Articles Tagged with false representations

shutterstock_172154582-300x197The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints concerning alleged misrepresentation and an employment separation filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Elaine Marie Zito (Zito). According to BrokerCheck records, Zito has been in the securities industry since 1997 and is currently working for Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The most recent customer complaint against Zito was filed in April 2017 alleging that she misrepresented the client’s account regarding the purchase of a variable annuity back in 2006. Zito was employed at Woodbury Financial Services, Inc during the alleged misrepresentation. The case is currently pending.

During November 2016, Zito was discharged from Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) for allegedly violating the firm’s rules and regulations in relation to unauthorized use of discretion of mutual funds.

shutterstock_26813263-300x199The securities and investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Paul Kolf (Kolf). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck records for Kolf, there are at least 6 disclosures on Kolf’s record including customer complaints and regulatory actions resulting in being barred from FINRA. The customer complaints against Kolf allege securities law violations that claim fraud, unsuitable investments, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Kolf was barred permanently from FINRA on September 2016. FIRNA ruled that he violated Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and FINRA Rules 2020 and 2010 by selling at least $588,000 worth of misrepresented securities to his clients. The securities resulted in being falsified by Kolf and the clients’ funds were used to fund his personal business expenses. He created false statements for his clients to show their interests in these investments that they were not aware were fake.

The most current customer complaint pending against Kolf was from November 2016, alleging Kolf used client funds for personal expenses. This claim occurring during Kolf’s employment at MSI Financial Services, Inc. The customer alleged losses of $29,000.00. A second customer complaint was submitted in December 2016 regarding Kolf’s actions while employed at MSI Financial Services, Inc. The customer alleged that Kolf made inappropriate recommendations to purchase a variable life insurance policy and alleged damages of $54,701.00. This complaint is still pending. The third customer complaint was lodged in December 2016 alleging that Kolf misrepresented the benefits of transferring money from one firm into variable annuities. This allegation occurred in February 2014 when Kolf was with MSI Financial Services, Inc. and is still pending.

shutterstock_836360The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against broker Daniel McCourt (McCourt) concerning allegations McCourt participated in private securities transactions, also known as “selling away”, without providing prior written notice to his member firm. In addition, FINRA alleged that McCourt provided false information and falsified documents to a mortgage company for a client to help the client qualify for a home loan.

McCourt first entered the securities industry in 1984. In 1985 McCourt associated with FINRA firm Foothill Securities, Inc. (Foothill). McCourt remained registered with Foothill until he was permitted to resign on or about June 7, 2013, due to “possible violations of firm policies and procedures.”

FINRA alleged that at various times from May 2005 through May 2009, McCourt participated in private securities transactions without providing Foothill prior written notice of the transactions. FINRA alleged that in or around 1990, McCourt notified Foothill that he wanted to begin an outside business activity in a coffee business. According to McCourt’s brokercheck the coffee business is called Surf City Coffee Co., Inc. (Surf City). Foothill approved McCourt’s involvement with Surf City.

shutterstock_185582The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently brought a complaint against Source Capital Group, Inc. (Source Capital) broker Donald Saccomano (Saccomano) alleging misconduct in connection with suitability, false representation, and failure to supervise claims relating to Direct Participation Products, limited partnerships, and municipal debt securities. FINRA has not released detailed information concerning the pending complaint but this is only one of several recent actions FINRA has taken against Source Capital and its financial advisors in recent years.

As we recently reported, FINRA filed a complaint against former Source Capital broker Joseph Hooper (Hooper) alleging that Hooper was working for a company called the iPractice Group, Inc. (iPractice) in a capacity that included solicited and participating in the sale of iPractice stock to customers. In that complaint FINRA alleged that Hooper was compensated for his activities. FINRA alleged that Hooper participated in 53 private securities transactions involving 41 investors or investor groups and a total of $3,400,648 worth of iPractice stock. In return, FINRA alleged that Hooper received $425,081 and more than 21,000 shares of iPractice stock as compensation for his activities.

Previously, our firm wrote about supervisory and disclosure issues at Source Capital, including FINRA’s action against Source Capital and certain principals concerning the failure of the firm’s brokers to adequately disclose material facts and the transaction of sales through misstatements. The allegations in FINRA’s action concerned certain oil and gas partnership interests in Blue Ridge Securities (Blue Ridge) and Argyle Securities. (Argyle) offered by Source Capital.

shutterstock_176351714The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought a complaint against broker David Escarcega (Escarcega) concerning allegations that Escarcega recommended unsuitable investments in Renewable Secured Debentures of GWG, Inc. (GWG Debentures). Escarcega is not the first Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street) broker that has been investigated by FINRA in connection with their GWG sales or the supervision of such sales. As we have reported FINRA recently sanctioned Michael Wurdinger (Wurdinger) concerning allegations that from approximately February 2012, to February 2013, Wurdinger failed to adequately supervise sales of GWG Debentures. In a related but separate action concerning Center Street’s supervision of the sale of the GWG debentures, Anil Vazirani (Vazirani) was found to not be appropriately registered with the firm but nonetheless solicited sales of the debentures through communications with prospective customers, discussed the details of the debentures features as an investment, recommended the purchase of the product, and assisted seven customers to complete documents in order to purchase the GWG Debentures.

As a background, GWG Holdings, Inc. purchases life insurance policies on the secondary market at a discount to the face value of the insurance policies. GWG then pays the policy premiums until the insured dies and GWG then collects the insurance benefit making a profit, hopefully, by collecting more upon the maturity of the policies than the payment of the policy and servicing of the premiums. According to FINRA, the company has a limited operating history and has yet to be profitable. The prospectus for GWG stated that the investments were speculative and involve a high degree of risk, including the possibility of risk of loss of the entire investment. An investment in the GWG Debentures, as a private placement, is illiquid and investors will not have access to their principal prior to maturity.

In Escarcega’s case, FINRA alleged that Between March 2012, and January 2013, Escarcega violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws as well as numerous FINRA and NASD rules while selling more than $1.8 million of GWG Debentures to his customers. According to FINRA, Escarcega made false and misleading oral and written statements to seven customers in connection with their purchases of the GWG Debentures. FINRA found that Escarcega falsely told the customers that the Debentures were safe, low-risk, liquid, or guaranteed. For example, on one form, FINRA found that Escarcega described the GWG Debentures as having “a guaranteed interest payment” and providing a “guaranteed rate of return.”

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