The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against current Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) broker Stephen Swarbrick (Swarbrick). According to BrokerCheck records, Swarbrick has spent 23 years in the securities industry and is currently located in Roseville, California operating under the d/b/a Weston and Tuttle Wealth Advisors, LLC. Over his career, Swarbrick has been the subject of at least three customer complaints.
The most recent complaint was filed in January 2017 alleging that a complaint was filed with the California Department of Business Oversight alleging unsuitable sales for $400,000 in equipment leasing and oil and gas partnerships from December 2009 through June 2014. The customer alleged $400,000 in damages. The claim is currently pending. Many of Swarbrick’s other customer complaints similarly allege damages resulting from the sale of alternative investment products such as equipment leasing and oil and gas private placements.
Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products (DPPs) and private placements including oil and gas partnerships, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.
All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds. For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed. However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.
Swarbrick entered the securities industry in 1994. From September 2003 until October 2012, Swarbrick was registered with Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. Since October 2012 Swarbrick has been a registered representative of Questar out of the firm’s Roseville, California branch office location.
The number of customer complaints against Swarbrick is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.
The investment lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP represent investors who have suffered investment losses due to allegations of wrongdoing. The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.