Articles Tagged with Failure to Supervise

shutterstock_20354401-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against John P. Correnti (Correnti), working out of Cleveland, Ohio. Correnti allegedly failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents related to an investigation into claims that Correnti engaged in undisclosed outside business activities. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry.

Correnti began his securities career in 2007. From 2007 until 2015, Correnti was associated with MVP Financial. He moved to Forest Securities in 2015 and was with them for less than a year. Finally, he moved to AXA Advisors where he was terminated in less than a year.

According to BrokerCheck records, Correnti was terminated by AXA Advisors in July 2016 “due to his apparent involvement in the possible market manipulation of a low price security.”

shutterstock_32215765-300x200The securities and investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Malcolm Segal (Segal). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck record, there are at least 11 disclosures on Segal’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one employment separation from Aegis Capital Corp. The customer complaints against Segal allege misappropriation of customers’ funds, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.

Throughout his career with Aegis, Segal received number customer complaints:

January 2016: Alleging misappropriation of funds and misrepresentation. The damage amount requested is $135,000.00. This complaint is currently pending.

shutterstock_184149845-300x246The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are following the case against broker Jeffrey Kluge (Kluge) who pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud in the state of Minnesota. A plead agreement was filed with the U.S. District Court in Minnesota on March 29, 2017. Kluge entered the securities industry in 1991 and remained with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. for the entirety of his career. Kluge started a scheme to create fraudulent Merrill Lynch account statements to falsely secure collateral for multi-million lines of credit. Kluge was able to carry out this scheme by creating a fake domain name, www.mymerrillonline.com, and fake email address, pledgecontrol@mymerrillonline.com, to send the falsified account statements to Platinum Bank. A false Merrill Lynch identity was used as a cover for the email address. Kluge ran this fraudulent scheme for 15 years, starting in 2001 to November 2016.

In 2001, Kluge received a line of credit for $150,000 from Alliance Bank by putting up municipal bond funds as collateral. These bond funds were substantiated by falsified account statements that hid the fact that the same bonds were already pledged to Merrill Lynch loans previously obtained by Kluge. The outstanding balance of Alliance Bank line of credit was at $6 million in November 2016.

Utilizing the same scheme for Alliance Bank, Kluge was able to secure a $1 million line of credit from Platinum Bank in Minnesota. He procured this line of credit by putting up the same assets used for Merrill Lynch and Alliance Bank.  The Platinum Bank line of credit balance was at $2.7 million as of November 2016.

shutterstock_132704474-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Swan Sihua Shen (Shen) also known as Swan Sihua Zhang. According to BrokerCheck records there are at least six disclosures on Shen’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one employment separation from CUNA Brokerage Services.

The most recent regulatory action against Shen was filed by the Maine office of Securities in October 2016 alleging that she failed to disclose history records so as a result was ordered for heightened supervision for 2 years.

In February 2015, the State of Massachusetts filed a claim against Swan Shen alleging that she repeatedly violated firm policies by copying and pasting client signatures, and altering forms which was precipitated by her termination from CBS in August 2013.

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Tracy Rae Turner (Turner). According to BrokerCheck records, Turner has been subject to at least 31 customer complaints, two employment separations for cause, one regulatory, and one financial among other claims during his 22 years of experience. The customer complaints against Turner alleges securities law violations that including unauthorized trading, fraud, breach of contract, negligence, and failure to supervise among other claims.

In a FINRA regulatory action against Turner in November 2016, the agency alleged that he offered and sold interests to investors totaling approximately $4.1 million without giving prior notice to and receiving prior written permission from his member firm. For successfully soliciting these investments, Turner received approximately $270,000 in compensation. A decision was rendered in April 2017 which resulted in barring Turner from FINRA association and fining him for $272, 879.04. The findings of the decision also alleged that Turner created a publically available offering memorandum to market sales of interest in private securities without providing a sound evaluation of investments and included false and misleading statements.

In June 2009, Turner was permitted to resign from his position at CapWest Securities, Inc. for conducting sales in states where he was not registered.

shutterstock_188383739The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Thomas Stamborski (Stamborski) working out of Palatine, Illinois alleging that the broker failed to disclose certain changes to an outside business activity.  According to the FINRA regulatory action (FINRA No. 2015044783401) Stamborski consented sanctions in the form of a permanent bar because he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course their investigation into allegations concerning his resignation from his member firm, LaSalle St Securities, LLC (LaSalle St). LaSalle St allowed Stamborski to resign after it was alleged that he failed to update an Outside Business Activity with his firm when a material change occurred.

As a background, the providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible outside business activities and private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Stamborski outside business activities.  However, according to Stamborski’s public records his outside business activities includes Axis Financial Corporation.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

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shutterstock_128856874The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a regulatory complaint (Disciplinary No. 1013038289101) filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker James Nixon (Nixon). FINRA alleged that Nixon failed to provide prior written notice to Bridge Capital Associates, Inc. (Bridge Capital), his then employing brokerage firm, before selling $600,000 of convertible promissory notes – practice referred to as “selling away” in the industry. FINRA found that Nixon provided detailed written notice to Bridge Capital only after he had already disseminated investor presentations to approximately 40 potential investors and completed sales to three accredited investor. In addition, FINRA alleged that Nixon provided investor presentations that contained exaggerated and misleading statements about the issuer of the promissory notes, by the initials BRT, and failed to include a meaningful risk disclosure.

Nixon entered the securities industry in 1987. Nixon was registered with Bridge Capital Associates since December 2007 until September 2013, when Bridge Capital discharged Nixon in connection with the conduct concerning FINRA’s allegations. Shortly after Bridge Capital terminated his registrations Nixon became registered with a different firm, Source Capital Group, Inc. out of the firm’s Westport, Connecticut office location.

FINRA found that the promissory notes were offered without a PPM and that instead the notes were offered through an investor PowerPoint presentation that Nixon prepared in conjunction with the issuer. FINRA found that the investor presentation was devoid of any cautionary language specific to the promissory notes and that the prospects for notes were presented in very optimistic terms and stated financial projections at aggressive multiples without sources or support for such representations. FINRA found these representations to violate its communications rules.

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shutterstock_188606033The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Brian Zimmerman (Zimmerman). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 5 customer complaints that have been filed against Zimmerman. The customer complaints against Zimmerman allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, failure to supervise, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint against Zimmerman filed in July 2014 alleges that Zimmerman breached his fiduciary duty, negligence, and misrepresentations in the handling of the customer’s account leading to $128,405 in damages. The claim is currently pending.

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.

The number of customer complaints against Zimmerman is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.

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shutterstock_123758422The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Keith Connolly (Connolly). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 13 customer complaints against Connolly. The customer complaints against Connolly allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, failure to supervise, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in October 2014 alleged churning, negligence, unsuitability, overconcentration resulting in damages of $187,855 in damages. The claim is still pending. In August 2014, another client filed a complaint alleging administering the customer’s brokerage accounts claiming damages of 776,326. The claim was resolved settling for $450,000.

As a background, 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.

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shutterstock_1081038The investment attorneys of Gana LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Michael Rosenmayer (Rosenmayer). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rosenmayer has been the subject of at least 17 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Rosenmayer allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, failure to supervise, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. The most recent complaint was filed in July 2014, and alleged $40,698 in damages due to claims that the broker omitted information concerning the security that was purchased and that it was inappropriate given the client’s age and health.

Rosenmayer entered the securities industry in 1993. From February 2003, until June 2007, Rosenmayer was associated with RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. Since June 2007 onward Rosenmayer has been associated with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. out of the firm’s Los Angeles, California branch office location.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.

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