Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

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

shutterstock_85873471-300x200Advisor Peter Maller (Maller), currently employed by Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (Lincoln Financial) has been subject to at least three 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) and annuities.  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 August 2019 a customer complained that Maller violated the securities laws by alleging that Maller engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending a client to invest her life savings in an unsuitable and deceptive manner, specifically concentrating her assets in annuities and illiquid, non-publicly traded investments. The claim is currently pending.

In April 2019 a customer complained that Maller violated the securities laws by alleging that Maller engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending an investment strategy in 2013 that failed to account for tax liabilities and recommended unsuitable investments. The claim is currently pending and seeks $350,394 in damages.

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_157506896-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Stuart Godin (Godin), currently employed by Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) has been subject to at least eight customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Godin’s customer complaints alleges that Godin recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such as promissory notes, managed commodities, and other investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Godin violated the securities laws by alleging that Godin made misrepresentation and incompetence on stock selections from 2018 to 2019. The claim alleged $35,000 in damages and settled for $9,000.

In November 2017 a customer complained that Godin violated the securities laws by alleging that Godin caused losses due to the financial advisor’s unsuitable recommendation to invest in a managed futures fund from November 2012 through 2016.  The claim alleged $50,000 in damages and settled for $20,000.

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shutterstock_103476707-300x212Advisor William Sines (Sines), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) has been subject to at least four 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, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Sines violated the securities laws by alleging that Sines pressured her into liquidating an annuity which cost her thousands of dollars in surrender penalties and lost interest credit in order to invest her into a REIT which she feels was an inappropriate investment.  The claim alleged $38,651 in damages and was closed.

In November 2017 a customer complained that Sines violated the securities laws by alleging that Sines recommended unsuitable investments.  The claim settled for $19,737.

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.

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shutterstock_129923876-300x239Advisor Kenneth Guerra (Guerra), currently employed by Independent Financial Group, LLC (Independent Financial) has been subject to at least two customer complaints, one financial disclosure, and one regulatory violation 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, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Guerra violated the securities laws by alleging that Guerra engaged in sales practice violations related investments in high-risk alternative investments, resulting in a loss of some of their retirement assets. The claim alleges $100,000 in damages and settled for $25,000.

In March 2013 a customer complained that Guerra violated the securities laws by alleging that Guerra engaged in sales practice violations related to non-traded REITs purchased in 2007 through 2008 that were misrepresented and unsuitable. The claim alleges $80,000 in damages and settled for $60,000.

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