The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Michael Rappa (Rappa) engaged in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Rappa, formerly registered with Foresters Equity Services, Inc. (Foresters Equity) out of San Diego, California was barred from the financial industry and disclosed at least two customer complaints. According to a BrokerCheck report, Rappa’s customer complaints allege that Rappa made unsuitable private securities transaction recommendations.
In February 2019, FINRA stated that Rappa consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that from August 2016 to July 2017, he engaged in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions totaling $2,731,287. The findings stated that Rappa solicited investors to purchase promissory notes relating to a purported real estate investment fund.
In May 2018, a customer alleged that in 2016, Rappa made unsuitable private securities transaction recommendations. The customer has requested $75,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.
In February 2018, another customer similarly alleged that in 2017, Rappa was recommending unsuitable private securities transactions. The customer has requested $700,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.
Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling fraudulent securities sales. The allegations concerning private securities transactions 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.
Rappa entered the securities industry in 2004. From July 2004 until September 2010 Rappa was registered with Princor Financial Services Corporation. From September 2010 until July 2017 Rappa was associated with Foresters Equity out of the firm’s San Diego, California 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.