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shutterstock_143094109-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Dennis Ayre (Ayre), currently employed by Hilltop Securities Inc. (Hilltop Securities) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Ayre’s customer complaints alleges that Ayre recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations of concentrations in energy securities and corporate debt among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In April 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, took excessive risk in the account in relation to the client’s stated objectives.  The claim alleges $52,058 in damages and settled for $20,823.06.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, engaged in unsuitable excessive concentration and risk.  The claim alleges $6,115,287 in damages and is currently pending.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, engaged in unsuitable excessive risk and strategy deviation.  The claim alleges $1,472,671 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_173864537-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Todd Esh (Esh) has been accused by a financial regulator of engaging in the fraudulent sale of securities among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Esh was employed by his prior employer LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) prior to being investigated concerning his activities.  If you have been a victim of Esh’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In April 2020, The SEC brought an action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division against Todd Esh and others.  The SEC alleges that the defendants engaged in a fraudulent securities offering orchestrated by Phillip Hudnall, with help from Esh, operating through BirdDog Business, LLC and BirdDog Oil Equipment entities that Hudnall and Esh founded and controlled.  According to the SEC, Hudnall and Esh raised more than $3.6 million by selling promissory notes issued by BirdDog to investors.  Esh and other allegedly promised that they would use investor funds to buy and refurbish used oil and gas equipment which BirdDog would then resell at a profit.  However, the SEC claims that Hudnall misappropriated most of investors’ money and squandered the rest on a bogus equipment deal.

The SEC claims that the defendants promised that the notes would pay a 30% return after just nine months to investors and also emphasized the safety of the investment, promising investors that their principal would be secured by a first priority security interest in specific oil and gas equipment. Hudnall and BirdDog further assured investors, according to the SEC, that they had experience and had done these sorts of transactions before. In offering materials provided to investors the defendants highlighted two purportedly profitable equipment transactions that they had already completed.  But the SEC determined that these representations regarding previous deals were lies and, the two completed transactions described in BirdDog’s term sheet were fake. In addition to misrepresenting their experience, the SEC found that defendants were not using investor funds as promised. In fact, the SEC claims that defendants made only one attempt at investing BirdDog’s funds as promised ending in a spectacular failure.

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shutterstock_182053859-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Robert Buffington (Buffington), formerly associated with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis Capital), has been subject to at least four customer complaints during his career.  Several of those complaints against Buffington concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitability, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending and seeks $642,224 in damages.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitability, churning, common law fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations from November 2018 through the date of filing related to unsuitability, churning, common law fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_102242143-300x169Advisor Marc Linsky (Linsky), currently employed by ProEquities, Inc. (ProEquities) has been subject to at least one customer complaint during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaints appears to concern fraudulent GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.

GPB Capital is facing multiple accusations of being a Ponzi scheme, an ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FBI investigations, and even GPB’s chief compliance officier being indicted for illegally obtaining information on the SEC’s investigation.  Now even Volkswagen and Toyota are threatening to pull the plug on GPB Capital auto dealerships.  While advisors have been telling investors to do absolutely nothing and just hang in there – this is nothing more than just additional poor advice.  In November 2019 GPB Capital’s admitted that no financial audit would occur anytime in the near future.  The firm has admitted that it has never been profitable and has merely returned investor capital in the past in order to fake a successful business model.  In sum, investors now know there is nothing to hang onto.  By the day, advisor recommendations to do nothing appear to be completely self-serving, out of the loop, and not in the interest of the investor.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Linsky violated the securities laws by alleging that Linsky engaged in sales practice violations related to negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of Pennsylvania Securities Act, violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and breach of contract in relation to investment recommendation in GPB Auto made by representative in October of 2016.  The claim alleges $80,000 in damages and is currently pending.

