Articles Tagged with Forgery

shutterstock_164634200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstien LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Donnell Bowen (Bowen). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulative Authority (FINRA), Bowen has been subject to 13 customer disputes, one financial action, one regulatory action, termination from employment, and a civil lien. The majority of these disputes concern unauthorized changes and forgery of customer signatures on life insurance/variable annuity forms.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that Bowen forged the customer’s signature on nonvariable insurnace documents to convert the term life insurance policies into whole life insurance policies. The case was settled at $50.

Shortly after, in January 2017, Bowen was permitted to resign from Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC (Northwestern Mutual) while under investigation for alleged forgery of customer signatures on documents.

shutterstock_102242143As we previously reported, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred financial advisor Matthew Davis (Davis) concerning allegations of misconduct in several customer accounts. Davis was associated with Beneficial Investment Services, Inc. from November 2008, through April 2010. Thereafter, Davis was associated with OneAmerica Securities, Inc. (OneAmerica) from April 2010, through July 2013. The allegations of misconduct included claims of conversion, misrepresentation of customer holdings and account value, forgery, discretionary unauthorized trading, attempts to settle a customer complaint without the firm’s knowledge, and unsuitable investment recommendations.

In a new regulatory action, FINRA alleged that OneAmerica failed to supervise Davis and ignored numerous red flags of misconduct concerning his activities. For instance, FINRA alleged that two customers opened a OneAmerica account with Davis identifying the husband as a 65 years-old and earning between $50,001-75,000 per year. His wife was a “Homemaker” and the couple’s stated Net Worth, excluding their residence, was “$250,001-500,000″ and they had only two years of investment experience limited to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Only three weeks later the couple signed an Option Agreement and were approved to trade options. FINRA found that Davis rapidly traded the options account executing 55 options transactions in May 2012; 52 options transactions in June 2012; and 53 options transactions in July 2012. This activity, according to FINRA, caused a rapid loss of account equity. FINRA found that there were multiple red flags that should have alerted the OneAmerica’s compliance department that Davis’ recommendations were unsuitable. For example, FINRA found that the couple’s account agreement reported minimal investing experience but their options agreement identified purported options (and commodities) trading experience. Also the couple’s new account agreement reported their Investment Objective as Long Term Growth but whereas their options agreement stated their objectives included speculation and hedging. Finally, FINRA alleged that the couple’s new account agreement reported their net worth was $250,000-500,000, whereas the options agreement stated their Net Worth was $640,000.

shutterstock_175000886The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred financial advisor Matthew Davis (Davis) concerning allegations that in connection with a FINRA investigation into allegations of misconduct in several customer accounts, FINRA staff scheduled Davis’ on-the-record (OTR) testimony and Davis failed to appear for the scheduled testimony and informed the agency that he would not appear at another time.

Davis was associated with Beneficial Investment Services, Inc. from November 2008, through April 2010. Thereafter, Davis was associated with OneAmerica Securities, Inc. (OneAmerica) from April 2010, through July 2013. He is not currently associated with a FINRA member.

FlNRA alleged that its staff requested that Davis appear and provide testimony on March 24, 2014, regarding allegations that Davis engaged in misconduct in several customer accounts. The allegations of misconduct included claims of conversion, misrepresentation of customer holdings and account value, forgery, discretionary unauthorized trading, attempts to settle a customer complaint without the firm’s knowledge, and unsuitable investment recommendations. Through Davis’ counsel, FINRA was informed that he would not appear for testimony.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has permanently barred broker Mark Christopher Hotton (Hotton) alleging that the broker engaged in numerous and repeated frauds including forgery, falsification of documents, conversion, misuse of funds, manipulating account records, churning, unauthorized trading, false testimony, and providing false information and documents to FINRA.

FINRA alleged that starting from at least 2006, Hotton engaged in numerous fraudulent investment schemes to steal at least $5,932,000 from his brokerage customers.  FINRA admitted that due to the complexity of the fraud that it had not been able to track down Hotton’s entire use and receipt of ill-gotten funds.  According to FINRA, Hotton converted funds from his customers by using his control over the bank accounts of various corporate entities to divert funds that his customers believed were being invested in legitimate businesses.

Fom November 2002 until November 2005, Hotton was associated with Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., Inc., From November 2005 until February 2009, Hotton was associated with Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (Oppenheimer).  While at Oppenheimer, Hotton focused on clients with an average net worth of between $1,000,000 and $20,000,000.  Thereafter, Hotton was a registered representative of American Capital Partners, LLC until August 2010.  From September 2010 until March 2012, Hotton was associated with Alexander Capital, L.P.  Finally, from February 2012 until May 2012, Hutton was associated with Obsidian Financial Group, LLC.  Obsidian terminated Hotton’s registration on May 31, 2012.

August 27, 2013 – The Securities and Exchange Commission  sanctioned a former portfolio manager at a Boulder, Colo.-based investment adviser for forging documents and misleading the firm’s chief compliance officer to conceal his failure to report personal trades.

An SEC investigation found that Carl Johns of Louisville, Colo., failed to pre-clear or report several hundred securities trades in his personal accounts as required under the federal securities laws and the code of ethics at Boulder Investment Advisers (BIA).  Johns concealed the trades in quarterly and annual trading reports that he submitted to BIA by altering brokerage statements and other documents that he attached to those reports.  Johns later tried to conceal his misconduct by creating false documents that purported to be pre-trade approvals, and misled the firm’s chief compliance officer in her investigation into his improper trading.

To settle the SEC’s charges – which are the agency’s first under Rule 38a-1(c) of the Investment Company Act for misleading and obstructing a chief compliance officer (CCO) – Johns agreed to pay more than $350,000 and be barred from the securities industry for at least five years.