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shutterstock_189006551-207x300Advisor Scot Fairchild (Fairchild), currently employed by Lucia Securities, LLC (Lucia Securities) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaint concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Fairchild violated the securities laws by alleging that Fairchild engaged in sales practice violations related to breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and omissions, negligence and unsuitable investments in high risk, illiquid investments purchased between 2013 and 2014 and in violation of Nevada Securities Laws. The claim alleges $214,335 and is currently pending.

In January 2019 a customer complained that Fairchild violated the securities laws by alleging that Fairchild engaged in sales practice violations related to breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, and unsuitable investment recommendations related to Real Estate Investment Trusts purchased between on or around 2013 and 2014.  The claim alleges $500,000 and settled for $175,000.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do.  Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_186555158-300x200Advisor Gene Esplin (Esplin), formerly employed by Kalos Capital, Inc. (Kalos) and Triad Advisors, Inc. (Triad Advisors) has been subject to at least one customer complaint during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaint concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like business development companies (BDCs), non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Esplin violated the securities laws by alleging that Esplin engaged in sales practice violations related to allegations that alternative investments purchased at Triad during the Representative’s association with respondent Triad and thereafter during the Representative’s association with respondent Kalos Capital were unsuitable.  The claim alleges $1,000,000 and is currently pending.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do.  Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_66745735-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Darrach Bourke (Bourke), currently employed by Emerson Equity, LLC (Emerson Equity) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, five criminal disclosures, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Bourke’s customer complaints alleges that Bourke recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations of concentrations in energy securities among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts such as unauthorized trading.

In March 2017 FINRA sanctioned Bourke finding that Bourke consented to sanctions and findings that he exercised discretion without written authorization in the accounts of two customers. FINRA found that Bourke discussed investment strategies with these customers and then Bourke exercised discretion and executed transactions in the accounts without first speaking with the customers about the specific transactions. FINRA found that Bourke had not obtained prior written authorization from the customers to exercise discretion in their accounts, and his member firm had not approved either account for discretionary trading.  FINRA fined Bourke $5,000 and suspended him for 20 business days.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading.  Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).  These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.

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shutterstock_1744162-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor John Jaramillo (Jaramillo) has been accused by his former employer of selling a non-approved product among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Jaramillo has been terminated by his prior employer, Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) concerning his outside business activities.  If you have been a victim of Jaramillo’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In March 2020 Western International terminated Jaramillo after alleging that he sold a non-approved product.

Jaramillo’s outside business activities disclosed on his publicly available BrokerCheck report include accident & health insurance and Integrity Real Estate Solutions which is listed as a real estate agent.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling securities sales through OBAs.  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.

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shutterstock_102242143-300x169Advisor Marc Linsky (Linsky), currently employed by ProEquities, Inc. (ProEquities) has been subject to at least one customer complaint during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report one of the customer complaints appears to concern fraudulent GPB Capital Holdings (GPB Capital) related investments.

GPB Capital is facing multiple accusations of being a Ponzi scheme, an ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FBI investigations, and even GPB’s chief compliance officier being indicted for illegally obtaining information on the SEC’s investigation.  Now even Volkswagen and Toyota are threatening to pull the plug on GPB Capital auto dealerships.  While advisors have been telling investors to do absolutely nothing and just hang in there – this is nothing more than just additional poor advice.  In November 2019 GPB Capital’s admitted that no financial audit would occur anytime in the near future.  The firm has admitted that it has never been profitable and has merely returned investor capital in the past in order to fake a successful business model.  In sum, investors now know there is nothing to hang onto.  By the day, advisor recommendations to do nothing appear to be completely self-serving, out of the loop, and not in the interest of the investor.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Linsky violated the securities laws by alleging that Linsky engaged in sales practice violations related to negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of Pennsylvania Securities Act, violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and breach of contract in relation to investment recommendation in GPB Auto made by representative in October of 2016.  The claim alleges $80,000 in damages and is currently pending.

Our firm has analyzed the GPB Capital offerings and believe that brokerage firms did not review GPB Capital offerings in any significant detail.  Any serious due diligence would have revealed that GPB Capital was a dubious offering destined to fail.  In complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) our clients have alleged that GPB Capital’s scam was highly predictable and easy to spot.  Nearly every aspect of the offering raised unanswerable questions from GPB Capital’s senior management, fantastical business claims, and intra-fund lending practices.