Our firm has analyzed the GPB Capital offerings and believe that brokerage firms did not review GPB Capital offerings in any significant detail.  Any serious due diligence would have revealed that GPB Capital was a dubious offering destined to fail.  In complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) our clients have alleged that GPB Capital’s scam was highly predictable and easy to spot.  Nearly every aspect of the offering raised unanswerable questions from GPB Capital’s senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices.

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shutterstock_176284139-300x200Advisor Rena Morris (Morris), currently employed by Lighthouse Capital Group, LLC (Lighthouse Capital Group, LLC), has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of her career.  According to a BrokerCheck one of the customer complaints concerns private placement sales of Tenant-in-Common (TIC) real estate products.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high-risk products.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Morris violated the securities laws by alleging that Morris engaged in sales practice violations by conducting limited due diligence regarding a DST investment in 2015. The claim alleges $798,350 and is currently pending.

TIC investments have led to devastating investor losses and are in almost all cases unsuitable products. The near certainty of failure of investing in TICs as a whole has led to the product virtually disappearing as an offered investment from most reputable brokerage firms.   According to InvestmentNews “At the height of the TIC market in 2006, 71 sponsors raised $3.65 billion in equity from TICs and DSTs…TICs now are all but extinct because of the fallout from the credit crisis.” In fact, TICs recommendations have been a major contributor to bankrupting brokerage firms. For example, 43 of the 92 broker-dealers that sold TICs sponsored by DBSI Inc., a company whose executives were later charged with running a Ponzi scheme, a staggering 47% of firms that sold DBSI are no longer in business.

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shutterstock_176351714-300x200Advisor Stephen Holt (Holt), currently employed by Lighthouse Capital Group, LLC (Lighthouse Capital Group, LLC), has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck those customer complaints concern private placement sales of Tenant-in-Common (TIC) real estate products.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high-risk products.

In February 2020 a customer complained that Holt violated the securities laws by alleging that Holt engaged in sales practice violations by conducting limited due diligence regarding a DST investment in 2015. The claim alleges $227,847 and is currently pending.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Holt violated the securities laws by alleging that Holt engaged in sales practice violations by conducting limited due diligence regarding a DST investment in 2015. The claim alleges $168,370 and is currently pending.

TIC investments have led to devastating investor losses and are in almost all cases unsuitable products. The near certainty of failure of investing in TICs as a whole has led to the product virtually disappearing as an offered investment from most reputable brokerage firms.   According to InvestmentNews “At the height of the TIC market in 2006, 71 sponsors raised $3.65 billion in equity from TICs and DSTs…TICs now are all but extinct because of the fallout from the credit crisis.” In fact, TICs recommendations have been a major contributor to bankrupting brokerage firms. For example, 43 of the 92 broker-dealers that sold TICs sponsored by DBSI Inc., a company whose executives were later charged with running a Ponzi scheme, a staggering 47% of firms that sold DBSI are no longer in business.

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shutterstock_162924044-300x200Advisor Darren Oglesby (Oglesby), currently employed by Money Concepts Capital Corp. (Money Concepts) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaints that may concern fraudulent GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.

GPB Capital is facing multiple accusations of being a Ponzi scheme, an ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FBI investigations, and even GPB’s chief compliance officier being indicted for illegally obtaining information on the SEC’s investigation.  Now even Volkswagen and Toyota are threatening to pull the plug on GPB Capital auto dealerships.  While advisors have been telling investors to do absolutely nothing and just hang in there – this is nothing more than just additional poor advice.  In November 2019 GPB Capital’s admitted that no financial audit would occur anytime in the near future.  The firm has admitted that it has never been profitable and has merely returned investor capital in the past in order to fake a successful business model.  In sum, investors now know there is nothing to hang onto.  By the day, advisor recommendations to do nothing appear to be completely self-serving, out of the loop, and not in the interest of the investor.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Oglesby violated the securities laws by alleging that Hoidas engaged in sales practice violations related to a claim with FINRA that an investment was an unsuitable product, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.  The claim alleges $100,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_186772637-300x199Our firm has been contacted by hundreds of clients that have been defrauded in GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.  One common element in our firm’s contact with GPB Capital investors is the advisor’s recommendation to victims – do absolutely nothing.  The advisors recommendation is expressed in phrases like “the audits will come out”, “GPB Capital is a completely transparent company and not a scam”, and sometimes “just hang in there.”

