Articles Tagged with Dawson James Securities

shutterstock_177792281-300x198According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Paul DiPietro (DiPietro) has been subject to eight customer complaints during the course of his career.  DiPietro is currently employed by Dawson James Securities, Inc. (Dawson James).  Many of the customer complaints against DiPietro concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.

In April 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging his account was churned and placed in unsuitable securities by the representatives at Dawson James and Spartan form January 2015 through September 2015.  The claim alleged $100,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In December 2015 a customer filed a complaint alleging that DiPietro failed to follow instructions and failed to execute orders causing losses of $126,105.  The claim was withdrawn.

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shutterstock_176284139-300x200Investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Dawson James Securities, Inc. (Dawson James Securities) broker Thomas Curtis (Curtis). According to BrokerCheck Records, Curtis has been subject to 6 customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve unsuitable investment recommendations and the false representation of investments.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that Curtis misrepresented the nature of securities and provided unsuitable investment recommendations to the customer. The customer is requesting $4,952,610 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In October 2015, a customer alleged that from October 2014 to September 2015, Curtis misrepresented the material facts of the investments recommended. The customer has requested $100,000 for damages.

shutterstock_20354401-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Patrick Maddren (Maddren) has been subject to two customer complaints and two tax liens.  Maddren is currently registered with WestPark Capital, Inc. (WestPark Capital).  In March 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker engaged in churning (excessive trading), material misrepresentations and omissions, unauthorized trading, unsuitable recommendations, and breach of contract among other claims.  The claim alleged $1,000,000 in damages and is now settled.

In 2012 several tax liens were filed against Maddren in amounts totaling over $300,000.  Large tax liens on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.

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_103681238The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Marc Kalter (Kalter).  According to BrokerCheck records Kalter has been the subject of at least six customer complaints and two regulatory actions.  The customer complaints against Kalter allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in July 2016 and alleged breach of fiduciary duty and unsuitable investments causing $76,043 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.  Also in March 2016 another investor filed a similar complaint and alleged breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, and churning causing $182,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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_94632238In May 2016 the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a five-count indictment in New York against nine defendants including Jared Mitchell, the Managing Partner of Mitchell & Sullivan Capital LLC; Richard Brown, a registered broker with Chelsea Financial Services; Christopher Castaldo, the Chief Executive Officer of Stock Traders Press Inc. and the President of Wall Street Buy Sell Hold Inc.; Gerald Cocuzzo, also known as “Gerry,” a registered broker formerly with Newbridge Securities Corporation; Naveed Khan, also known as “Nick,” a registered broker formerly with Meyers Associates, L.P.; Herschel Knippa III, also known as “Tres,” the owner and Head Trader at Kenai Capital Management LLC; Maroof Miyana, a registered broker formerly with Legend Securities; Pranav Patel, a registered broker formerly with Dawson James Securities; and Louis Petrossi, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Research Institute.

The DOJ’s charges involve the unlawful sale and activity related to stock ForceField Energy Inc. (ForceField), a publicly-traded company under the ticker symbol “FNRG.”  The charges include securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making a false statement to law enforcement officials in connection with the fraudulent market manipulation of the stock.

The DOJ alleged that the defendants employed of scheme together with dishonest registered brokers to perpetrate an elaborate but fraudulent scheme built on lies, kickbacks and manipulated trading activity.  The defendants essentially used a company with no business operations and little revenue and deceived the market and their clients into believing it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars through unauthorized trades and deceptive promotions.

shutterstock_177231071The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Peyton Jackson (Jackson).  According to BrokerCheck records Jackson has been subject to at least eleven customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Jackson allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, fraud, misrepresentation, negligence, and violations of industry rules among other claims.  Many of the complaints involve equities and private placements.

