Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

shutterstock_92699377-300x285According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Michael Pepe (Pepe), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) has been subject to six customer complaints, one criminal matter, and one tax lien in his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Pepe concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In August 2018, Pepe disclosed a tax lien of $34,439.  This information has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider.  In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Pepe engaged in unauthorized trading in unsuitable securities. It was further alleged that had he been suitably invested, he would have generated a profit of approximately $750,000 under a well-managed portfolio damages analysis.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor Charles Doraine (Doraine), currently employed by Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial) has been subject to at least six customer complaints and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Doraine concern allegations of unsuitable investments in Puerto Rican bonds and mutual funds.

In September 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that during the period 2012 through 2015, Doraine excessively traded bonds and mutual funds and recommended an unsuitable concentration in Puerto Rican bonds causing $10,000,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that from October 2012 through 2017, Doraine made in and out mutual fund trades that were unsuitable for a low risk tolerance account.  The customer alleged $2,500,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_26813263-300x199According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor Thomas Kelley (Kelley), currently employed by Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis) has been subject to an astonishing 19 customer complaints in his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Kelley concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In November 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $500,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in misrepresentations, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $230,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

In August 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $750,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_15963142-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Clarence McGill (McGill), formerly registered with GWN Securities Inc. (GWN Securities) has been been sanctioned and barred by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  According to FINRA, McGill consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings because he refused to produce information FINRA requested in connection with its investigation of his possible participation in the unsuitable recommendations of investment products to customers.  FINRA’s statement does not include a description of how many customers were involved in the investigation or the types of products and services under inquiry.

According to McGill’s records and public disclosures he is listed as the director and president of The McGill Group which engages in insurance sales and appears to be a d/b/a for the broker.

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shutterstock_190371500-300x200Advisor Andrew Scheirer (Scheirer), currently employed by Kovack Securities, Inc. (Kovack Securities) has been subject to at least four 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 December 2014, Scheirer’s former employer First Allied Securities Inc. (First Allied) terminated Scheirer alleging that he did not follow the firm’s procedures concerning an arbitration that had been filed by a customer.

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investment recommendations, misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.  The claim alleged $100,001 in damages and settled for $40,000.

In March 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that in approximately 2007 the broker recommended various unsuitable private equity products. The claim alleged breach of contract, material omission, fraud, unsuitability, control person liability, and failure to supervise.  The claim alleged $200,000 in damages and settled for $30,000.

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shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor George Puliafico (Puliafico), employed by Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James), has been subject to one customer complaint.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Puliafico has been accused by a customer 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.

The claim was filed in April 2018 and alleges breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision, and breach of contract.  The customer claimed $2,000,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

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_12144202-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Robert Cavanagh (Cavanagh), currently employed by David Lerner Associates, Inc. (David Lerner) has been subject to at least five customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Cavanagh concern allegations of unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Cavanagh engaged in unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, breached his fiduciary duty, was negligent, and committed fraud in connection with Puerto Rico and Rochester Bond Fund.  The customer alleged $100,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In July 2017 a customer alleged unsuitable investments and misrepresentations and omissions of information causing $160,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_190371500-300x200Former Thurston Springer Financial (Thurston Springer) advisor Donald Woods (Woods) has been subject to at least five customer complaints and one bankruptcy.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern variable annuities or 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 August 2018 Woods filed for bankruptcy.  A broker’s inability to manage their own finances is material information to investors in considering whether or not to use that person for financial advice.  In addition, financial distress may cause an advisor to have a conflict of interest and recommend investments for their own profit rather than their client’s best interests.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2018 excessive selling of variable annuities, misrepresentations, and failing to disclose material facts.  The complaint alleges $153,554 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_71240-300x183According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Cindy Chiellini (Chiellini), currently employed by Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus Financial) has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Chiellini’s customer complaints allege that Barber made unsuitable recommendations in certain corporate debt or other securities.

In August 2018 a customer alleged that investments in their account had less liquidity than they originally instructed the broker they desired resulting in a loss of principal.  The complaint alleges $175,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that investments presented and executed by the broker were not suitable.  The claim alleges $5,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_145368937-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Suhail Khan (Khan), formerly associated with LPL Financial, LLC. (LPL Financial) in Chicago, Illinois was barred by FINRA.  In August 2017 Khan failed to respond to requests by FINRA for documents and information.

Thereafter, in May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that between 2013 and 2017, the advisor recommended unsuitable, speculative investments in the advisor’s own business, a hedge fund, oil and gas partnerships, and a real estate investment trust and that some of these investments were unregistered securities.

At this time it is unclear the nature or scope of the alleged OBAs and/or private securities transactions that Khan may have been involved in.  Khan’s disclosures state a number of OBAs including Omni Casualty and Property Insurance and SK Associates Financial.

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