The 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.
After Bowen’s resignation, Bowen accumulated 12 customer complaints regarding forgery of customer signatures on life insurance documents. In June 2017, a customer alleged that Bowen forged the customer signature on a variable annuity distribution form and a life insurance form that resulted in transactions that occurred without the customer’s knowledge or consent. The case settled at $470,619.93.
Similarly, in November 2017, a customer alleged that Bowen made unauthorized changes to non-variable life insurance policy and forged the customer’s signature on the altered document. The case was settled for $290,635.40.
In June 2018, FINRA barred Bowen from the financial industry for failing to appear to an on-the-record testimony regarding his resignation from Northwestern Mutual for customer allegations of forgery. By failing to produce relevant documents and not showing up to on-the-record testimony, Bowen was in violation of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. Without admitting or denying the findings, Bowen consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings.
Often times, brokers change client information or have clients sign documents in blank in order to use false information to purchase products that the client is otherwise not qualified to purchase.
Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products. Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you. The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.
The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains. However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.
Donnell entered the securities industry in 2009 and has been registered with Northwestern Mutual from April 2009 to February 2017.
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 of unsuitable investments and firms’ failure to supervise their employees. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.