In addition, in April 2016, FINRA settled a regulatory action against Jackson alleging that he failed to disclose certain outside business activities and an outside brokerage account to his employing brokerage firms. According to FINRA, Jackson failed to disclose in writing to his firms that he offered investment banking, investor relations, commercial marketing, and Eastern Europe business development services through an outside entity that he controlled, received compensation for insurance services from another outside entity, and served as a successor trustee on behalf of a third party outside entity. FINRA also determined that Jackson failed to disclose to his firms the existence of a brokerage account that he opened in the name of an outside business entity owned by and controlled by him.

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_103476707In a memo available online, Dawson James Securities, Inc. (Dawson James) stated that it acted as the sole underwriter for a February 25, 2015 offering for Great Basin Scientific, Inc. (Great Basin) (stock symbol: GBSN). Great Basin is a molecular diagnostics company that commercializes technologies that improve ease-of-use and delivers sample-to-result molecular diagnostic testing. According to Dawson James, at the time of the offering, Great Basin traded at $2.55 and had a market cap of approximately $15 million. Despite having only a market capitalization of only $15 million Dawson James rose $24 million of up to 2,724,000 units at $8.80 per unit price of Series E preferred stock and eight Series C warrants. Each share of Series E preferred stock was to be convertible into four common stock shares.

The Dawson James offering has many signs of a classic pump and dump penny stock scheme. After the offering the stock price for the company reach a high of almost $5 in April 2015. However, since that time the price of Great Basin has collapsed to about only $.06 per share wiping out shareholders. Back in April 2015, Dawson James claimed that Great Basin had announced a strong quarter and updated investors on their progress and receiving of a significant patent award.

In a Seeking Alpha article, a writer stated that the Dawson James offering gave cause for concern due to Dawson James’ past regulatory infractions and its association with one of its previous brokers who was arrested in connection with a nationwide Ponzi Scheme. In addition, the Seeking Alpha article cited other instances where Dawson James has had other investment banking relationships with other stocks that considered to be pump and dumps as well as with a Chinese company accused of fraud whose registration was revoked by the SEC. Importantly, prior to the Dawson James offering Great Basin had only 5 million outstanding shares and that the February 2015 secondary offering created convertible preferred stock and warrants that will allow an additional 35 million Great Basin shares that would undoubtedly flood the market and collapse the company’s stock.

shutterstock_155045255The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned brokerage firm Dawson James Securities, Inc., (Dawson James) concerning allegations that the firm did not provide for supervision reasonably designed to comply with certain applicable securities laws and regulations.

FINRA has stated that at a minimum, written supervisory procedures should describe: (a) identification of the individual responsible for supervision; (b) supervisory steps and review procedurals to be taken by the supervisor; (c) the frequency of reviews; and (d) the documentation of reviews. FINRA found that the Dawson James’ written supervisory procedures failed to provide for one or more of the four above-cited minimum requirements for adequate written supervisory procedures for conduct concerning: (1) disclosure of potential conflicts of interests to clients; (2) trading in the opposite direction of solicited customer transactions; (3) certain broker sales practice concerns such as unauthorized trading, suitability, excessive trading, and free-riding; (4) concentration of securities in clients’ accounts; (5) the sharing of profits and losses in clients’ accounts; (6) wash transactions; (7) coordinated trading; and, (8) the review of representatives’ electronic communications, among other violations.

FINRA alleged that the firm failed to investigate numerous ”red flags” relating to the activities of one registered representative referred to by the initials “DM”, including: (1) numerous exceptions generated on the firm’ s supervisory reports which included commissions charged to DM’s clients; (2) high concentrations of one security in DM’s clients’ accounts; and, (3) numerous cancel rebill requests for DM’s clients’ accounts. FINRA also found that James Dawson failed to enforce its written supervisory procedures that required electronic correspondence be reviewed on a daily basis. FINRA also found that from January 2007 through February 2008, the firm failed to ensure that the firm’s Head Trader, referred to as the initials “AE” carried out his delegated supervisory responsibilities relating to proprietary trading; trade reporting; clock synchronization; short sale compliance; compliance with the manning rule; mark ups and mark downs; and, compliance with inventory guidelines.