Articles Posted in Suitability

shutterstock_112866430-300x199The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Mariondy Fernandez (Fernandez). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Fernandez has been subject to 19 customer disputes, 10 of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern violations of various securities laws regarding Puerto Rico municipal bonds and closed-end funds.

Most recently, in June 2018, a client alleged that Fernandez violated various securities laws, was negligent to industry standards, breached fiduciary duty, and failed to supervise in the case of the customer’s investments in Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end funds. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2017, a customer similarly alleged that Fernandez unsuitably placed the customer into Puerto Rico municipal bonds and over-concentrated the customer’s funds in the investments. In addition, the customer alleges failure to supervise and negligence. The customer has requested $1,910,000 in damages. this dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_164634200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstien LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Donnell Bowen (Bowen). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), Bowen has been subject to 13 customer disputes, one financial action, one regulatory action, termination from employment, and a civil lien. The majority of these disputes concern unauthorized changes and forgery of customer signatures on life insurance/variable annuity forms.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that Bowen forged the customer’s signature on nonvariable insurnace documents to convert the term life insurance policies into whole life insurance policies. The case was settled at $50.

Shortly after, in January 2017, Bowen was permitted to resign from Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC (Northwestern Mutual) while under investigation for alleged forgery of customer signatures on documents.

shutterstock_120556300-300x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Morgan Stanley broker Barry Garapedian (Garapedian). According to BrokerCheck Records, Garapedian has been subject to 14 customer disputes, two of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable investment recommendations.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that Garapedian recommended investments that were unsuitable and over-concentrated the customers funds into the investments. The customer also alleged that the account had excessive fees. The customer has requested $713,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, another customer similarly alleged that from 2013 to 2015, Garapedian was recommending unsuitable investments that didn’t align with the customer’s needs and goals. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, a customer alleged that from March 2013 to December 2017, Garapedian was recommending unsuitable investments that didn’t align with the customer’s investment objectives. The customer requested $106,178 in damages.

In March 2008, a customer alleged that Garapedian’s recommendation of Auction Rate Securities (ARS) was unsuitable to the customer’s investment needs and falsely represented. The case was settled at $125,000.

Auction Rate Securities are debt securities sold through a dutch auction at an interest rate that will clear the market at the lowest possible yield in order to ensure that all bidders receive the same yield. Since 2008, most auctions have failed and the market has largely collapsed – leaving many investors with illiquid investments that have long-term maturities. Continue Reading

shutterstock_176198786-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Laurence Greene (Greene). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Greene has been subject to two pending customer disputes concerning unsuitable investments.

Most recently, in May 2018, a customer alleged that Greene placed the customer’s funds into risk oil and gas securities which were unsuitable to to the customer’s investment objectives. In addition, the customer alleges churning of the account. This dispute is currently still pending.

In November 2017, a customer alleged that during 2013, Greene placed the customer in unsuitable investments, churned the account, breached fiduciary duty and excessively traded the accounts. The customer has requested $375,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still 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_176283941-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merill Lynch) broker Charles Kenahan (Kenahan). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kenahan has been subject to four customer disputes, three of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable investment recommendations and excessive trading of the customer account.

In May 2018, a customer alleged that from 2012 to 2017, Kenahan excessively traded the funds in the customer account and also unsuitably recommended investments to the customer. The customer has requested $700,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, a customer alleged that from February 2012 to December 2017, Kenahan excessively traded customer funds, misrepresented the nature of the investments, and unsuitably recommended the investments to the customer. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, a customer alleged that from December 2007 to February 2018, Kenahan had placed the customer into unsuitable investments and excessively traded the customer’s funds in the account. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2009, a customer alleged that from December 2007 to February 2018, Kenahan recommended investments that were unsuitable to the customer and excessively traded the account. The customer requested $148,353 in damages.

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shutterstock_73854277-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra Investment) broker Steven Crawford (Crawford). According to BrokerCheck, Crawford has been subject to four customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes concern the unsuitable recommendation of alternative investments, including Variable Universal Life polices (VULs), variable annuities, and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Most recently, in April 2018, Crawford was subject to a customer complaint in which a customer alleged that in 2001, Crawford misrepresented a VUL contract by failing to disclose the fact that the premium payment was not fixed – and could substantially or materially change over time. In 2016, the premium rose and policy lapsed – resulting in customer losses. The customer has requested $622,903.05 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending,

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from June 2016 to August 2017, Crawford recommended the Allianz Index Advantage Variable Annuity to the customer which was unsuitable to the customer’s investment objectives.

In June 2011, a customer alleged that from August 2007 to March 2008, Crawford recommended an REIT investment that was an unsuitable investment to the customer. The customer had requested $9,500 in damages.

In addition, Crawford has been subject to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a potential sign that financial advisors are struggling with their finances. The Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA) makes this information public so that investors can have a better sense of their brokers.

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shutterstock_154554782-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Morgan Stanley broker James Duffy (Duffy). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Duffy has been subject to five customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes concern the unsuitable recommendation of Puerto Rico Municipal Bonds.

Most recently, In July 2018, a customer alleged that from 2006 to 2017, Duffy was unsuitably recommending Puerto Rico municipal bonds to the customer. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that from 2008 to 2016, Duffy was recommending unsuitable investments. The client requested $250,000 in damages.

In September 2012, a customer alleged that from November 2008 to May 2012, Duffy misrepresented the stability of principals in investment recommendations that were unsuitable to the customer’s investment objectives. The case was settled at $8,000.

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shutterstock_66745735-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) broker Michael Morrissett (Morrissett). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority, Morrissett has been subject to 4 disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these concern unsuitable alternative investments.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that from 2013 to 2015, Morrissett misrepresented two hedge funds by providing misleading information to the customer about the suitability of the funds, when in fact the hedge funds were unsuitable to the customer’s investment objectives. The customer has requested $2,300,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

in January 2014, a customer alleged that in 2000, Morrissett placed the customer into an unsuitable investment strategy that made the customer suffer vast losses in the global financial crisis. The case settled for $85,000.

shutterstock_189302963-300x194The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (Joseph Stone) broker Miguel Murillo (Murillo). According to BrokerCheck Records,  Murillo has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. In addition, Murillo has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for being in violation of various securities laws.

In September 2017, a customer alleged that Murillo engaged in recommending unsuitable investments, executing unauthorized transactions, excessively trading the account, and security fraud. The customer has requested $800,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2008, a customer alleged that Murillo failed to follow customer instructions and engaged in unauthorized trading and false representation of the nature of the investments recommended. The case settled at $35,000.

shutterstock_160304408-300x199Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) broker Thomas O’Brien (O’Brien). According to BrokerCheck records, O’Brien has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendation of annuities.

Most recently, in November 2017, customers alleged that from January 2001 to present, O’Brien engaged in fraudulent representation of investments, over-concentration of investments, and failure of the firm to properly supervise O’Brien’s activities. The customer is requesting $5,000,000 in damages. This dispute is still pending.

In September 2006, a customer alleged that O’Brien falsely represented an annuity purchase to the customer by failing to disclose crucial information that the investor can’t withdraw funds from his annuity investment. The customer requested $5,000 in damages.