Articles Posted in Unauthorized Trading

shutterstock_182054030-300x200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Stoever, Glass & Company Inc. (Stoever, Glass & Company) broker Adam Goodman (Goodman). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Goodman has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes concern the misrepresentation of investments and unauthorized trading of customer accounts.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that Goodman engaged in numerous fraudulent practices, not limited to high pressure sales practices, unsuitable investment recommendations, and negligence with customer accounts. The customer has requested $25,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from 2013 to 2017, Goodman executed unauthorized trades in the customer account and over-concentrated investments. The case was settled at $21,000 in damages.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that Goodman falsely represented the nature of investments to the customer and executed trades in the account without the customer’s prior authorization. The case settled at $50,000 in damages.

Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Under the NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b), a broker is prohibited from trading in a non-discretionary customer account without prior written authorization from the customer. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has found that disclosures of trades being made are essential and material to an investor. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin. Continue Reading

shutterstock_145368937-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Joseph Yanofsky (Yanofsky), currently associated with First Financial Equity Corporation (First Financial), has been subject to eight customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment separation for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Yanofsky has been accused by customers of unauthorized trading, unsuitable trading, and misrepresentations among other claims.

In 2015 Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) terminated Yanofsky alleging that the broker exercised discretion in discretionary accounts and provided inaccurate responses to the firm.  Thereafter, FINRA sanctioned Yanofsky in September 2017 findings that he exercised discretion in customer accounts without written authorization to do so. The findings stated that Yanofsky’s exercise of discretion occurred in connection with certain of his member firm’s syndicate equity offerings.  FINRA found that Yanofsky’s customers verbally expressed their general desire and authorization to participate syndicate offerings however their verbal authorization to participate in every syndicate offering was never reduce to writing.

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shutterstock_93611890-200x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating First Standard Financial Company LLC (First Standard Financial) broker Rocco Roveccio (Roveccio). According to BrokerCheck Records, Roveccio has been subject to five customer complaints, two of which are still pending. Roveccio has also been subject to a pending regulatory matter, two liens, and a criminal action.

In May 2018, a customer alleged that Roveccio was executing unauthorized trades and recommending unsuitable investments to the customer. The customer has requested $1,500,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In January 2018, a customer alleged that Roveccio was executing trades in the account without the customer’s prior permission and also engaged in churning of the account. The customer has requested $115,995.25. This dispute is currently still pending.

shutterstock_184433255-300x228The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Mason Gann (Gann). According to BrokerCheck Records, Gann has been subject to a regulatory matter in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Gann for violations of the securities laws concerning unauthorized trading. In addition, Gann has been subject to three customer disputes, two of which are still pending.  Gann has also been subject to termination from employment and a tax lien.

In February 2018, Gann was terminated from Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) for allegedly violating the firm’s conditions involving heightened supervision.

Subsequently, in April 2018, FINRA found that Gann had exercised discretionary power in 6 non-discretionary customer accounts without the customer’s prior written approval. By doing so, Gann was in violation of NASD ConductRule 2510 (b) and FINRA Rule 2010.  Gann executed a total of 500 discretionary trades at previous firm of employment Berthel Fisher, where all discretionary trades were prohibited. Without admitting or denying the findings, Gann consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Consequently, FINRA imposed a $5,000 fine and 20 day suspension.

shutterstock_92699377-300x285The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating previously registered broker Sanders Spangler (Spangler). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), In February 2017, LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) terminated Spangler for executing unauthorized trades in non-discretionary customer accounts. Shortly after, in March 2018, FINRA barred Spangler from financial industry due to Spangler’s failure to appear to an on-the-record testimony regarding the unauthorized trade allegations against Spangler at LPL Financial. By failing to appear to the testimony, Spangler was in violation of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. Without admitting or denying the findings, Spangler consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings. However, the extent of which Spangler executed unauthorized trades is still unclear.

Spangler has also been subject to six customer disputes within the past two years.  Two of these disputes are still pending.

