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shutterstock_120115444-300x198Advisor Ghazaleh Ebrahimi (Ebrahimi), currently employed by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel, Nicolaus) has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern 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 November 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Ebrahimi violated the securities laws by violation of standards of reasonable basis suitability, just and equitable principles of trade, fraud, misleading statements, misleading omissions of material information; breach of fiduciary duty; negligent misrepresentation; negligence; breach of contract and warranty; third party beneficiary breach of contract; breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; elder abuse; and aiding and abetting financial elder abuse.  The customer alleged $1.3 million in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Ebrahimi violated the securities laws by violation of breach of fiduciary duty; negligence; breach of contract; common law fraud and deceit; and violations of FINRA rules  The customer alleged $1.3 million in damages and the claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_77335852-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Stephen Carver (Carver), formerly employed by Lifemark Securities Corp. (Lifemark Securities) and Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera Advisors) has been subject to at least two customer complaints, one regulatory complaint, three employment terminations for cause, and three tax liens.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Carver’s customer complaints allege that Carver made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of securities including alternative investments such as REITs.

In January 2019 FINRA brought a complaint against Carver alleging that he willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose three unsatisfied Internal Revenue Service tax liens totaling approximately $92,000 that were filed against him. FINRA claims that Carver also falsely attested to his member firm on an annual compliance questionnaire that he was in compliance with FINRA’s Form U4 disclosure requirements.  The regulatory complaint is currently pending.

In October 2018 a customer brought a complaint against Carver alleging the broker violated the securities laws by committing elder abuse.  The claim alleged $9.3 million in damages and is currently pending.

In September 2017 Cetera Advisors discharged Carver claiming that he violated firm policy by not disclosing gifts from a client.

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shutterstock_168326705-199x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Ian Greenblatt (Greenblatt), currently employed by Capitol Securities Management, Inc. (Capitol Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Greenblatt’s customer complaints allege that Aziz made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments.

In September 2018 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Greenblatt where he consented to sanctions and findings that he settled a customer complaint away from his member firm. FINRA found that customers became dissatisfied with the performance of their brokerage account since their account had declined in value by over $170,000.  FINRA found that after one of these customers complained verbally to Greenblatt about the losses they incurred Greenblatt did not report customer’s complaint to the firm and instead met with customers at their home to discuss their complaint. At that meeting, FINRA determined that Greenblatt wrote a personal check for $46,000 to the customers’ son in settlement of customers’ complaint.

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shutterstock_156972491-300x198Advisor William Richardson (Richardson), currently employed by InvestCorp, Inc. (InvestaCorp) has been subject to at least five customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern 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 November 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Richardson violated the securities laws by being recommended alternative investments that were unsuitable. The claim alleges $500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In July 2009 a customer complained that Richardson violated the securities laws by being recommended a limited partnership investment that was not unsuitable. The claim alleges $50,000 in damages and was closed.

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.

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shutterstock_184920014-300x199According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Kevin Wilson (Wilson), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Wilson’s customer complaints allege that Wilson committed violations of the securities laws with respect to the sale of predominately private placement securities.  These private placement sales occurred while Wilson was employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw).

The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP recently filed a complaint on behalf of a client alleging that Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw) recommended the investor purchase a micro cap stock underwritten by the firm in violation of the securities laws.  According to newsources and public filings Laidlaw and its brokers have been involved in the fraudulent promotion of small and micro cap stocks to their clients in violation of their duties to their clients to disclose conflicts of interests.

Recently, one of Laidlaw’s clients, Barry Hoing (Hoing), was charged by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for generating $27 million through a “classic pump-and-dump scheme.” The SEC’s allegations focus on stocks including BioZone Pharmaceuticals (now Cocrystal Pharma) (COCP), MGT Capital (OTC: MGTI), and MabVax Therapeutics (OTC: MBVX).   However, other public filings reveal Hoing was also involved in other stocks including Riot Blockchain (RIOT), PolarityTE (PTE formerly COOL), and Marathon Patent Group (MARA).  In addition, Laidlaw was involved in other private placement securities offerings including Aethlon Medical, Actinium, Boston Therapeutics, 5G Investment, Alliaqua, Aspen Group, Brazahav Resources, Fusion Telecoms International, Protea Biosciences Group, Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Medovex Corp, Relmada Therapeutics, Sevion Therapeutics, Spectrascience, and Spherix.

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shutterstock_112866430-300x199According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Steven Reznik (Reznik), formerly employed by Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James) has been subject to at least 15 customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Reznik’s customer complaints allege that Reznik made unsuitable recommendations by concentrating investors in a particular sector, possibly energy.

In January 2019 a customer brought a complaint against Reznik alleging the broker violated the securities laws by recommending an unsuitable overconcentration in investments, unauthorized trading, and constructive fraud from March 2012 until August 2018.  The claim is currently pending.

In November 2018 a customer brought a complaint against Reznik alleging the broker violated the securities laws by recommending an unsuitable overconcentration in investments, unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty from September 2016 until October 2018.  The claim alleged $125,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2018 a customer brought a complaint against Reznik alleging the broker violated the securities laws by recommending an unsuitable investments, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty from February 1996 until September 2018.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_143094109-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Robert Salles (Salles), currently employed by Herbert J. Sims & Co, Inc. (Herbert J. Sims) has been subject to at least six customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Salles customer complaints allege that Salles made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments including junk bonds, Puerto Rico bonds, and structured notes.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Salles violated the securities laws by engaging in unsuitable investments.  The customer alleges $100,000 in damages and the claim was denied by the firm.

In May 2018 a customer complained that Salles violated the securities laws by engaging in conduct from September 2009 to present that was a breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, fraud misrepresentation, and failure to supervise involving junk bonds, Puerto Rico bonds, and structured notes. The customer alleges $200,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_184429547-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Sam Aziz (Aziz), formerly employed by David A. Noyes & Co. (David Noyes) has been subject to at least three customer complaints, one regulatory investigation, and two terminations for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Aziz’s customer complaints allege that Aziz made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments.

In October 2018 FINRA opened an investigation into Aziz’s activities.  On October 24, 2018, FINRA made a preliminary determination to recommend that disciplinary action be brought against Aziz alleging that he made potential violations, specifically excessive trading and unsuitable recommendations of the use of margin), attempting to settle away a customer’s complaint), and use of an undisclosed personal email account and text messages to conduct securities business.

In October 2018 Aziz’s firm, David Noyes, terminated him citing the FINRA investigation as a reason.

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shutterstock_66745735-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Jean-Matthieu Josse (Josse) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during his career.  Josse is currently employed by A.G.P. / Alliance Global Partners (Alliance Global).  The customer complaints against Josse concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning and unsuitable investments.

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Josse violated the securities laws by engaging in churning and unauthorized trading.  The claim alleged $45,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $14,990.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim 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.

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shutterstock_20354401-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Robert Abramowitz (Abramowitz), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least three customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Abramowitz’s customer complaints allege that Abramowitz made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments including equities including energy related stocks.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Abramowitz violated the securities laws by engaging in unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.  The customer alleges $100,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In March 2018 a customer complained that Abramowitz violated the securities laws by engaging in conduct alleges investments were misrepresented to her and were unsuitable based on her investment objectives. The customer also alleged that her investment objectives and risk tolerance were incorrectly stated on new account paperwork. The customer alleges $149,236 in damages.  The claim was settled for $75,000.

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