Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.