James Bylenga Accused of Borrowing Client Funds – Investor Recovery

shutterstock_63635611-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor James Bylenga (Bylenga) has engaged in a loan scheme with clients.  Bylenga, formerly registered with LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) and operating out of Portage, Michigan, has been accused by a customer of soliciting funds for a loan.  Bylenga operated out of the d/b/a firm The Retirement Wealth Management Group while working for LPL Financial.

In April 2019, FINRA brought an action and found that Bylenga consented to sanctions that he refused to produce documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation that commenced after his former member firm amended his termination reporting form.  According to FINRA, LPL Financial’s an internal review determined that Bylenga may have received loans from his clients while associated with the firm.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in loan or misappropriation of asset schemes.  The provision of loans, promissory notes, and activities in the sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

When advisors convert or misappropriate funds they often create businesses or other vehicles to serve as a cover for the theft of funds.  However, federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion.  In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public.  Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.

In cases of selling away the investor is unaware that the advisor’s investments are improper.  In many of these cases the investor will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is fired or charged by law enforcement, or stops returning client calls altogether.

Bylenga entered the securities industry in 1980.  From December 2009 until April 2016 Bylenga was registered with Comerica Securities.  From June 2016 until August 2018 Bylenga was associated with LPL Financial out of the firm’s Portage, Michigan office location.

Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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