However, in November GPB Capital’s patience game crumbled and the firm admitted that no financial audit would occur anytime in the near future.  In sum, investors now know there is nothing to hang onto.  Advisors have no counter talking points to weigh against multiple accusations of being a Ponzi scheme, the ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FBI investigations, and even GPB’s chief compliance officer being indicted for illegally obtaining information on the SEC’s investigation.  Now even Volkswagen and Toyota are threatening to pull the plug on GPB Capital auto dealerships.  By the day, advisor recommendations to do nothing appear to be completely self-serving, out of the loop, and not in the interest of the investor.

Our firm has analyzed the GPB Capital offerings and believe that brokerage firms did not review GPB Capital offerings in any significant detail.  Any serious due diligence would have revealed that GPB Capital was a dubious offering destined to fail.  In complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) our clients have alleged that GPB Capital’s scam was highly predictable and easy to spot.  Nearly every aspect of the offering raised unanswerable questions from GPB Capital’s senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices.

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shutterstock_168478292-300x222Our firm represents multiple clients who have collectively lost millions in the sale of fraudulent GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.  Our firm has analyzed the GPB Capital offerings and believe that brokerage firms did not review these offerings in any significant detail.  Any serious due diligence would have revealed that GPB Capital was an investment fraud scheme.

Advisor Robert Smith (Smith), according to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), has been accused of selling GPB Capital.  Smith is currently registered with member firm Concorde Investment Services, LLC (Concorde Investment).  In addition, Smith disclosed four total customer complaints. If you have been a victim of Smith’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

Our firm’s investigation has found that brokerage firms failed to conduct due diligence and investigate multiple aspects of GPB Capital’s business including its senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices.  For instance, with respect to GPB Capital’s senior management the company was founded by David Gentile (Gentile).  Had brokerage firms investigated GPB Capital’s senior manager it would have found that prior to founding GPB Capital, Gentile’s experience was as a CPA and company advisor with the accounting practice his family ran at Gentile Pismeny & Brengel, LLP (GP&B) in New York.  Nonetheless, GPB’s PPMs claimed expertise in these areas.   GPB Holdings II, LP, PPM, pg. 9 (Apr. 13, 2015) (“GPB’s senior management have a great deal of experience investing in the Automotive Retail, Managed IT Services and Life Sciences sectors.”).

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shutterstock_175835072-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate significant investor losses in a risky options trading strategy employed by several large brokerage houses referred to as a Yield Enhancement Strategy (YES) or Collateral Yield Enhancement Strategy (CYES).  These firms include UBS Financial Services, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley.   According to marketing materials, the YES strategy seeks to increase returns for investors through the trading of options.  These options trading program employ various options trading strategies including the iron condor.

Our firm is investigating whether or not brokers misrepresented the safety of the strategy by pitching a yield enhancement strategy as a safe way to generate additional returns.  For instance Rick Selvala (Selvala), CEO and co-founder of Harvest Volatility Management, LLC (Harvest) discussed his firm’s CYES strategy with FINalternatives who claimed the strategy “works particularly well for clients who are running more conservative asset allocations or portfolios.”

The article states that CYES has over 800 separately managed accounts across eight different platforms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS Schwab, Fidelity, and Pershing via independently registered investment advisors.

YES’ “elevator pitch” distilled is less risk more return.  The article states that investors in fixed income are being forced to take on more duration or credit risk to increase returns exposing investors to a high degree of risk.  The solution pitched is CYES which has the ability to add incremental returns without taking on more equity, duration, or credit risk.  Selvala claims that “because we manage risk and keep the maximum loss contained” clients can employ three to four time leverage to generate even larger returns.

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