Articles Tagged with Berthel Fisher

shutterstock_103476707-300x212Advisor William Sines (Sines), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concern alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In July 2019 a customer complained that Sines violated the securities laws by alleging that Sines pressured her into liquidating an annuity which cost her thousands of dollars in surrender penalties and lost interest credit in order to invest her into a REIT which she feels was an inappropriate investment.  The claim alleged $38,651 in damages and was closed.

In November 2017 a customer complained that Sines violated the securities laws by alleging that Sines recommended unsuitable investments.  The claim settled for $19,737.

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.

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shutterstock_115971289-269x300Advisor Genevieve Mar (Mar), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one termination for cause during the course of her career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented dozens of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In May 2019 a customer complained that Mar violated the securities laws by alleging that Mar engaged in sales practice violations related to investments purchased between 2010 through 2015 that were unsuitable and misrepresented to them by the representative. The customers also allege that the firm failed to supervise the actions of the representative.  The claim alleges $1,500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Mar violated the securities laws by alleging that Mar engaged in sales practice violations related to investments purchased between 2014 through 2016 were unsuitable, are not preforming as expected, and that the high risk level associated with the investments was not explained to them at the time of purchase. They also allege the firm failed to supervise the actions of the representative.  The claim alleges $250,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_70513588-300x200Advisor Gordon Roberts (Roberts), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel, Fisher) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints mostly concerns alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In March 2019 a customer complained that Roberts violated the securities laws by alleging that the client is disappointed with the overall performance of his investments and was misled into believing that his investments, purchased between 2008-2012, were balanced to protect against substantial and significant losses.  The complaint also alleges that he was not kept informed of the losses in his account which negatively impacted his financial well being. The claim is currently pending.

In January 2013 a customer complained that Roberts violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations from December 2008 through December 2012 causing damages. The claim settled for $45,000.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Neely (Neely), currently employed by St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc. (St. Bernard Financial) has been subject to at least one customer complaint, three regulatory actions, and one employment termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Neely has been accused by FINRA of engaging in unauthorized trading in client accounts.

In November 2018 FINRA settled a regulatory action against Neely stating that Neely consented to sanctions and findings that he exercised discretion in effecting hundreds of transactions in two customers’ brokerage accounts without obtaining written approval from the customers to do so. FINRA also found that the customers verbally authorized Neely to exercise discretion in their accounts but that Neely never sought his firm’s approval to service either customer’s accounts on a discretionary basis. In addition, according to FINRA Neely’s firm prohibited the use of discretion in brokerage accounts altogether.

In September 2018 Neely’s then employer Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) terminated Neely stating that he failed to respond to an inquiry from the compliance department.

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shutterstock_184433255-300x228The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Mason Gann (Gann). According to BrokerCheck Records, Gann has been subject to a regulatory matter in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Gann for violations of the securities laws concerning unauthorized trading. In addition, Gann has been subject to three customer disputes, two of which are still pending.  Gann has also been subject to termination from employment and a tax lien.

In February 2018, Gann was terminated from Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) for allegedly violating the firm’s conditions involving heightened supervision.

Subsequently, in April 2018, FINRA found that Gann had exercised discretionary power in 6 non-discretionary customer accounts without the customer’s prior written approval. By doing so, Gann was in violation of NASD ConductRule 2510 (b) and FINRA Rule 2010.  Gann executed a total of 500 discretionary trades at previous firm of employment Berthel Fisher, where all discretionary trades were prohibited. Without admitting or denying the findings, Gann consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Consequently, FINRA imposed a $5,000 fine and 20 day suspension.

shutterstock_20354398-300x200Current Arete Wealth Management, LLC (Arete Wealth) broker Alvery Bartlett (Bartlett) has been subject to three customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the complaints concern alternative investments, private placements, and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and oil and gas programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In March 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that the investments purchased between 2003 and 2011 were unsuitable and were misrepresented to him.  The client also alleged that the firm failed to conduct adequate due diligence on the investments and failed to supervise the representative.  The claim is currently pending and alleges damages of $6,637,918.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.

shutterstock_120115444-300x198Current Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) broker Jonathan Pyne (Pyne) has been subject to five customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck provided by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the primary regulator for securities broker dealers, many of the complaints concern alternative investments.  Alternative investments include a group of speculative securities such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs), oil & gas programs, equipment leasing, and other direct participation programs.  Our firm has experience handling investor losses caused by these products.

