Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

shutterstock_132704474-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Michael Burkoff (Burkoff), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Burkoff’s one of customer complaints alleges that Burkoff recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such structured products among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Burkoff violated the securities laws by alleging that Burkoff engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitable trading and breach of fiduciary duty relating to the sale of structured products. The claim alleges $150,000 and is currently pending.

In August 2015 a customer complained that Burkoff violated the securities laws by alleging that Burkoff engaged in sales practice violations related to poor advice. The claim was denied by the firm.

Structured products range in risk from benign to extreme.  However, most structured products produce inferior risk/return profiles than ordinary debt or equity instruments because the brokerage firms that issue these products seek to profit from the spread between the payment to investors and the amount of money the brokerage firm can make from the issuance.  When dealing with some of the more complex structured products most investors will lack the ability to understand the merits of investments nor are many structured products appropriate for investors seeking a fixed or reliable income and preservation of capital.

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shutterstock_39128059-300x174Advisor Gary Barth (Barth), currently employed by Ameritas Investment Company, LLC (Ameritas) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one customer complaint concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In November 2019 a customer complained that Barth violated the securities laws by alleging that Robare engaged in sales practice violations related to an misrepresentation in the sale of REITs. The claim alleges $600,000 and is currently pending.

According to BrokerCheck, Barth operates through several d/b/a entities including Barth Financial Wealth Management Group and Barth Financial.  Barth also engages in other businesses including Kaufmann Building LLC, BAB Properties LLC, and Kearney Hub among other business related disclosures.

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shutterstock_168478292-300x222According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Robert Radli Jr. (Radli), currently employed by Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James), has been subject to at two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Radli has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

In March 2020 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Radli violated the securities laws including by engaging in unsuitable investments which resulted in losses from a sector concentration from June 2011 through February 2020 and causing $800,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2020 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Radli violated the securities laws including by engaging in unsuitable investments from June 2011 concerning oil & gas investments causing $600,000 in damages.  The claim is was denied by the firm.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Rick Davidson (Davidson), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one bankruptcy during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Davidson’s customer complaints alleges that Davidson recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such structured products and corporate debt among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2016 Davidson was terminated by Morgan Stanley on allegations relating to registered representative’s exercise of discretion in clients’ accounts as well as receipt of a loan from a Morgan Stanley employee.

Thereafter, in May 2019 Davidson declared bankruptcy.

The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing investors who were surprised to find out that the “bonds” that were recommended by their advisors have almost completely stopped paying interest while plummeting in value.  What many investors in this situation did not realize was that they were not sold bonds at all but instead complex structured products that go by a variety of names including steepener notes, adjustable rate market notes, spread linked notes, or structured notes.  Regulators have already stated that it is imporoper to sell these investments as a fixed income substitute or to compare them to bonds in terms of producing a revenue stream.  However, in our firm’s experience it appears that many brokers have been selling structured products as bond alternatives.

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shutterstock_186555158-300x200Advisor Gene Esplin (Esplin), formerly employed by Kalos Capital, Inc. (Kalos) and Triad Advisors, Inc. (Triad Advisors) has been subject to at least one customer complaint during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaint concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Esplin violated the securities laws by alleging that Esplin engaged in sales practice violations related to allegations that alternative investments purchased at Triad during the Representative’s association with respondent Triad and thereafter during the Representative’s association with respondent Kalos Capital were unsuitable.  The claim alleges $1,000,000 and is currently pending.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do.  Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_140186524-300x298Due to recent market decline and volatility, the investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP have been contacted by a number of investors who hold non-purpose loans secured by their brokerage accounts.  Due to market movements, investment losses have jeopardized their ability to repay the loan. In other situations advisors have been slow to reach out to clients in order to take steps to either voluntarily sell assets or increase their collateral to protect their accounts.

In recent years all the major wire houses have become involved in selling their wealthier clients on securities-backed lines of credit (SBLOCs). These loans that are often marketed by brokerage firms to investors as an easy way to cash out your securities accounts by borrowing against the assets in your portfolio without actually having to liquidate securities.  The concept is conceptually similar to margin but the loan is issued by a bank and held in a different account then the investments.

These lines of credit allow investors to borrow money using securities held in the investment accounts as collateral and allow the investor to continue to trade securities in the pledged accounts. An SBLOC requires typically requires monthly interest-only payments until repaid. Thus, when an investor losses a significant amount of their portfolio the investor has made very little progress in repaying the loan and may have few to no options to pay the loan back.

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shutterstock_1832893-226x300Advisor Timothy Touloukian (Touloukian), currently employed by Paulson Investment Company LLC (Paulson Investment), has been subject to at least four customer complaints, two employment terminations for cause, four regulatory actions, and two judgement or tax liens during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk products.

In 2011 Touloukian was terminated by Advanced Equities, Inc. – a firm that was itself expelled from the securities industry over its sales practices – for selling a private equity investment to a non-qualified investors.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Touloukian violated the securities laws by alleging that Touloukian engaged in sales practice violations related mading material misrepresentations concerning an investment in a private placement. The claim alleges $500,000 and is currently pending.

In January 2020 another customer complained that Touloukian violated the securities laws by alleging that Touloukian engaged in sales practice violations related mading material misrepresentations concerning an investment in a private placement. The claim alleges $200,000 and is currently pending.

Private placement offerings are among the most speculative and costly investment products offered to retail investors.  While the size of the private placement market is unknown, according to 2008 estimates, companies issued approximately $609 billion of securities through Regulation D offerings. Private placements allow many small companies to efficiently raise capital.  However, regulators continue to find significant problems in the due diligence and sales efforts of some brokerage firms when selling private placements to investors. These problems include fraud, misrepresentations and omissions in sales materials and offering documents, conflicts of interest, and suitability abuses.

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shutterstock_29356093-300x214The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Jeffrey McHale (McHale), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC (Ameriprise) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), McHale’s customer complaints alleges that McHale recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations of concentrations in biotech stocks and low cap stocks among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In December 2019 a customer complained that McHale violated the securities laws by alleging that McHale made investments recommendations in unsuitable investments including pharmaceutical and biotech stocks while at Ameriprise from 2015 through 2019. The investors also allege that their accounts were overconcentrated and certain transactions were marked unsolicited despite being recommended by respondent advisor. The claim alleges $655,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In December 2018 a customer complained that McHale violated the securities laws by alleging that McHale made investments recommendations in unsuitable investments.  The investors allege that respondent recommended a high concentration of equity securities, did not recommend bonds and instead recommended low priced low market cap securities.  The claim alleges $180,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_140321293-200x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Murray Roark (Roark), currently employed by B. Riley Wealth Management (B. Riley Wealth), has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Roark has been accused by multiple customers of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including energy related investments like master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

In May 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Roark violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, from June 2013 to April 2017 the broker engaged in breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, negligent supervision, unsuitable recommendations and concentration in the energy sector. The claim alleges $300,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In February 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Roark violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, that there was a lack of diversification, over concentration, and misrepresentation. The dates of alleged activities are October 2014 through December 2015.  The claim alleges $303,950 and was settled for $275,000.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

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shutterstock_132317306-300x200Advisor Timothy Vanlohuizen (Vanlohuizen), currently employed by SagePoint Financial, Inc. (SagePoint Financial) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concern alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In February 2020 a customer complained that Vanlohuizen violated the securities laws by alleging that Vanlohuizen engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending unsuitable investments. The claim seeks $100,000 and is currently pending.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Vanlohuizen violated the securities laws by alleging that Vanlohuizen engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending negligence, unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty related to oil and gas investments and precious metals. The claim seeks $350,000 and is currently pending.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments. Continue Reading

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