Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

shutterstock_188631644-300x225As we have previously reported, according to BrokerCheck records financial advisor William Byrd (Byrd) had several customer complaints filed against him in connection with his management of client accounts.  Byrd is currently employed by B.B. Graham & Company, Inc. (BB Graham) and now been subject to at least five customer complaints and one civil lien for $47,782.23.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Byrd’s customer complaints allege that Byrd recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Byrd violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, unsuitable concentrated mutual fund transactions and products, and lacking any reasonable investment strategy.  The claim alleges $300,000 and is currently pending.

In October 2018 a civil judgement was entered against Byrd.  Large tax liens, civil judgement, or bankruptcy filings on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.

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shutterstock_180341738-200x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Dean Kajouras (Kajouras), currently employed by Fordham Financial Management, Inc. (Fordham Financial) has been subject to at least eight customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, one regulatory matter, and six judgement or liens during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kajouras’ customer complaints alleges that Kajouras recommended unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In June 2019 a customer complained that Kajouras violated the securities laws by alleging misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, statutory and common law fraud, suitability. The claim alleges $1,600,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2016 the State of Massachusetts entered into a cease and desist order against Kajouras concerning claims that Kajouras unsuitably overconcentrated a retired investor’s portfolio in a single security.  The State of Massachusetts fined Kajouras $60,000.

In May 2019 one of Kajouras’ tax liens entered totals $391,153.  Large tax liens on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.

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shutterstock_184430612-300x225The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims against broker Jeffrey Poosch (Poosch), currently associated with Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (Summit Brokerage) out of Fort Gratiot, Michigan.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Poosch has been subject to at least four customer disputes during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Poosch’s customer complaints concern allegations of unauthorized trading and misrepresentations among other claims.

In February 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Poosch made unauthorized trading and failed to disclose fees associated with a variable annuity.  The customer requested over $500,000 in damages.  The claim was denied.

In December 2016 a customer alleged that Poosch failed to disclose penalties to them.  The amount of damages was not specified.  The claim settled for $6,269.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading.  Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).  These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.

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shutterstock_156562427-300x200Advisor Richard Braverman (Braverman), currently employed by Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. (Geneos Wealth) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints mostly concerns 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 investors who suffered losses caused by these types of products.

In August 2018 a customer complained that Braverman violated the securities laws by alleging that the investments were subject to unsuitable recommendations, breach of fiduciary duty and failure to adequately disclose the risks in real estate investments and direct investments interests purchased between March of 2008 and November of 2015. The claim is currently pending.

In July 2017 a customer complained that Braverman violated the securities laws by alleging that the investments were subject to unsuitable recommendations of an oil & gas investment in June 2008. The claim sought $47,000 in damages and was denied by the firm.

In September 2008 Braverman was permitted to resign from FSC Securities Corporation (FSC) over allegations that he violated the firm’s policies with respect to non-traded REITs.

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shutterstock_176284139-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP is currently investigating advisor Anthony Conti (Conti), currently associated with Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. (Boenning & Scattergood) out of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Conti has been subject to at least one customer dispute during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Conti’s customer complaints concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In October 2016 it was alleged that Conti’s previous employer, Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC (RSA), three clients of RSA commenced an arbitration claim against the firm. The clients alleged that RSA misrepresented the safety and security of film tax credit notes purchased from the issuer, leading clients to believe their principal was not subject to significant risk. The clients allege that these misrepresentations and negligence caused the loss of principal.  The claim alleged $2,200,000 in damages.  This dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_182371613-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating advisor Paul Soll (Soll), formerly registered with Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) and Financial West Group (FWG) out of Los Angeles, California.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Soll was barred from the financial industry for failing to provide the regulator with information about his trading activities that concern possible excessive trading a securities law violation that is similar to churning.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Soll also disclosed at least one customer complaint alleging breach of fiduciary duty.

In July 2018, FINRA stated that Soll violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010 by failing to provide the regulator with information about his potential trading abuses.  Soll was thereby barred from the securities industry.

Moreover, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Soll engaged in breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and misrepresentation in the sale of bonds.  The amount of damages was not specified.  The claim settled for $660,574.

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shutterstock_177792281-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims against advisor Ian M. Deliz Morales (Deliz), formerly registered with Morgan Stanley out of Tampa, Florida.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Deliz has been subject to at least 22 customer disputes, 13 of which are still pending. In addition, Deliz disclosed a $169,324 tax lien against him.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the majority of these disputes concern violations of securities laws regarding unsuitable investments of Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end funds.

Most recently, in June 2019, a client alleged that Deliz violated the securities laws by recommending unsuitable investments in Puerto Rico bonds causing $315,000 in damages.  This dispute is currently still pending.

In July 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Deliz made unsuitable recommendations to hold Puerto Rico bonds in an over-concentrated manner.  The complaint alleged $1 million in damages and was settled for $275,000.

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shutterstock_184429547-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating advisor Bud McLaughlin Jr. (McLaughlin), currently employed by Century Securities Associates, Inc. (Century Securities) out of Chaska, Minnesota.  According to a BrokerCheck report, McLaughlin has been subject to at least one customer dispute, one regulatory action, and one bankruptcy disclosure during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaint against McLaughlin alleges breach of fiduciary duty.

In February 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that from 2012 through 2015, McLaughlin breached his fiduciary duty and was negligent in his recommendation of an energy company causing $1,125,000 in damages.  The claim was denied.

In August 2017 McLaughlin declared bankruptcy.  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.

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shutterstock_189276023-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Alberto Sanchez (Sanchez) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) that were not approved by his brokerage firm.  Sanchez, formerly registered with SagePoint Financial, Inc. (SagePoint Financial) and MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was barred from the financial industry according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Sanchez disclosed at least two customer complaints.

In June 2019 FINRA found that Sanchez consented to the sanctions and findings that he did not provide documents as requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation concerning his involvement in a potential undisclosed outside business activity.  Accordingly, Sanchez was automatically barred from the securities industry.

At this time it is unclear what OBA Sanchez engaged in that FINRA was investigating and whether or not that activity also involved private securities transactions.  Sanchez’s public disclosures state that he was involved in a number of OBAs including rental property business, an insurance business, Creative Financial Network, and Health Insurance.  It is unclear if these OBAs were the subject of FINRA’s investigation.

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shutterstock_176198786-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Stephen Whittaker (Whittaker), formerly employed by First Financial Equity Corporation (First Financial) and previously with Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least 2 customer complaints, one bankruptcy filing, and two terminations for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Whittaker’s customer complaints allege that Whittaker recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In May 2012 Whittaker was forced to resign from Morgan Stanley after the firm found that Whittaker communicated with third parties regarding two client accounts without written authorization and his potential involvement in unapproved outside business activities (OBAs).

In April 2015 Whittaker declared bankruptcy.  FINRA discloses information concerning a broker’s financial condition because a broker’s inability to handle their own personal finances has also been found to be material information in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

In April 2019 Whittaker was terminated by First Financial after the firm found out that Whittaker was engaged in undisclosed business activities including tax planning for firm clients.

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