Articles Tagged with Caldwell International Securities

shutterstock_155271245The investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a regulatory complaint filed (Disciplinary Proceedings No. 2014039091903) by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against brokerage firm Caldwell International Securities Corp. [CRD No. 104323], and its employees Greg Caldwell [CRD No. 2816295], Lennie Freiman [CRD No. 1007506], Paul Jacobs [CRD No. 4658235], Alain Florestan [CRD No. 2818942], Alex Etter [CRD No. 2981742], Lucas Lichtman [CRD No. 5542092], Richard Lim [CRD No. 4949289], and Richard Lee [CRD No. 2768039]. FINRA’s allegations are that For more than three and a half years, Respondent Caldwell International Securities Corp. (Caldwell) “put profits before customers, growth before compliance, and subterfuge before transparency.” FINRA alleged Caldwell has a “culture of non-compliance” causing there to be serious sales practice, supervisory, and reporting violations.

Our firm has written several articles on brokers associated with or previously employed by Caldwell concerning similar allegations by customers and regulators. See FINRA Bars Broker Ricardo Fancois During Investigation Into Sales Practices; FINRA Bars Broker Honetta Kao During Investigation Into Sales Practices; FINRA Bars Broker James Starks During Investigation Into Sales Practices; FINRA Bars Broker Marat (a/k/a Matt) Zeltser; FINRA Bars Richard Adams Over Churning Customer Accounts; FINRA Files Complaint Against Chris Fulco Over US Coal Corporation Transactions

FINRA alleged that from December 2010 through July 2014 Caldwell through Greg Caldwell, Lennie Freiman, and Paul Jacobs, failed to enforce a supervisory system reasonably tailored to its business model that allowed many of its brokers to recommend an unsuitable active trading investment strategy that the representatives did not understand and which caused significant financial losses to customers while generating substantial profits for the firm. FINRA also alleged that other brokers at Caldwell were allowed to engage in trading with discretion without authorization, and trading which exceeded the benchmarks for excessive trading and churning without any meaningful supervision of this activity. FINRA found that Caldwell and its principals were aware of virtually all of this misconduct but took no meaningful steps to stop the activity or supervise it because doing so would reduce the commissions and fees being generated from their customers.

shutterstock_102242143The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the termination by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) of broker Ricardo Fancois (Fancois). According to BrokerCheck records Fancois is subject to one regulatory action, one investigation, and two judgement or lien.

FINRA terminated Fancois after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in July 2015. Prior to that time, in March 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Fancois alleging potential willful violations of the securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. Because FINRA terminated Fancois due to the broker’s failure to respond to the regulator’s requests for information, there is no additional information listed with specifics of Fancois’ alleged wrongdoing. Prior to that time Fancois was subject to over $3,000 in liens.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_179921270The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Honetta Kao (Kao). According to BrokerCheck records Kao is subject to two customer complaints, one regulatory action, onr investigation, and one financial matter.

FINRA terminated Kao after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in August 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Kao alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. In addition, in April 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kao mishandled the account and provided bad advice. The complaint is pending. Another client alleged in May 2013, that Kao engaged in unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trading.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_20354401The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker James Starks (Starks). According to BrokerCheck records Starks is subject to one regulatory action, two investigations, and one criminal matter.

FINRA terminated Starks after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in July 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Starks alleging potential willful violations of the FINRA rules. Prior to that time, in March 2014, FINRA opened another investigation into Starks alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_177231056The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Marat (a/k/a Matt) Zeltser (Zeltser). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least one customer complaint, one regulatory, one investigation, and one employment separation that have been filed against Zeltser. The customer complaints against Zeltser alleges a number of securities law violations including that the broker invested money in triple leveraged ETFs over long periods of time among other claims. The claim is currently pending.

FINRA terminated Zeltser after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in August 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Zeltser alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. Prior to that, Zeltser was discharged from Pointe Capital, Inc. for violating the firm’s advertising policy and the use of unapproved communications.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_62862913The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Rasheed a/k/a Richard Adams (Adams) (FINRA No. 2015045911001) resulting in a bar from the securities industry alleging that between July 2013, and June 2014, Adams engaged in unsuitable excessive trading and churning in two of his customers’ accounts. In addition, FINRA alleged that Adams willfully failed to amend his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration and Transfer (Form U4) to disclose 12 unsatisfied judgments and liens.

