Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

shutterstock_157506896-300x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Richard Minichino (Minichino). According to BrokerCheck Records, Minichino has been subject to a pending customer dispute concerning roll-over annuities. In addition, Minichino has been subject to 4 tax liens and termination from employment at Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial).

In April 2018, a customer alleged that Minichino unsuitably recommended the customer to roll over IRA annuities into other investments multiple times. The customer is requested $70,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, Minichino was terminated from Net Financial for trading customer’s accounts in an unsuitable manner that did not match with the investor’s needs or objectives.

Furthermore, Minichino has been subject to four tax liens within the past two years. In November 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of $44,390.10. In August 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of $7,469. In May 2017, Minichino was subject to a tax lien of 6,402. In February 2017, Minichino was subject to $28,430.92.  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. Continue Reading

shutterstock_71240-300x183According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Andrew Costa (Costa), currently employed by Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (Madison Securities) has been subject to five customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of a Costa’s customer complaints allege that Costa made unsuitable recommendations in real estate and note securities.  Costa also discloses his business activities with Global Wealth Management, Costa Capital, Costa Marketing, and Global 1031 Exchange.

In June 2018 a customer made allegations that in 2016 that they purchased the product at issue through a different individual and not Costa. The claim alleged $696,500 in damages and is currently pending.

In May 2018 another customer made allegations similar allegations and the firm claims that Claimants have also alleged that respondents assisted in representing to the public that the non-associated individual was affiliated with respondents in an attempt to make respondents responsible for actions of a non-associated individual.  The claim alleged $150,000 in damages and is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_108591-300x199According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Jack Owens (Owens) left his employer Gradient Securities, LLC (Gradient Securities) in June 2018 on the heels of numerous customer complaints and regulatory sanctions.  BrokerCheck shows that Owens operates his business through a d/b/a Premier Financial Resources and Premier Financial Solutions.  Owens has been subject to six customer complaints surrounding Owens’ sales of variable annuities.  Owens has also been subject to four regulatory actions.  The most recent regulatory action in January 2013 by the State of Florida accused Owens advised a senior investor to exchange a variable annuity for another product that was not suitable.

The most recent customer complaint in April 2018 states that there were discrepancies between what Owens told the customer about a variable annuity at the time of the sale and what the product actually was.  The complaint was denied by the firm.

Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_85873471-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Osbert Haynes (Haynes), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw), has been subject to two customer complaints, one regulatory action, and six tax liens or judgments.  Most of a Haynes’ customer complaints allege that Haynes made unsuitable recommendations.

In addition, Haynes is subject to large tax liens and civil judgments totaling tens of thousands of dollars.  In September 2014 Haynes disclosed a civil judgment of over $19,000.  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 August 2017 a customer made allegations unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trading from 2011 to 2012. The claim alleged $163,886 in damages and is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_25054879-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Coastal Equities, Inc. (Coastal Equities) broker Andrew Pravlik (Pravlik). According to BrokerCheck records, Pravlik has been subject to a regulatory matter in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Pravlik for various violations of the securities laws. In 2009, Pravlik falsely labeled 30 redemption requests as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) when he entered them into the firm’s mutual fund system. By doing so, he prevented a deferred sales charge that would have applied to the redemptions, and falsified the firms records.  In May 2010, Pravlik was fined $5,000 and suspended for 90 days.

In addition, Pravlik also been subject to two customer complaints concerning unsuitable risky investments, one of which is still pending

In October 2017, customers alleged that Pravlik placed them in unsuitable investments that did not match with their investment portfolio. The customer has requested damages of $175,000. This dispute is still pending.

In September 2013, a customer alleged that Pravlik placed the customer in high-risk variable annuities which were unsuitable to the customer’s investment portfolio.

Pravlik has also been discharged from two firms of employment. In February 2009  Pravlik was discharged from Hefren-Tilotson, Inc. for failing to comply with industry standards. In November 2017, Pravlik was discharged from Prospera Financial Services for violating the firm policy to send written correspondence. Continue Reading

shutterstock_128856874-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating The O.N. Equity Sales Company (O.N. Equity Sales) broker Dennis Travis (Travis). According to BrokerCheck records, Travis has been subject to 6 customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these customer disputes involve the unsuitable recommendations of variable annuities. In addition, Travis has been subject to a regulatory action by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which FINRA sanctioned Travis for various violations of the securities laws.

In November 2017, a customer alleged that Travis placed customer into a variable universal life (VUL) insurance policy that was unsuitable to customer investment needs. The customer has alleged $57,643.65 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In addition, in November 2011, FINRA found that Travis placed discretionary trades in the subaccounts of his customers’ variable annuities without the written authorization or knowledge of his customers or his member firm. Travis did this in an attempt to “balance” the allocation of investments. Without admitting or denying the findings, Travis consented to the described sanctions and entry findings. He was fined $5,000 and suspended on December 2011 for 10 days. Continue Reading

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.

shutterstock_66745735-300x200The securities lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a customer complaint against Morgan Stanley broker Theodore Crowley (Crowley).

According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Theordore Crowley (Crowley) has been subject to a customer complaint.

In June 2012, a customer alleged that from 2008 through 2011, he was charged excessive markups and markdown on the purchase and sale of municipal bonds by Crowley. This dispute settled for $465,000.

In April 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a tax lien against Crowley for $611,984.42.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_77335852-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Joseph Cotter (Cotter) has been subject to two customer complaints, two employment terminations for cause, and one regulatory action.  Cotter was formerly registered with Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial).  In March 2016 Next Financial terminated Cotter claiming that the firm conducted an internal review of the trading activity in a customer’s accounts and found the level of trading activity to be excessive (excessive trading) in light of the customer’s profile and the character of the account.

Thereafter, FINRA investigated Cotter and found that Cotter engaged in excessive, unsuitable trading in the accounts of one customer. FINRA found that Cotter exercised de facto control over an IRA account and a second account of a customer.  FINRA determined that Cotter used this control to excessively trade the accounts in a manner that was inconsistent with the customer’s investment objectives, financial situation, and needs.  The trading generated commissions of $100,549 while the client lost $391,893.

Continue Reading