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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_95643673According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Salvatore Gioe (Gioe) has been the subject of at least 11 customer complaints, one judgment and lien of over $197,000, and one regulatory action over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Gioe alleging a litany of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trades, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and false statements, churning, margin fraud, among other claims. Many of the claims involve recommendations in penny stocks and other speculative securities.

Gioe was also suspended by the state of Arkansas for one year concerning allegation that in 2013, Gioe contacted an Arkansas resident through a cold call solicitation and recommended the purchase of Uni-Pixel, Inc. However, unfortunately for Gioe the cold caller turned out to be a securities examiner with the state of Arkansas. The examiner then sat and listed as Gioe allegedly told the examiner that he had information suggesting the price of Uni-Pixel would rise from its current price of $15.65 to about $25. The examiner asked Gioe if Uni-Pixel stock was a sure thing and Gioe allegedly responded saying that he did. However, according to Arkansas Uni-Pixel was a distressed company and this information was never disclosed to the examiner on the call.

An examination of Gioe’s employment history reveals that Gioe moves from troubled firm to troubled firm. The pattern of brokers moving in this way is sometimes called “cockroaching” within the industry. See More Than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities, The Wall Street Journal, (Oct. 4, 2013). In Gioe’s 14 year career he has worked at 13 different firms.

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