Articles Posted in Securities Attorney

shutterstock_175835072-300x199According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Walter Valenzuela (Valenzuela), currently employed by Hilltop Securities Inc. (Hilltop Securities) has been subject to at least seven customer complaint.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Valenzuela concern excessive trading of unit investment trust (UITs) securities.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Valenzuela engaged in unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentation, and excessive trading involving UITs causing $3 million in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In August 2017 a customer complained of unsuitable recommendations, unsuitable use of margin, churning, financial exploitation, elder abuse and excessive mark-up/mark-down with respect to municipal bond and UIT trades executed in the account.  The complaint also alleged that the representative failed to obtain proper breakpoint discounts for UIT purchases. The customer alleges $9.5 million in damages and the claim is currently pending

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shutterstock_1081038-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Clifton Roberts (Roberts), formerly associated with LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) in Houston, Texas was terminated for cause by LPL Financial in April 2018 after the firm made allegations that Roberts violated of firm policy regarding outside business activities (OBAs).

At this time it is unclear the nature or scope of the alleged OBAs that Roberts was involved in.  According to Roberts’ public diclsoures the broker was part of number of OBAs including IDLife, Ursus Wealth Management – a d/b/a entity for his LPL Financial business, Ursus and Company – a real estate management and construction company which Roberts claims is not investment related.  In addition, an unnamed business for insurance is listed.  It is unknown whether LPL’s claims relate to any of these entities.

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shutterstock_62862913-259x300The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) broker Peter Malis (Malis). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). According to BrokerCheck Records, Malis has been subject to five customer disputes, the majority concerning unsuitable investments in mutual funds, municipal bonds, and limited partnerships.

Most recently, in December 2017, a customer alleged that from February 2006 to December 2016, Malis placed the customer in unsuitable investments and executed trades in the account without the customer’s consent.

In September 2016, a customer alleged that from March 2002 to January 2016, Malis placed the customer in unsuitable investments and engaged in unauthorized trades and churning of the account. The case was settled at $1,100,000.

In May 1995, a customer alleged that Malis placed the customer in unsuitable mutual funds and limited partnerships. The case was settled at $12,500.

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shutterstock_36343294-300x225The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) broker Richard Fortune (Fortune). According to BrokerCheck Records, Fortune has been subject to 6 customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the false representation of variable annuities.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from February 2015 to October 2015, Fortune did not disclose all possible options regarding withdrawing variable annuity investments.

In September 2015, a customer alleged that in December 2014, Fortune falsely represented the nature of variable annuities which he placed the customer in.

shutterstock_85873471-300x200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) broker Walter Stucker (Stucker). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), Stucker has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the false representation and unsuitable recommendation of securities in the energy sector and oil and gas limited partnerships.

In April 2018, a customer alleged that from 2011 to 2017, Stucker falsely represented the nature of sector securities to the customer by omitting the risks associated with the securities. The customer also alleged that Stucker unsuitably over-concentrated the customer’s funds into these investments. The customer has requested $600,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2017, a customer alleged that from July 2011 to December 2017, Stucker misrepresented the risky and volatile nature of oil and gas limited partnerships to the customer and unsuitably over-concentrated the customer into these investments.  The customer requested $632,907 in damages.

shutterstock_151894877-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Paul Dangelo (Dangelo). According to BrokerCheck Records, Dangelo has been subject to six customer disputes, the majority concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investment recommendations in Puerto Rico bonds.   In addition, Dangelo has been subject to termination from two firms of employment.

In January 2017, a customer alleged that from March 2005 to January 2017, Dangelo placed the customer in high-risk, uninsured Puerto Rico bonds that were unsuitable for the customer’s investment needs and objectives considering the customers old age of 70 years old and retiree status.

In addition, in September 2016, a customer alleged that from March 2005 to February 2015, Dangelo placed the customer in unsuitable bonds that did not match the customer’s objectives of safe, passive income investments.

shutterstock_836360-300x225The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investor losses in FS Energy & Power Fund a business development company (BDC).  According to the firm’s website, FS Energy is designed to provide income and growth. It invests primarily in the debt and, to a lesser extent, equity securities of private U.S. energy and power companies.

Because FS Energy in non-traded product there are no market pricing for the value of the securities. Secondary market sources for BDCs are currently pricing the BDC at $5.12 per share based on a tender offer.  This is a far drop from the sale price of $10 per share when the BDC issued shares to investors.

Our firm often handles cases involving 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_182054030-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against First Allied Securities, Inc. (First Allied) broker Mark Chamberlain (Chamberlain).  According to BrokerCheck records, Chamberlain has been subject to seven customer complaints and one regulatory action.  The majority of the complaints concern alternative investments and annuities.

Most recently, in May 2015, a customer alleged that Chamberlain engaged in unsuitable investments requesting $29,700 in damages.

In May 2012, a customer alleged that from October 2009 to May 2011, Chamberlain engaged in breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, and unauthorized transactions. This dispute settled for $13,000.

shutterstock_136504499Gana Weinstein LLP is investigating the LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (Ticker Symbols LJMAZ, LJMCX, LIMIX). The LJM Funds relied extensively on a strategy that is designed to profit from calm markets. The LJM Preservation and Growth Funds collapsed and lost more than 80% of its value as a result of last week’s market volatility. The combonation of LJMAZ, LJMCX and LIMIX at one point collectively held over $800 million in assets CNC reached out to Chicago-based LJM Partners, Inc. – the funds managers, and no comment was made.

According to its annual report to shareholders, LJM explained that it options “to deliver solid returns while maintaining risk parameters.” LJM also suggested that it used techniques to mitigate losses in extreme market conditions. The fund was designed to take advantage of the spread between realized and implied volatility. According to CNBC, “LJM Preservation and Growth Fund had been run by Anthony Caine, a veteran of the 1990s technology boom who later founded LJM, and Anish Parvataneni, a former trader for well-known investor Ken Griffin’s Citadel.”

According to reports, LJM was infused with almost $400 million in new capital in 2017 alone.

Gana Weinstein LLP represented 19 Claimants in a FINRA arbitration against Anthony Diaz. A panel of arbitrators awarded the Claimants over $4 million. The case was picked up by major publications including the Washington Post and InvestmentNews. Adam Gana, managing partner of Gana Weinstein LLP said his clients “gave their life savings to [Diaz], and he was just a predator who was looking out for his own best interest and not the best interest at my clients.” Gana said he will go after Diaz’s assets and earnings in an attempt to recover the judgment. “We will fight tooth and nail to get these people their money,” he said. “This is not money that our clients can afford to lose.”

Gana Weinstein LLP is a full service law firm that specialized in Securities Arbitration. The firm tenaciously defends investors and aggressively pursues brokerage firms for misconduct.