Articles Tagged with Financial Network Investment Corporation

shutterstock_39128059-300x174The investment and securities fraud attorneys of Gana LLP are investigating potential recovery options for investors with broker Glenn Charles Wiggle Jr (Wiggle). According to BrokerCheck records Charles Wiggle has been subject to four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints allege unsuitable investments, and misrepresentation among other claims.

The most recent customer claim was filed in September 2015 alleging that in 2007, Wiggle recommended unsuitable investments in speculative securities such as Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners causing $500,000.00 in damages. The claim settled for $109,000.00. In addition, a customer filed a claim in April 2011 alleging that from December 2007 to October 2010, the broker made unsuitable investments in REIT purchases and purchased equities without prior consent, causing $100,000.00 in damages. This claim settled for $55,000.00.

Our firm has represented many clients who invested in REITs, the Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners. All of these investments come with high costs and historically have under-performed, even safe benchmarks like U.S. treasury bonds. For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products (if they can be redeemed). However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.

shutterstock_178801082The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred broker Joseph Pappalardo (Pappalardo) concerning allegations that between August 2008, and August 2012, Pappalardo, while associated with Financial Network Investment Corporation (n/k/a Cetera Advisor Network LLC), made fraudulent and misleading misrepresentations to a customer in the sale of private securities, converted customer funds for his personal use, engaged in private securities transactions (a/k/a “selling away”), failed to disclose several outside business activities, and failed to amend his U4.

Pappalardo joined Financial Network Investment Corporation in 2008 and was required to complete a several questionnaires including disclosures of outside business activities. In 2008, FINRA alleged that Pappalardo disclosed on the questionnaire that he had previously been involved with a real estate company he formed in 2003 called Coast-2-Coast Properties (C2C) that was in the business of buying, renovating, and selling houses but that the company was no longer in business. FINRA alleged that Pappalardo’s statement was false. In fact, FINRA found that Pappalardo was involved in several outside business activities that he failed to disclose to Cetera including ongoing involvement in C2C and its marketing arm Prosperity Financial Estate Planning and Insurance Services (Prosperity Financial).

Thereafter, FINRA found that Pappalardo solicited customers to invest in these businesses. In one instance, FINRA found that Pappalardo solicited the sale of a $100,000 investment in Prosperity Financial which Pappalardo converted for his personal use. In total, FINRA found that Pappalardo solicited C2C to at least 6 customers and purported to offer investors 12% interest returns on profits generated by the business. FINRA found that the investors did not actually own any portion of the real estate properties held by C2C but instead were to receive interest returns on profits from Pappalardo and the business. FINRA found that by engaging in the C2C private securities Pappalardo violated the FINRA rules.

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