Articles Posted in Securities Lawyer

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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shutterstock_180342179-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Heather Weber (Weber), currently employed by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) has been subject to at least ten customer complaints during the course of her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Weber’s customer complaints alleges that Weber recommended unsuitable investments in options among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Weber violated the securities laws by alleging that Weber engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentations concerning options.  The claim alleges $350,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In May 2017 a customer complained that Weber violated the securities laws by alleging that Weber engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentation from February 2012 to June 2014.  The claim alleged $1,000,000 in damages and settled for $92,500.

There are different risky strategies that can employ options trading.  One such strategy is the use of the iron condor, which involves the purchase of multiple uncovered options versus safer covered options. When an option is covered the investor holds an offsetting stock position in the asset underlying the option. The stock position can help offset the risk of the short position of the option. However, with an uncovered option the investor has unmitigated risk. If the underlying stock substantially drops or increases in value for an uncovered position the investor have only two options. Either the investor has to let the options expire and lose the entire investment or buy the stock at a disadvantageous price.

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shutterstock_115971289-269x300Advisor Genevieve Mar (Mar), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one termination for cause during the course of her career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints 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 dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Mar violated the securities laws by alleging that Mar engaged in sales practice violations related to investments purchased between 2010 through 2015 that were unsuitable and misrepresented to them by the representative. The customers also allege that the firm failed to supervise the actions of the representative.  The claim alleges $1,500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Mar violated the securities laws by alleging that Mar engaged in sales practice violations related to investments purchased between 2014 through 2016 were unsuitable, are not preforming as expected, and that the high risk level associated with the investments was not explained to them at the time of purchase. They also allege the firm failed to supervise the actions of the representative.  The claim alleges $250,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_171721244-300x200Advisor Robert Burns (Burns), currently employed by Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (Cetera Advisor) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints 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 dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

Burns’ customers complain that they lost money investing in products such as Penneco 10, Carter Validus, GMI, Cypress, KBS REIT, Resource Real Estate, and UDF IV.  UDF has been accused of being an investment fraud scheme.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Burns violated the securities laws by alleging that Burns recommended an overconcentration and unsuitable investments in alternative products and alleged the firm failed to do due diligence of the alternative investments. The claim alleges $500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In August 2018 a customer complained that Burns violated the securities laws by alleging that Burns recommended unsuitable investments in alternative products. The claim settled for $150,000.

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The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Nicholas Schiano (Schiano), currently employed by Spartan Capital Securities, LLC (Spartan Capital) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Schiano’s customer complaints allege that Schiano recommended unsuitable investments, and committed negligence, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In April 2019 a customer complained that Schiano violated the securities laws by alleging misrepresentations, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty resulting in $208,000. The claim settled for $32,500.

In August 2017 a customer complained that Schiano violated the securities laws by alleging unsuitable transactions causing $128,541 in damages. The claim settled for $35,000.

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shutterstock_114128113-300x238According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Leon Almeida (Almeida), formerly employed by MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) has been subject to four customer disputes and one criminal matter during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Almeida concerns allegations over variable annuity sales practices.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that Almeida sold him a new variable annuity in 2016, which was misrepresented, after first advising him that the company that held his existing account wouldn’t be remaining in business.  The claim is currently pending.

In March 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that that the AIG Variable Annuity Almeida sold to him in 2018 was an inappropriate investment and he would like his money returned.  The claim was withdrawn.

In January 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that the VAs Almeida sold to him in 2018 were misrepresented and he wants his investment returned.  The claim settled for $19,038.

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shutterstock_112866430-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Timothy Johnson (Johnson) was discharged by his employer after being accused of diverting client funds.  According to BrokerCheck records, Johnson is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm MML Investors Services, LLC (MML).  In addition, Johnson disclosed one regulatory complaint. If you have been a victim of Johnson’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In July 2019 MML discharged Johnson after alleging that he was terminated in connection with an investigation into the registered representative’s diversion of customer funds for his own use.

In September 2019 FINRA filed a regulatory action alleging that Johnson consented to the sanction and findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation into the allegations made concerning his termination.  FINRA’s suspension will automatically become a bar if Johnson fails to respond.

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