition, according to FINRA Neely’s firm prohibited the use of discretion in brokerage accounts altogether.

In September 2018 Neely’s then employer Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) terminated Neely stating that he failed to respond to an inquiry from the compliance department.

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shutterstock_175137287-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Stan Leavitt (Leavitt), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) has been subject to at least two customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Leavitt’s customer complaints allege that Leavitt made unsuitable recommendations and made misrepresentations.

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Leavitt violated the securities laws including misrepresentations and unsuitable investments from April 2015 until June 2017 in options causing $550,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In July 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Leavitt violated the securities laws including misrepresentations from December 2015 until June 2017 in a variable annuity product causing $31,015 in damages.  The claim settled.

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