Articles Posted in REITs

shutterstock_113872627-300x300Former Sandlapper Securities, LLC (Sandlapper) and Independent Financial Group, LLC (Independent Financial) broker Kyusun “Kenny” Kim (Kim) has been subject to at least 23 customer complaints and one regulatory action.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In June 2018 FINRA barred Kim from the securities industry after making findings of unsuitable recommendations to numerous senior customers to concentrate their retirement assets and liquid net worth in speculative and illiquid securities.  FINRA found that Kim recommended customers to invest in speculative and illiquid investments that were inconsistent with the customers’ moderate or conservative investment objectives and risk tolerances. FINRA found that these recommendations caused Kim’s customers to have an undue concentration of the customers’ retirement assets and liquid net worth in speculative and illiquid investments. FINRA also found that Kim falsified client information on important forms by entering inaccurate and inflated net worth, liquid net worth, and investment experience figures for certain customers so that they appeared eligible to purchase speculative investments.

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shutterstock_29356093-300x214Former Capital Financial Services, Inc. (Capital Financial) and Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) broker Steven Knuttila (Knuttila) has been subject to at least 25 customer complaints, one employment terminations for cause, and two regulatory actions.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In June 2018 FINRA barred Knuttila from the securities industry after he refused to appear for FINRA on-the-record testimony relating to an investigation into allegations that Knuttila made unsuitable recommendations to customers.  FINRA’s bar comes after a bar by Knuttila’s home State of Minnesota after it alleged that Knuttila sold numerous unsuitable investments to clients.  In addition, in 2012 Knuttila was terminated by Questar for failing to report customer complaints and wrongful use of discretion in client accounts.

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shutterstock_76996033-300x200Former Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera Advisors) advisor Nina Jessee (Jessee) has been subject to at least 21 customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern variable annuities or 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 extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In November 2017, Cetera Advisors allowed Jessee to resign. However, Cetera did disclose that Jessee was found to violate the firm’s policies concerning disclosing outside business activities with the firm prior to engaging in such activities.

Jessee stated that she did not contribute to any of these settlements.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.

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shutterstock_177792281-300x198The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) broker Richard Ginsberg (Ginsberg). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Ginsberg has been subject to two pending customer disputes concerning unsuitable alternative investments.

Most recently, in December 2017, Ginsberg was subject to a customer complaint in which the customer alleged that Ginsberg had placed the customer in unsuitable investments. This dispute is currently still pending.

In addition, in November 2017, a customer alleged that Ginsberg had placed the customer in unsuitable Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). The REITs were unsuitable for the customer in terms of the customer’s investment objectives and risk tolerance. The customer has requested $1,000,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_103079882-300x239Previously, the securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP reported on the decline in value of Healthcare Trust, Inc. a non-traded real estate investment trust (Non-Traded REIT).  However, recent news reveals the health of Healthcare Trust may be in further decline.  A tender offer on Healthcare Trust shares was recently made at only $12.11 per share – a significant loss on the original purchase price of $25.00.  In more bad news for investors, the company lowered its annual distribution rate from $1.45 to $0.85 per share or a cut of over 40%.  Had the company continued to pay the higher dividends those payments would have exceeded the cash flows from operations.

According to the firm’s website, Healthcare Trust is an investment trust which seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of real estate properties focusing primarily on healthcare-related assets including medical office buildings, seniors housing, and other healthcare-related facilities.

Our firm handles where brokers recommend investments in direct participation products (DPPs), private placements, Non-Traded REITs, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for middle class investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments providing perverse incentives for brokers to sell high risk and low reward investments.

shutterstock_186471755-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investor losses in The Parking REIT (formerly known as the MVP REIT II) a non-traded real estate investment trust (Non-Traded REIT). According to the firm’s website, the REIT owns parking lots and claims that Americans own more than 253 million passenger vehicles and that an investment in the REIT provides benefits including, low operating and maintenance costs, potential for long-term capital appreciation, redevelopment opportunities, a fragmented Industry, and heavy demand.

However, the board of The Parking REIT announced that it would be suspending the company’s distributions.  The Board claims that the move is intended to focus on preserving capital in order to maintain sufficient liquidity to continue to operate the business and maintain compliance with debt covenants, including minimum liquidity covenants, and to seek to enhance the value of the company for stockholders through potential future acquisitions.  The elimination of dividends is never a good sign for a REIT.

Because The Parking REIT in non-traded there are no market pricing for the value of the securities. Secondary market sources for non-traded REITs are currently pricing the REIT at $12.17 per share based on a tender offer.  This is a far drop from the sale price of $25 per share when the REIT issued shares to investors.

shutterstock_112866430-300x199Former IFS Securities, Inc. (IFS) and Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (Voya) broker James Flynn (Flynn) has been subject to at least ten customer complaints, two employment terminations for cause, three tax or civil judgment liens, and one bankruptcy proceeding.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In February 2017 Voya discharged Flynn accusing the broker of providing misleading information to the firm during a complaint investigation.  Despite numerous customer complaints and financial troubles IFS hired Flynn anyway only to also discharge him a year later in February 2018.  IFS claims that Flynn was terminated because he executed unauthorized trades.

In addition, Flynn was subject to large tax liens totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In April 2005 Flynn disclosed a tax lien of over $256,000.  Thereafter, Flynn declared bankruptcy in April 2013.  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.

shutterstock_64859686-300x300The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc. (Ausdal Financial) broker Gerald Repasz (Repasz). According to BrokerCheck records, Repasz has been subject to 5 customer disputes, one of which still pending. The majority of these investments concern the unsuitable recommendation of alternative investments.

Most recently, in October 2017, a customer alleged that Repasz placed customers into UDF III, UDF IV, and Behringer Harvard REIT investments which were unsuitable to the customer’s investment objectives. The customer is requesting $62,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In September 2016, a customer alleged that from 2005 to 2010, Repasz placed the customer in alternative investments that were unsuitable for the customer and misrepresented the material facts of the investments. The dispute was settled at $20,000.

shutterstock_172034843-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Next Financial Group Inc. (Next Financial) broker Stephen Williams (Williams). According to BrokerCheck records, Williams has been subject to six customer complaints, one of which is still pending. The majority of these claims involve the misrepresentation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Most recently, in February 2018, a customer alleged that Williams misrepresented the nature  of various non-traded REITs and didn’t properly disclose the high risk associated with private investments. The customer has requested damages of $350,000. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, a customer alleged that Williams recommended the customer to invest $50,000 in United Development Funding III (UDF lll) while misrepresenting and failing to disclose UDF III’s highly risky and illiquid nature.  The customer requested $50,000 for damages.

shutterstock_159036452-257x300Former First Allied Securities, Inc. (First Allied) broker Sean Brady (Brady) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action resulting in a bar from the industry.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In October 2017 First Allied terminated Brady on allegations that he violated the firm’s policies pertaining to client falsification of signature on documents, text messaging, and consolidated account reports.  Thereafter, Brady was subject to a FINRA investigation concerning his sales practices.  FINRA found that Brady failed to provide the regulator with information and documents requested resulting in a automatic industry bar.

The most recent customer complaint alleges Brady misrepresented her net worth, made an unsuitable recommendation, and made misrepresentations and omissions with respect to her investment from 2017 causing $265,000.  The claim is currently pending.