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shutterstock_114775264-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer and regulatory complaints filed against broker Jeffrey Hill (Hill). According to BrokerCheck records, Hill has been subject to three regulatory actions, eight customer complaints, and one termination for cause disclosures. The most recent customer complaint against Hill alleged that between 2003 and 2014 the customer’s account was subject to churning, unauthorized trading, unsuitability and breach of fiduciary duty.  The claim alleged damages of $1,600,000 and settled.

On November 22, 2016 Wells Fargo Advisors (Wells Fargo) terminated Hill based on activity alleged to have happened at his prior firm when the broker entered into an AWC with FINRA agreeing to a fifteen month suspension from the industry.

In FINRA’s complaint settled in November 2016, Hill consented to sanctions and findings that he initiated hundreds of trades for two elderly customers without contacting them and recommended or engaged in dozens of transactions that were qualitatively or quantitatively unsuitable or lacked a reasonable basis in corporate and municipal bonds. FINRA also found that neither of those customers explicitly permitted Hill to use discretion in their accounts.  FINRA found that Hill would recommend that one of the customers sell bonds shortly after buying them.  FINRA determined that there was no justification for the trading as neither changes in the bonds’ prices, interest that accrued, changes in the issuers’ condition, nor any other factors appeared to effect the short-term trading.

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shutterstock_184149845-300x246Broker David Sheppard (Sheppard) was recently sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an enforcement action that led to a permanent bar against the broker.  According to BrokerCheck, FINRA found that Sheppard consented to sanctions that he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA to investigate potential churning (excessive trading) in customer accounts.

The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are also investigating customer complaints against Sheppard.  There have been at least three customer complaints against Sheppard, one regulatory action, and two judgements or liens in Sheppard’s 21 year career.  The customer complaints against Sheppard allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

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.

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The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the allegations made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) resulting in a bar of broker Norman Ferra Jr. (Ferra) who was previously registered with International Assets Advisory, LLC working out of the Tampa, Florida office.  Ferra has 20 years of experience in the securities industry and three disclosures on his record.

In March 2017, Ferra was barred after he consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to respond to letters requesting that he produce documents and information in connection with an investigation regarding undisclosed outside business activities and private securities transactions.  No other disclosure concerning the extent and nature of the activity is disclosed.

However, Ferra has disclosed several outside business activities including his d/b/a Rockport Global Advisors.  Ferra has also disclosed entities including EG Advisory LLC  It is unclear at this time what entities Ferra’s outside business activities that were the subject of the FINRA bar involve.

The providing of loans, selling of promissory notes, or recommending investments outside of the firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

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shutterstock_94332400-300x225The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.’s (Ameriprise) termination of former broker Stephen Mosley (Mosley) working out of the Lake Havasu City, Arizona office.  Ameriprise terminated Mosley in November 2016.  According to the broker’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck filing the firm stated that Mosley “was terminated for compliance policy violations related to complying with disciplinary action and heightened supervision, soliciting a prohibited security and suitability of a transaction.”  Mosley also has two customer complaints listed on his record.  No other disclosure concerning the extent and nature of the activity is disclosed.

However, Mosley has disclosed several outside business activities including his d/b/a Wisdom & Wealth Corp.  Mosley has also disclosed entities including LP Prop, LLC – a real estate holding company.  It is unclear at this time if Mosley’s activities involve any of these disclosed entities.

The providing of loans, selling of promissory notes, or recommending investments outside of the firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

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shutterstock_94632238-300x214The experienced securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Andrew Bruce Elsoffer (Elsoffer). According to Elsoffer’s FINRA BrokerCheck records, there are several disclosures on his record pertaining to securities fraud, misrepresentation, unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence amongst other allegations.

Elsoffer entered the securities industry in 1994 and was only registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. until November 2011. He is currently employed at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., Inc. since November 2011. He was previously employed at:

• Bank of America (December 2009 – October 2011)

shutterstock_170949320-300x199Gana LLP’s investment fraud attorneys are looking into multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Rodger James Burskey (Burskey) that led to a regulatory action by FINRA. According to Burskey’s FINRA BrokerCheck records, there are several disclosures on his record pertaining to unauthorized, unsuitable, and excessive trading. Burskey has dealt with an employment separation and was barred by FINRA from the securities industry. In December 2016, Burskey was barred by FINRA from having any registration capacities in the securities industry. He consented to the sanctions and findings of FINRA and refused to appear on the record regarding allegations of making unsuitable recommendations and engage in discretionary trading.

