Articles Tagged with Fraud

Gana Weinstein LLP represented 19 Claimants in a FINRA arbitration against Anthony Diaz. A panel of arbitrators awarded the Claimants over $4 million. The case was picked up by major publications including the Washington Post and InvestmentNews. Adam Gana, managing partner of Gana Weinstein LLP said his clients “gave their life savings to [Diaz], and he was just a predator who was looking out for his own best interest and not the best interest at my clients.” Gana said he will go after Diaz’s assets and earnings in an attempt to recover the judgment. “We will fight tooth and nail to get these people their money,” he said. “This is not money that our clients can afford to lose.”

Gana Weinstein LLP is a full service law firm that specialized in Securities Arbitration. The firm tenaciously defends investors and aggressively pursues brokerage firms for misconduct.

shutterstock_45316696The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Robert Bragg (Bragg). There are at least 4 customer complaints against Bragg. The customer complaints against Bragg allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. The claims appear to relate to allegations regard direct participation products and limited partnerships such as equipment leasing and non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs). Our firm has written numerous times about investor losses in these types of programs such as equipment leasing programs like LEAF Equipment Leasing Income Funds I-IV and ICON Leasing Funds Eleven and Twelve. Investors are destined to lose money in these investments because the costs and fees associated with these investments make significant returns virtual impossibility. Yet for all of their costs investors are in no way compensated for the additional risks of these products.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2015 and alleged unsuitable investments for investments made between 2005 though August 2013 causing $460,488 in damages. Another complaint filed in November 2014 alleged breach of fiduciary duty among other claims for investments made in October 2007 though September 2010 causing $322,432.

Bragg entered the securities industry in March 2004. Since March 2004, Bragg has been registered with VSR Financial Services, Inc. out of the firm’s Colorado Springs, Colorado office location.

shutterstock_186471755The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Robert Hinz Jr. (Hinz). There are at least 7 customer complaints against Hinz. The customer complaints against Hinz allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading among other claims. One of the claims involves the purchase of oil and gas private placement Reef Oil & Gas Income and Development Fund III.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2013 and alleged fraud and negligence from activities that occurred from July 2007 until December 2009 and resulted in $240,000 in damages. Another complaint filed in January 2012 alleged dissatisfied performance with respect to investments and asked for $34,680. The case was closed with no action.

Hinz entered the securities industry in January 1982. Since August 1994, Hinz has been registered with VSR Financial Services, Inc. out of the firm’s Seattle, Washington office location.

shutterstock_162924044The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Howard Slater (Slater). In addition, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2015046156301) against Slater. There are at least 18 customer complaints against Slater and 2 regulatory actions. The customer complaints against Slater allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in November 2013 and alleges unsuitable investments, fraud, and negligence concerning investments in alternative investments in real estate investments. The complaint seeks $90,000 in damages. In another complaint filed in July 2013, a customer complained that Slater misinformed her regarding the risks of three non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs).

In a FINRA regulatory action against Slater, the agency alleged that in February 2008 and August 2008, Slater sent emails to two customers in connection with their purchases of IMH Secured Loan Fund, LLC (IMH Fund) that contained misrepresentations regarding the features of the IMH Fund. In addition, according to FINRA, in March 2008, Slater sent an email to a customer that contained exaggerated and misleading statements about the safety of the IMH Fund. Finally, FINRA found that in April 2008, Slater caused an SAI customer’s account records to reflect false annual income and net worth information that caused the business records maintained by his firm to be inaccurate.

shutterstock_94632238The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought an enforcement action against broker Gary Arford (Arford) resulting in a monetary sanctions of $4,226,684. In addition, according to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA, Arford has been the subject of at least 10 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Arford allege unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and fraud among other claims. Many of the complaints involve products such as oil and gas and penny stocks. Arford was also permitted to resign from Comprehensive Wealth Management, LLC (Comprehensive Wealth Management) after allegations were made that Arford attempted to directly settle a customer complaint. In March 2014, Arford was also terminated from Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG) after allegations were made that Arford was the subject of customer complaints.

The most recent complaint against Arford alleged $560,000 in damages concerning allegations that Arford as an owner of Comprehensive Wealth Management breach his fiduciary duty by recommending unsuitable oil and gas products from 2011 through 2014 and misrepresented the investments. Another customer complaint filed in September 2014 alleges similar issues with oil and gas and penny stock investment made between 2012 and 2013 which resulted in $500,000 in alleged damages.

In the SEC action, the regulator alleged that between approximately December 2010 and October 2013, Arford acted as an investment adviser to a private fund (Fund) and provided advice for real estate-related investments. The SEC alleged that Arford defrauded the Fund and its investors in at least four ways by: 1) inducing the Fund to commit a total of $4 million to an investment in a company, referred to as Suburban Hotel, that was purportedly planning to build and operate a hotel on undeveloped land in Seattle by misrepresenting and concealing material facts about the company’s debt and the encumbrances; 2) after obtaining the Fund’s investment commitment Respondent took personal ownership of the company’s undeveloped property, and then pledged it as collateral for personal debts; 3) inducing the Fund to continue fulfilling its investment commitment by concealing his personal ownership and use of the company’s undeveloped property and by misrepresenting and hiding material facts about the use of Fund assets; and 4) by misappropriating Fund assets for unrelated purposes.

shutterstock_128856874The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against Frank Marinelli (Marinelli). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Marinelli has been the subject of at least 3 customer complaints, 1 employment termination, 2 judgment or liens, and 1 criminal matter. The customer complaints against Marinelli allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and unauthorized trading other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in March 2014 and alleges unsuitable investments and churning causing $120,000 in damages. Another complaint filed in March 2012 alleges high pressure sales tactics unauthorized trading and mismanagement of the client’s account leading to $200,000 in damages.

