Articles Posted in Securities Attorney

shutterstock_177577832-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Gregory Williams (Williams), currently employed by Presidential Brokerage, Inc. (Presidential Brokerage) has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Williams’ customer complaints allege that Williams made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments.

In June 2018 a customer complained that Williams violated the securities laws by engaging in unsuitable investments and making misrepresentations.  The customer alleges $151,337 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer complained that Williams violated the securities laws by engaging in unsuitable investments, making misrepresentations, making unauthorized transfers, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty from May 2012 through March 2018.  The customer alleges $1,200,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_182371613-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Mitchell Rock (Rock), currently employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) has been subject to nine customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Rock’s customer complaints allege that Rock made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments structured products.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by telling the cliet that the accounts were subject to a certain rate for fees and commissions that were not correct and that his accounts were charged more than the rate that was told to him.  The customer alleges $500,000 in damages.  The claim was denied by the firm.

In November 2012 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by making an investment that the broker represented would make a profit.  The claim was denied by the firm.

In September 2012 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by making unsuitable investments in structured products causing $175,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $61,000.

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shutterstock_168737270-300x168According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Barbara Ralston (Ralston), currently employed by Kovack Securities Inc. (Kovack Securities) has been subject to at least eight customer complaints and one bankruptcy discharge during her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Ralston concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In October 2018 a customer complained that Ralston recommended investments that violated the securities laws from 2008 through 2016 by making unsuitable investments and failed to supervise the sale of securities in their accounts.  The complaint is currently pending.

In April 2010 Ralston declared bankruptcy.

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shutterstock_85873471-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Russell Blum (Blum), currently employed by International Assets Advisory, LLC (International Assets) has been subject to two customer complaints, one tax lien, and one employment termination for cause during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Blum concern allegations of unsuitable investments and allegations of overconcentration.

In August 2018 Blum was terminated by SunTrust Investment Services over allegations that the representative did not follow firm procedure regarding updates to his Investment Advisor brochure supplement.

In May 2017, Blum disclosed a tax lien of $99,000 with the IRS.  The fact that a broker cannot manage his own personal finances is material information for a client to consider.  In addition, an advisor with poor personal finances may be incentivized to sell unsuitable or high commission products that may be recommended to generate high profits for the advisor at the expense of the client.

In May 2016, a customer complained that Blum recommended investments that caused over $1.3 million in damages.  The claim was denied.

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shutterstock_168326705-199x300According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor Charles Bloom (Bloom), formerly employed by Chelsea Financial Services (Chelsea Financial) has been subject to at least two customer complaints.  In addition, Bloom has been subject to three regulatory actions, one employment termination for cause, and two financial disclosures including a bankruptcy filing.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Bloom concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In July 2018 Bloom consented to a FINRA sanction and findings that he refused to appear for testimony in connection with an investigation into allegations that Bloom engaged in an unsuitable pattern of trading in at least three customer accounts.  Bloom accepted a bar from the securities industry.

In November 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Bloom engaged in unsuitable recommendations and made misrepresentation with regard to a REIT purchase.  The customer alleged $99,326 and the claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_157018310-300x200According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor James Kujawski (Kujawski), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise Financial) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Kujawski concern allegations of unsuitable investments and material misrepresentations concerning investments being recommended.

In February 2018 Kujawski was terminated by UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) after the firm claimed that Kujawski’s continued failure to disclose some of his outside business activities/outside business investments was in violation of firm policies.

Thereafter, in August 2018 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Kujawski which Kujawski consented to the findings that he engaged in a private securities transaction by facilitating the repurchase of a call option between two individuals, neither of whom were customers at his member firm.  FINRA found that Kujawski’s participation included the repurchase of the option by introducing a commercial lender to participate in the transaction, attending meetings with the parties, reviewing draft sale contracts and providing comments, and accepting $73,444.90 in compensation for his participation. Kujawski was suspended for four months and agreed to pay financial penalties.

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shutterstock_183554579-300x200Presidential Brokerage, Inc. (Presidential Brokerage) advisor Jason McBride (McBride) has been subject to at least five customer complaints.  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 May 2018 a client alleged that McBride made unsuitable investments, breached his fiduciary duty, was negligent, and made misrepresentations in the purchase of two REITs and a limited partnership between February 2006 and august 2008.  The complaint claims $251,317 in damages and is currently pending.

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_160486019-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Eric Stuckey (Stuckey), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) has been subject to five customer complaints and two liens.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of a Stuckey’s customer complaints allege that Stuckey made unsuitable recommendations in different investments including variable annuities and energy stocks.

In May 2018 a customer alleged the broker recommended unsuitable investments, misrepresented features of the investments and failed to disclose risks in the investments causing $220,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2018 a customer alleged that the broker placed them in high risk funds which are not suitable causing $79,000 in damages.  The claim was settled for $25,000.

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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