Burskey entered the securities industry in 1985 and was last employed at Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. until November 2015. He was previously registered at:

• US Allianz Securities, Inc. (February 1999 – November 2006)

shutterstock_61142644-300x225Broker Andrew Kramer (Kramer) was recently sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an enforcement action.  According to the FINRA AWC (Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent) FINRA found that Kramer consented to sanctions that he failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for documents and information related to an examination concerning a customer complaint.

The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the six customer complaints brought against Kramer. The customer complaints allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims.  Accorded to one complaint, it was alleged that Kramer implemented a bear market strategy.  When brokers recommend these strategies they are rarely profitable and almost always unsuitable for the client.  Historically the market is only negative a small fraction of the time.  Accordingly, a sustain bear market strategy always bets against the odds rarely makes sense.

The most recent claim was filed in December 2016 alleging Kramer engaged in unsuitable trades causing $1,000,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_94632238-300x214The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the action brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) involving property acquired by Mark Sellers (Sellers) as part of a $10 million investment fraud scheme.  According to authorities Sellers shot and killed himself on Aug. 2, 2016.  The DOJ alleged that Sellers fraud scheme involved stealing approximately $10 million from approximately 100 investors through his firm, Selden Companies, LLC, from December 2007 through at least 2015.

According to the DOJ, Sellers fraudulently misrepresented to investors that he would use the funds to purchase companies and turn them around to sell at a profit. However, Sellers and his wife spent almost all of the invested funds to maintain their own lavish lifestyle.  Sellers’ used investor funds for vehicles, life insurance policies, homes, jewelry, and credit card purchases laundering the invested funds through multiple bank accounts.

It has also been alleged that Sellers used former Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) broker John Elliott (Elliott) to raise funds for the fraud.  According to records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Elliott working out of Overland Park, Kansas location from November 2011 through September 2016.  Thereafter, Ameriprise terminated Elliott alleging “compliance policy violations related to selling away.

The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  In a subsequent, FINRA regulatory action Elliott consented to sanctions in the form of a permanent bar because he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course their investigation.

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shutterstock_132704474-300x200Gana LLP’s investment fraud attorneys are investigating multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) again broker Todd Douglas Ryman (Ryman). According to Ryman’s FINRA BrokerCheck records, there are several disclosures on his record pertaining to unauthorized trading, unsuitable trading, misrepresentation of material facts, amongst other allegations.

Ryman entered the securities industry in 1995 and currently employed at Suntrust Investment Services, Inc. since February 2017. He was previously employed at:

• Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (September 2016 – February 2017)
• Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. (May 2011 – September 2016)
• Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. (October 2009 – May 2011)
• Banc of America Investment Services, Inc. (October 2002 – October 2009)
• UBS Painewebber, Inc. (July 1998 – October 2002)
• Josephthal & Co., Inc. (February 1996 – July 1998)
• Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. (August 1995 – February 1996)

In February 2017, a customer complaint was filed for alleged documentation during the period of September 2016 to February 2017 while Ryman was employed at Raymond James and Associates. The stated alleged damages are $300,000.00 and the claim is currently pending. Another pending case was filed in November 2016 by a customer alleging that Ryman sold an unsuitable Private Equity fund. The alleged damages were $250,000.00 and is still pending.

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shutterstock_94127350-300x205The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating Waddell & Reed Inc.’s (Waddell & Reed) termination of former broker Paul Stanley (Stanley) working out of the Edmond, Oklahoma office.  Stanley had been in the industry for 16 years and was a licensed supervisor with the firm.  Waddell & Reed terminated Stanley in January 2016.  According to the broker’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck filing the firm stated that Stanley was “terminated for violation of firm’s Professional Conduct, Supervisory and Compensation Policies following firm investigation evidencing that Principal failed to provide complete information during firm’s internal investigation, suggested to [registered representative] under Principal’s supervision they also not provide complete information during firm’s internal investigation, allowed [registered representative] who was not properly licensed to participate in solicitation of investment advisory business, directed [registered representative] to conduct firm business during an internal firm-imposed administrative suspension, directly compensated [registered representative] outside of firm compensation policies, failed to intercede in the sharing of investment advisory compensation between [registered representative] outside of firm compensation policies and where [registered representative] were not all properly licensed for the products at issue, emailed firm business to [registered representative] on [registered representative] outside email account, and improperly managed client paperwork.”

Subsequently, in March 2017 FINRA barred Stanley when Stanley consented to the sanction and bar for refusing to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA.

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