In July 2017 a customer filed a complaint trying to redeem her investment and is alleging that she was misled by the representative into purchasing an investment that she didn’t know was illiquid.  The claim is currently pending.

In September 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging that the investments she purchased in 2008 and 2009 were unsuitable and misrepresented to her by the representative.  The claim was settled for $48,175.

shutterstock_183554579-300x200Our firm is investigating claims made by various regulators and brokerage firms including Axiom Capital Management, Inc. (Axiom) and Financial West Group (FWG) concerning broker Sara Eng (Eng a/k/a Sara Aiping Ng).  Eng is currently associated with brokerage firm Moloney Securities Co., Inc. (Moloney).

The allegations revolve around Eng’s offering of investments to clients.  In October 2015, FWG terminated Eng for cause and allowed Eng to voluntarily resign after allegations were made that   Eng was being placed on heightened supervision for potential violation of firm policy regarding marketing of investments to firm customers.  Thereafter, in September 2016, Axiom terminated Eng for cause for violation of the firm’s policies and procedures regarding email correspondence.  At the same time The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) opened its own investigation into Eng concerning Axiom’s disclosures for Eng’s termination.  At this time it is unclear the exact nature and extent of the investigation.

Eng entered the securities industry in 1997.  From November 2002 until March 2014, Eng was associated with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc.  From February 2014 until November 2015, Eng was associated with FWG.  From October 2015 until September 2016, Eng was registered with Axiom.  Finally, since November 2016 Eng  has been registered with Moloney out of the firm’s Oak Brook, Illinois and Flushing, New York office locations.

shutterstock_52426963The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Donald Levin (Levin) (FINRA No. 2014040335101) alleging that between December and April 2014, Levin hosted a weekly radio show and during that show he made statements that were unbalanced, promissory, misleading and lacked reasonable basis in violation of the FINRA Rules. According to Levin’s BrokerCheck records Levin also has a long and troubled history of customer complaints, regulatory actions, and employment separations. In September 2012, FINRA accepted an settlement with Levin where he accepted the entry of findings that Levin made unwarranted and misleading statements on his weekly radio show. At that time Levin agreed to accept a five month suspension and a $30.000 fine. Going back to December 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a cease and desist order to Levin fining him $25,000 for his violations in the offering and selling mutual fund class A shares to retail customers without adequate disclosure of material information about the availability of breakpoint discounts for which customers could have qualified.

In addition to the regulatory actions, Levin has approximately 15 customer complaints filed against him dating back to 1999. The customer complaints allege a host of securities laws violations concerning a variety of investment products. Some of the more recent complaints allege that Levin failed to conduct due diligence in private placement securities some of which include oil & gas private placements. In another customer complaint, the customer alleged that he was induced to take out a home equity loan in order to purchase securities and suffered losses of $440,000 as a result. Other investor complaints involve alternative investments and mutual funds.

Levin first became associated with a FINRA member in 1980. From 2004 until June 2012, Levin was a registered representative of Milkie/Ferguson Investments, Inc. Thereafter, from June 2012, until September 2012, Levin was associated with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. Finally, from January 2014, unitl August 2014, Levin was a registered representative of Titan Securities.

shutterstock_187532306According to the records kept by the State of Florida, Office of Financial Regulation brokerage firm J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C., (JP Turner) was sanctioned (Administrative Proceeding: 0757-S-12/13) concerning allegations that the firm’s broker, John McGriskin (McGriskin) engaged in mutual fund switching, a form of churning, in client accounts.

From December 2002, until May 9, 2013, McGriskin was an associated person of JP Turner and worked out of the branch located in Palm Coast, Florida, in his home. According to Florida, McGriskin typically purchased Class A shares for his clients. Class A shares of mutual funds come with high front-end sales charges. Florida found that McGriskin sold Class A shares of one mutual fund company and used the proceeds to purchase Class A shares of another mutual fund company resulting in McGriskin’s clients being subject to additional front-end sales charges on those transactions.

In addition, many mutual fund families offer “breakpoint” discounts for total investment amounts equaling certain minimum thresholds across multiple funds with the same fund family. However, Florida found that McGriskin made six mutual fund switching transactions which were not in the same mutual fund family or issuer from August through December of 2010, thirty-six mutual fund switching transactions which were not in the same mutual fund family or issuer in 2011, thirty-seven mutual fund switching transactions which were not in the same mutual fund family or issuer in 2012, and thirty-six mutual fund switching transactions which were not in the same mutual fund family or issuer from January through May of 2013.