Customers Files Churning Complaints Against Patrick Teutonico

shutterstock_128655458According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Patrick Teutonico (Teutonico) has been the subject of at least nine customer complaints and one regulatory action over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Persaud alleging a litany of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trades, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, negligent supervision, excessive mark ups, and fraud among other claims. In addition to customer complaints, Teutonico was also subject to a regulatory action by FINRA where the regulator found that Teutonico effected unauthorized trades and was fined and suspended.

An examination of Teutonico’s employment history reveals that Teutonico moves from troubled firm to troubled firm. The pattern of brokers moving in this way is sometimes called “cockroaching” within the industry. See More Than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities, The Wall Street Journal, (Oct. 4, 2013). In Teutonico’s 17 year career he has worked at 10 different firms. Since 2008 Teutonico has been registered with First Midwest Securities, Inc., A&F Financial Securities, Inc. QA3 Financial Corp., Obsidian Financial Group, LLC. Since December 2012, Teutonico has been associated with Network 1 Financial Securities Inc. located in Lynbrook, New York.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. The broker must first discuss all 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.

Unauthorized trading often accompanies claims of churning, or investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is transacted to profit the broker. The elements to establish a churning claim, which is considered a species of securities fraud, are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Teutonico is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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