Former Thurston Springer Financial (Thurston Springer) advisor Donald Woods (Woods) has been subject to at least five customer complaints and one bankruptcy. According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern variable annuities or alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.
In August 2018 Woods filed for bankruptcy. A broker’s inability to manage their own finances is material information to investors in considering whether or not to use that person for financial advice. In addition, financial distress may cause an advisor to have a conflict of interest and recommend investments for their own profit rather than their client’s best interests.
The most recent complaint was filed in August 2018 excessive selling of variable annuities, misrepresentations, and failing to disclose material facts. The complaint alleges $153,554 in damages and is currently pending.
Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments. These products are almost always unsuitable for investors. In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.
According to studies, non-traded REITs have historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds – meaning that non-traded REITs provide paltry investment returns considering the risk an investor takes. Alternative investment products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and equipment leasing programs are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors due to their high costs, illiquidity, high risks, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed at all. Investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment.
Unfortunately, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. These products have become so popular among brokers without providing any benefit to investors that many states now limit investors from investing more than 10% of their liquid assets in Non-Traded REITs. Many states impose these limitations because its understood that that they provide virtually no benefit to investors in relationship to their risks.
Woods entered the securities industry in 1981. From July 2010 until January 2017 Woods was registered with LPL Financial LLC. From December 2016 until August 2018 Woods was registered with Thurston Spring out of the firm’s Louisville, Kentucky office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.