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shutterstock_177577832-300x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Ferrell Rollins (Rollins) has been accused by his former employer of borrowing client funds among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rollins has been terminated by his prior employer, Capital Investment Group, Inc. (Capital Investment Group) concerning his outside business activities.  If you have been a victim of Rollins’ alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In September 2019 Capital Investment Group terminated Rollins after alleging violation of firm policy and FINRA Rules 2010 and 3240 related to borrowing money from a customer and making false statements to the firm on forms related to said loan.

Rollins’ outside business activities disclosed on his publicly available BrokerCheck report include Telco Credit Union.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling securities sales through OBAs.  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.

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shutterstock_26813263-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Jason LaBelle (LaBelle) has been accused by a securities regulator of potentially engaging in the sales of private securities among other allegations.  LaBelle was sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) concerning his private securities and undisclosed outside business activity conduct.  According to BrokerCheck records, LaBelle was formerly registered with FINRA member firm LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial).  If you have been a victim of LaBelle’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In January 2020 FINRA found that that LaBelle consented to the sanctions and findings that he participated in an outside business activity involving a real estate development project that was financed with money lent by one of his customers without providing prior written notice to his firm. FINRA found that LaBelle falsely confirmed that he had fully disclosed his outside business activities on two annual compliance questionnaires submitted to his firm.

In June 2017 a customer filed a complaint concerning LaBelle where the customer alleged that LaBelle violated the securities laws by alleging the advisor made misrepresentations on the terms of a promissory note he recommended Plaintiffs purchased in February 2016, and without authorization withdrew money to purchase the note from Plaintiffs’ taxed deferred accounts.  The complaint is currently pending.

According to LaBelle’s publicly disclosed records the he has several disclosed outside business activities including Berkshire Retirement Strategies (his d/b/a for LPL Financial), Brickhouse Mountain LLC (owner of office building), and Private Advisory Group (an RIA d/b/a).

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shutterstock_71240-300x183The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Paris Lewis (Lewis) has been accused by his former employer of borrowing funds from a client among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Lewis has been terminated by his two prior employers concerning his outside business activities.  According to BrokerCheck records, Lewis was formerly registered with FINRA member firm NYLife Securities LLC (NYLife Securities) and MetLife Securities Inc. (MetLife).  If you have been a victim of Lewis alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In December 2019 NYLife Securities terminated Mr. Lewis after alleging that he was terminated after he violated company policy by borrowing money from a customer. The company became aware of this matter when the company received a verbal customer complaint.

In February 2015 Metlife terminated Mr. Lewis after alleging that he did not follow firm policy regarding outside business activities.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling securities sales through OBAs.  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.

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shutterstock_140186524-300x298Due to recent market decline and volatility, the investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP have been contacted by a number of investors who hold non-purpose loans secured by their brokerage accounts.  Due to market movements, investment losses have jeopardized their ability to repay the loan. In other situations advisors have been slow to reach out to clients in order to take steps to either voluntarily sell assets or increase their collateral to protect their accounts.

In recent years all the major wire houses have become involved in selling their wealthier clients on securities-backed lines of credit (SBLOCs). These loans that are often marketed by brokerage firms to investors as an easy way to cash out your securities accounts by borrowing against the assets in your portfolio without actually having to liquidate securities.  The concept is conceptually similar to margin but the loan is issued by a bank and held in a different account then the investments.

These lines of credit allow investors to borrow money using securities held in the investment accounts as collateral and allow the investor to continue to trade securities in the pledged accounts. An SBLOC requires typically requires monthly interest-only payments until repaid. Thus, when an investor losses a significant amount of their portfolio the investor has made very little progress in repaying the loan and may have few to no options to pay the loan back.

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shutterstock_183549914-300x200Former stockbroker James Kirchner (Kirchner), former employed by brokerage firms David A. Noyes & Company (David Noyes), IFS Securities, and Cabot Lodge Securities LLC (Cabot Lodge) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints and one employment terminations for cause during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern private placements.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk products when they are not vetted appropriately by the firm selling them.

In March 2020 a customer complained that Kirchner violated the securities laws by alleging that Kirchner engaged in sales practice violations related recommending alternative investments that were not suitable. The claim alleges $175,000 in damages and was settled for $90,000.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Kirchner violated the securities laws by alleging that Kirchner engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending private placements during 2016 and 2017 that were not suitable. The claim alleged $300,000 in damages and was settled for $145,000.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Kirchner violated the securities laws by alleging that Kirchner engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending private placements during 2016 that was not suitable. The claim alleged $100,000 in damages and was settled for $50,000.

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