Marinelli also has two liens listed, both filed in 2010 related to taxes. One lien is for $123,240 and the other is for $41,306. A broker with large liens are an important consideration for investors to weigh when dealing with a financial advisor. An advisor may be conflicted to offer high commission investments to customers in order to satisfy liens and debts that may not be in the client’s best interests.

shutterstock_188141822The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2012034393401) against broker Daniel Barthole (Barthole) resulting in a monetary sanction and a suspension. In addition, according to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA, Barthole has been the subject of at least 2 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Barthole allege unsuitable investments, churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, fraud, and unauthorized trading among other claims. The most recent complaint against Barthole alleged $227,632 in damages concerning unauthorized ETF trading and churning from February 2012 through September 2014. The claim was later withdrawn.

FINRA’s findings stated that Barthole consented to a finding that he together with two other brokers attempted to settle a customer complaint away from their brokerage firm by agreeing to pay $4,000 to a customer and by sending $1,500 in cash to the customer.

Barthole entered the securities industry in 2009. From April 2009 until February 2015, Barthole was associated with Woodstock Financial Group, Inc. Since February 2015, Barthole has been registered with National Securities Corporation out of the firm’s New York, New York office location.

shutterstock_103681238The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action (FINRA No. 2015045289901) against broker Jeffrey Snyder (Snyder) resulting a permanent bar from the securities industry. In addition, according to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA, Snyder has been the subject of at least 6 customer complaints, and 1 regulatory event. The customer complaints against Snyder allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, engaged in churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and unauthorized trading other claims.

FINRA’s findings stated that although Snyder appeared for an on-the-record interview, he refused to respond to certain questions concerning allegations that he paid a customer compensation for investment losses without the knowledge or authorization of his member firm. Snyder’s refusal resulted in an automatic bar.

An examination of Snyder’s employment history reveals that Snyder moves from troubled firm to troubled firm. The pattern of brokers moving in this way is sometimes called “cockroaching” within the industry. See More Than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities, The Wall Street Journal, (Oct. 4, 2013). In Snyder’s 12 year career he has worked at 6 different firms. Snyder entered the securities industry in 2003. From February 2006, through June 2008, Snyder was associated with New Castle Financial Services LLC. Thereafter from June 2008 until August 2008, Snyder was a registered representative of The Concord Equity Group, LLC. From August 2008, until April 2012, Snyder was registered with Spartan Capital Securities, LLC. From April 2012 until April 2015, Snyder was associated with Rockwell Global Capital LLC. Finally, in March 2015, Snyder was registered with Network 1 Financial Securities Inc. until September 2015 out of the firm’s Danbury, Connecticut office location.

shutterstock_175137287The securities and investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Arthur “Mel” Coffey (Coffey). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Coffey has been the subject of at least 13 customer complaints, 2 judgments or liens, and 1 criminal matter. The customer complaints against Coffey allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, engaged in churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and unauthorized trading other claims.

Coffey entered the securities industry in 1994. From October 2008, through May 2013, Coffey was associated with John Thomas Financial (John Thomas). Thereafter in March 2015, Coffey was registered with Tryco Securities, Inc. Finally, Coffey became associated with Legend Securities, Inc. in March 2015 out of the firm’s Miller Place, New York office location. Coffey’s former employer John Thomas, was run by Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis who recently agreed to be banned from the securities industry when the SEC accused him of defrauding investors in two hedge funds. In addition, John Thomas faced allegations of penny-stock fraud by FINRA after the firm reaped more than $100 million in commissions over its six-year history before it closed in July. According to new sources trainees at the firm earned as little as $300 a week to pitch stocks with memorized scripts.

In addition, almost all of the complaints against Coffey involve claims of churning. When brokers engage in 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.

shutterstock_182053859The investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Noel Vincent (Vincent). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Vincent has been the subject of at least 9 customer complaints, one regulatory event, and three judgment or liens. The customer complaints against Vincent allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and fraud among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2015, and alleged $50,000 in damages due to claims pertaining to investments purchased from 2005 through 2007 that were unsuitable based on the client’s risk tolerance, investment objectives, investment knowledge, time horizon, and liquidity needs.

In March 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging an unsuitable series of investments between 2006 through 2009 resulting in damages of $413,000. In another case filed in October 2013, the client alleged unsuitable investments were made in 2007 resulting in $190,000 in damages. The case settled for $26,331. Also in April 2013, another customer complained that Vincent sold unregistered securities and committed fraud causing $638,000 in damages.