Articles Tagged with American Portfolios Financial Services

shutterstock_99315272-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor John Dobbertin (Dobbertin), currently employed by American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (American Portfolios) has been subject to at least one customer complaint, one regulatory sanctions, one criminal disclosure, and one termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Dobbertin’s customer complaint alleges that Dobbertin recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct relating to real estate and annuity securities.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Dobbertin violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor committed violations of FINRA Rules 2110 and 2111, misrepresentation and omissions of material facts, and breach of fiduciary duty.  The claim is currently pending.

In December 2014 Dobbertin consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that Dobbertin failed to timely amend his Form U4 and disclose in eight subsequent Form U4 Amendments that he had been charged with a fdony offense.  FINRA also found that Dobbertin also failed to timely ammd his Form U4 and disctose in subsequent Form U4 Amendments two unsatisfied federal tax liens that were levied in 2013.

In June 2009 Dobbertin was permitted to resign from LPL Financial after the firm alleged that he failed to follow the firm’s policies and procedures relating to processing variable annuity transactions.

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shutterstock_63635611-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Woodbridge Group of Companies and the Woodbridge Mortgage Funds (Woodbridge).  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the Woodbridge operated a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme ensnaring about 8,400 investors. Woodbridge solicited hundreds of disreputable insurance agents and investment brokers to sell its false notes that the firm claimed to be backed by mortgages.  In plain sight to regulators, Woodbridge engaged in a nationwide investment fraud by offering the sale of unregistered securities.

According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Gary Forrest (Forrest) appears to be an agent for Woodbridge fraudulent note sales.  Forrest was formerly associated with American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (American Portfolios) out of the firm’s Flint, Michigan office location.  Thereafter, the State of Michigan Sanctioned Forrest finding that Forrest offered or sold twelve Woodbridge securities in the State of Michigan which were not federally covered, exempt from registration, or registered, in violation of the securities laws.

Federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees, like Forrest, 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.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including recommending fraudulent investments.

shutterstock_177577832The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against Jeremy Monte (Monte). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Monte has been the subject of at least 3 customer complaints and 3 judgment or liens. The customer complaints against Monte allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in April 2015 and alleges unsuitable investments in non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs) and variable annuities by charging advisory fees on these investments in addition to commissions. Another complaint filed in February 2013 alleges unsuitable recommendations from 2005 through 2009 leading to $61,000 in damages.

Monte also has three liens listed. In March 2013, a tax lien of $83,199 was filed. In May 2012, a tax lien of $13,999 was filed. Finally, in April 2010, a tax lien of $24,394 was filed against the broker. A broker with large liens are an important consideration for investors to weigh when dealing with a financial advisor. An advisor may be conflicted to offer high commission investments to customers in order to satisfy liens and debts that may not be in the client’s best interests.

shutterstock_184430612The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Ronald Benevento (Benevento) (FINRA No. 20130353695) alleging that between September 2011 through April 2013 Benevento engaged in unsuitable mutual fund switching activity in three customer accounts in violation of the FINRA Rules. In addition, FINRA alleged that during this time Respondent mismarked 15 order tickets as “unsolicited” causing the books and records of his employer, American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (American Portfolios) to become inaccurate.

Benevento first became associated with a FINRA member in 1997. From 1997 until February 2010, Benevento was a registered representative of AXA Advisors, LLC. Thereafter, from March 2010, until March 2015, Benevento was associated with American Portfolios.

FINRA alleged that, Benevento recommended 29 mutual fund switch transactions in three customer accounts without having reasonable grounds for believing that the transactions were suitable for the those customers due to the frequency of the transactions and the costs incurred due to the switches. In these transactions, FINRA alleged that Benevento recommended that the customers sell Class A mutual fund shares within as little as two to three months after recommending the purchase of them. These purchases were made in different mutual fund families than the previous purchase.