In March 2018, Spangler’s ex-wife alleged that Spangler was forging her account documents. This dispute is currently still pending.

shutterstock_188874428-300x200Investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating previously registered broker Charles Dixon (Dixon). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in January 2018, Dixon was barred from the financial industry for failing to appear at an on-the-record testimony concerning allegations that he was exercising discretion without prior written authorization.  According to FINRA, Dixon consented to the sanction and bar due to the fact that he refused to appear to the testimony.   At this time it is unclear the extent and nature of the unauthorized trading that occurred.

FINRA’s investigation was in connection with Dixon’s termination from Morgan Stanley. In March 2017, Dixon’s employer, Morgan Stanley, terminated Dixon due to a customer allegation that Dixon was exercising discretionary power in a customer’s non-discretionary account without prior customer written approval.

In addition, Dixon has been subject to two customer disputes concerning unauthorized trading and churning. In October 2016, a customer alleged that from June 2013 to July 2016, Dixon was executing unauthorized trades in the customer account. This dispute settled for $225,000.

shutterstock_175993865-300x225Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating previously registered broker Shaun Hayes (Hayes). According to BrokerCheck Records, Hayes has been subject to seven customer disputes in the past year, four of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes allege unauthorized trading of customer accounts.

In December 2017, a customer alleged that from May 2013 to December 2017, Hayes was executing unauthorized trades in the customer’s accounts. This dispute  is currently still pending.

In December 2017, another customer alleged that Hayes was engaging in unauthorized trades in the customer account and is requesting $139,000 in damages. This complaint is still pending.

shutterstock_184433255-300x228The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Charles Lundell (Lundell).   According to BrokerCheck records, Lundell was suspended by FINRA in November 2017 for executing unauthorized trades in customers’ non-discretionary accounts. In addition, Lundell has been subject to two customer disputes, a regulatory action sanctioned by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and two discharges from member firms.

In November 2017, FINRA found that Lundell violated the NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010 by executing unauthorized transactions in five of his customers’ non-discretionary accounts. From January to February 2017, Lundell exercised discretion of $252,912 of four equity securities in his customers’ accounts and sold $65,788 of one of the equity securities without customer or firm approval. FINRA fined Lundell $5,000 and suspended him for 30 days.

In addition, in March 2017, Lundell was discharged from First Allied Securities, Inc. for violating the firm policy regarding the execution of unauthorized transactions without the firm’s required approval.

shutterstock_164634200-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Guistino Destefano (Destefano). According to BrokerCheck Records, Destefano has been subject to two terminations from employment and one regulatory action in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Destefano for various violations of the securities laws. In addition,  Destefano has been subject to 6 customer disputes concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investments, one of which is still pending.

In May 2014, Destefano resigned from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) due to customer allegations of unauthorized trading and recommending securities to customers that weren’t approved by the firm. Subsequently, in March 2016, FINRA found that between July 2013 and May 2014, Destefano had executed unauthorized trades in 4 non-discretionary customer accounts. In addition, Destefano also had marked over 100 order tickets incorrectly, labeling them “unsolicited” when they were in fact solicited trades. For executing unauthorized trades, Destefano was found to be in violation of unauthorized NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010. Destefano consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings and FINRA suspended Destefano for 3 months and imposed a fine of $10,000.

In addition, Destefano has been subject to multiple customer complaints. In September 2017, a customer alleged that Destefano exercised discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts, over-concentrated investments, and placed customers in unsuitable investments. The customer has requested $830,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

shutterstock_120556300-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in January 2018, advisor Larry Boggs (Boggs) was barred indefinitely from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he engaged in unsuitable investments, excessive trading and unauthorized transactions. According to FINRA, Boggs exercised discretion in customer accounts without written approval from customers or the firm. Boggs would also allegedly falsely state the investment objectives and risk tolerance of customers in the firm’s books so that customers would conform to his high-frequency trading strategy.

FINRA found that in June 2010, Boggs updated the risk tolerance in 4 investment portfolios from Moderate to Moderate/Aggressive, and changed 2 investment portfolio objectives to Aggressive.  FINRA determined that the high-frequency trading strategy was unsuitable to his customer’s needs and did not match the customer’s investment portfolio objectives. By changing Ameriprise’s books and records, Boggs violated FINRA Rules 4511 and 2010.

In addition, in May 2015, Boggs’ employer, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise Financial) discharged Boggs alleging that Boggs violated the company’s discretionary trading and suitability policies.