Adams first became associated with a FINRA member in 1997. From May 2002, until August 2010, Adams was associated with E1 Asset Management, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2010, until June 2011, Adams was associated with PHD Capital, Finally, from June 2011, until May 2015, Adams was associated with Caldwell International Securities out of their New York, New York office location. In 2010, Adams created and was the 100% owner of Adams Wealth Management, Inc. (AWM).

According to FINRA, from July 2013, to June 2014, Adams exercised de facto control over two customers’ accounts referred to by the initials “AD” and “PV”. FINRA found that Adams excessively and unsuitably traded and churned AD’s account and PV’s account in a manner that was inconsistent with those customers’ investment objectives, financial situations, and needs. Specifically, FINRA found Adams’ trading activity was inappropriate because it resulted in a turnover rate in AD’s account of 16.14, and a cost-to-equity ratio of 70.99% while in PV’s account the turnover ratio was 19.16 and the cost-to-equity ratio was 91.96%. FINRA found that the improper trading activity in these two accounts resulted in losses of approximately $37,000 and generated commissions of approximately $57,000.

shutterstock_95643673The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently filed a complaint against broker Chris Fulco (Fulco) concerning allegations that Fulco facilitated the sale of stock in US Coal Corporation, Inc. (US Coal), in numerous private securities transactions away from his firm, aslo known as “selling away” in the industry. FINRA alleged that Fulco received significant compensation for facilitating these transactions in the amount of $601,159.  In addition, FINRA alleged that Fulco lied to FINRA about his involvement in these transactions by providing false sworn testimony that many of the wire transfers he received were not related to sales of US Coal shares but rather were payments for his role in transactions involving gold. Further, FINRA alleged that Fulco tried to encourage the primary seller of US Coal securities in the transactions, known by the initials “LF”, not to appear for his scheduled testimony or to testify falsely about the transactions in order to corroborate Fulco’s own false testimony. Finally, FINRA alleged that Fulco failed to timely disclose to FINRA a lien and civil judgment entered against him.

Fulco entered the securities industry in 1999. From June 2007 to June 2010, Fulco was registered with vFinance Investments, Inc. (vFinance). From July 2010 to February 2011, he was registered with Charles Morgan Securities, Inc. (Charles Morgan). Thereafter, from March 2011 to December 2011, he was registered with Caldwell International Securities, Inc. (Caldwell International). Finally, Fulco was registered with Chelsea Financial Services until November 8, 2013.

According to FINRA, in or around August 2009, LF engaged vFinance and another individual referred to as “PCA”, to help sell his shares in US Coal, a non-public company that produces coal in Appalachia. LF acquired US Coal shares through various entities in or around 2006 after helping found the company. In or around September 2009, FINRA alleged that vFinance approved Fulco facilitation of the sale of 300,000 shares of LF’s US Coal stock to a customer referred to by the initials “MM”, a vFinance customer.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently found that broker Dimitrios Koutsoubos (Koutsoubos) churned the brokerage account of Teddy Bryant (Bryant).  The SEC’s decision ordered Koutsoubos to: (1) cease and desist from committing fraud; (2) be barred from association with a broker, dealer, investment adviser, (3) disgorge $30,000 plus prejudgment interest, and (4) pay civil penalties of $130,000.

The SEC allegations against Koutsoubos also involved several other J.P. Turner & Company, LLC (JP Turner) registered representatives including Michael Bresner (Bresner), Ralph Calabro (Calabro), and James Konner (Konner).  The SEC alleged that Calabro, Konner, and Koutsoubos between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, churned the accounts of seven customers by engaging in excessive trading for their own gains in disregard of their clients’ investment objectives and risk tolerances.  The SEC claimed that Calabro, Konner, and Koutsoubos generated fees and commissions totaling around $845,000, for their benefit while the clients suffered aggregate losses of approximately $2,700,000.

JP Turner is a registered broker-dealer headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with two majority owners.  From 2008 to 2009, JP Turner had approximately 200 small or one-person branch offices.  Koutsoubos joined JP Turner in 2000 and left in 2009.  Thereafter, Koutsoubos became employed with Caldwell International Securities Corporation.