Articles Tagged with Aegis Capital

shutterstock_188269637-300x200Biotech company Akers Bioscience (AKER) went public in 2014 using Aegis Financial as its investment underwriter. The company’s IPO price was $5 but has subsequently fallen to only $.25.  According to SeekingAlpha not only did Aegis underwrite the security but it also promoted it to investors and potentially the firm’s own brokerage clients buy maintaining a buy rating on the stock.  Akers was given an $11.00 price target in June 2014.

The company has also been subject to a recent class action complaint.  The complaint alleges that the company made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Akers’ business, operational and compliance policies.

According to the company’s website, Akers Biosciences, Inc. (aka Akers Bio) was founded in 1989, with the objective of developing proprietary, in vitro diagnostic technologies that accelerate the rate at which clinicians, and in some cases consumers, can obtain health information. The tests are designed to provide the same level of accuracy as traditional laboratory testing methods but at a fraction of the cost and turn-around time.

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shutterstock_26813263-300x199According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor Thomas Kelley (Kelley), currently employed by Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis) has been subject to an astonishing 19 customer complaints in his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Kelley concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In November 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $500,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in misrepresentations, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $230,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

In August 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kelley engaged in unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty causing $750,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_173509961-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former Capitol Securities Management (Capitol Securities) employee Teryl Trenchard (Trenchard) in under investigation for fraud.  In March 2017 FINRA initiated its investigation into Trenchard for fraud.  On the same day Capitol Securities terminated Trenchard for the same reason.  Thereafter, in July 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and unsuitable investments causing $700,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Thereafter, in September 2017 another customer alleged that from 2005 to March 15, 2017 Trenchard engaged in misappropriation, forgery, fraud, and unauthorized trading in unsuitable transactions.  The customer alleged $1,800,00 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Trenchard’s securities violations and the exact details of the fraud under investigation.  Trenchard’s CRD lists a business called Market Technician’s Association and no other businesses.

shutterstock_113872627-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Ahmed Gheith (Gheith), in August 2017, was terminated by his employer Paulson Investment Company, LLC (Paulson Investment) after the firm alleged that Gheith was terminated subsequent to discovery of violations of firm supervisory procedures, failure to provide honest answers on annual questionnaires, violations of FINRA Rule 3280, and due to initiation of customer arbitration alleging fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment.  The firm referenced that the product involved was a promissory note.  Thereafter, in April 2018 FINRA Suspended Gheith.

FINRA alleged that two registered representatives informed Gheith about a private offering related to a real estate development in Belize. The investment was described as a short-term note meant to raise money for the development of an airport and Gheith thereafter referred several customers to invest.  FINRA found that Gheith’s communications with four customers included a description of the Private Offering and leading the customers to invest a total of $3.5 million in the offering. FINRA alleged that Gheith was paid $93,165 for his role in soliciting and referring the customer.

FINRA’s allegations concerning promissory notes, a private securities transaction, –is known in the industry as “selling away”.

shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Kenneth Jones (Jones), in May 2017, was terminated by his firm, Aegis Capital Corp. (Aeigs Capital) based on allegations that Jones was under investigation for failure to disclose outside business activities.  Subsequently, Jones was barred from the industry by FINRA after FINRA requested documents and information and he failed to provide the FINRA requested documents and information.  FINRA sought documents concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’s termination from his member firm and of certain municipal bond trades that Jones performed while registered with the firm.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Jones’ outside business activities or if they involve private securities transactions.  Jones’ CRD lists that he is engaged in insurance an outside business activity at the Mather Christian Church.  Often times undisclosed outside business activities can lead to private securities transactions.  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 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.  However, even though when these incidents occur the brokerage firm claims ignorance of their advisor’s activities the firm is obligated under the FINRA rules to properly 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.

shutterstock_70999552-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Aegis Capital broker, Paul Falcon (Falcon). Falcon allegedly recommended unsuitable investments, executed unauthorized trades, made excessive transactions and recommended investments that performed properly.

According to BrokerCheck records, Falcon has received four customer complaints and one pending customer complaint.

In April 2017, a customer alleged Falcon recommended unsuitable investments, executed unauthorized trades, made excessive transactions and recommended investments that performed poorly. The customer is seeking $190,000 in damages and the complaint is still pending.

shutterstock_184430612-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Frank Giacalone (Giacalone) has been subject to two customer complaints.  Giacalone is currently registered with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis).  In June 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made engaged in churning (excessive trading), unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.  The claim alleged $128,319 in damages and was settled.

In June 2015, another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investment recommendations and claiming $107,969 in damages.  The claim was settled.

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.

shutterstock_103610648-300x212The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker David Silberg (Silberg). According to BrokerCheck, Silberg has a multitude of disclosures concerning: churning, excessive trading, unauthorized trading, unsuitability, and breach of fiduciary duty. His BrokerCheck records also show 2 disclosures concerning an employment separation after allegations.

The most recent customer complaint filed against Silberg occured in August 2016. The customer alleged that Silberg made unsuitable recommendations to the client’s account. Additionally, the broker allegedly misrepresented and omitted material facts regarding an investment in a corporate debt security. The alleged damages were worth $100,000 and the case was settled for $29,750.00.

In November 2009, another customer complaint was filed against Silberg alleging that during his employment at Gunnallen Financial, the broker failed to supervise, engaged in unauthorized trading, and made unsuitable investments to their account. The alleged damages were worth $375,000 and the case was settled for $50,000.

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 Weinstein 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.

shutterstock_173864537-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein 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.