Articles Tagged with Investment Attorney

shutterstock_188874428-300x200The investment attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint brought against former RBC Capital Broker Martin Olson.  According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Olson was subject to a customer complaint in December 2016.

In December 2016, Olson was named in a customer complaint that asserted breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Michigan Securities Act and fraud. Olson was found jointly and severally liable and the customer was awarded $250,000 in damages.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

First, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. § 78a et seq.) and Rule 10b-5 protect investors against deceptive and manipulative acts in the purchase or sale of securities. This sweeping legislation is the cornerstone of federal securities laws. Rule 10b-5 makes it unlawful to employ a device or scheme to defraud, to make any untrue statement of material fact or omit to state a material fact not misleading, or to engage in any practice that would operate as a fraud.

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shutterstock_66745735-300x200The securities lawyers at Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint against Morgan Stanley broker Theodore Crowley (Crowley).

According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Theordore Crowley (Crowley) has been subject to a customer complaint.

In June 2012, a customer alleged that from 2008 through 2011, he was charged excessive markups and markdown on the purchase and sale of municipal bonds by Crowley. This dispute settled for $465,000.

In April 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a tax lien against Crowley for $611,984.42.

The term “securities fraud” covers a range of illegal activities involving the deception of investors or the manipulation of the financial markets. Fraud includes false representations, unauthorized trading, value manipulation, and Ponzi schemes. Investors are protected against fraudulent securities activities by several different civil laws.

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shutterstock_174495761-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), broker Brent Van Lott (Lott) is being investigated for allegedly violating FINRA rules.  Lott has also been subject to three customer disputes.

In January 2016, a customer alleged Lott initiated trades without the customer’s written consent.  This dispute was settled for $50,000.

In March 2014, a customer alleged that a third party, acting in concert with Lott, forged the customer’s signature on contracts to acquire insurance policies.  This dispute is pending.

In another pending dispute from December 2013, a customer alleged that he never met Lott who was listed as the selling agent for his contracts.  The customer also alleged that Lott may be aware that the signatures on the contract delivery receipts are not those of the customer.

In October 2014, Lott was terminated from LPL Financial LLC for allegedly submitting equity indexed annuity applications without meeting or discussing them with clients as well as allegedly violating the firm’s document signature policy.

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shutterstock_178565714-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana LLP are interested in hearing from investors who lost money due to the mishandling of their accounts by broker Keith Michelfelder (Michelfelder).

According to BrokerCheck records, in August 2017, FINRA sanctioned Keith Michelfelder (Michelfelder) for allegedly effecting “at least 16 transactions in the accounts of a member firm customer without having obtained prior written authorization from the customer and written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary by his firm. The findings stated that the firm’s policies prohibited the use of non-firm email addresses to conduct firm business. In 2010 and 2011, Michelfelder signed annual certifications agreeing to use the firm’s domain email only for communications with customers and concerning firm business. Nevertheless, during July 2012, Michelfelder knowingly used a non-firm email address to communicate with the above customer.”  Michelfelder was fined $10,000 and was suspended for 60 days. In November 2017, Keith’s FINRA registration was revoked for failure to pay fines.

In August 2012, a customer alleged he discovered numerous unauthorized trades in his account. The customer was granted an award of $702,037.

In March 2011, a customer alleged Michelfelder engaged in unauthorized trading. This dispute settled for $61,500.

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shutterstock_79462060-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former Newbridge Securities and Allstate broker David Faline (Faline) has been subject to three customer disputes.

A customer alleged in June 2017 that Faline made unsuitable investment recommendations that resulted in losses in the customer’ account. The customer is seeking $200,000 in the pending dispute.

In February 2014, a customer alleged Cox recommended unsuitable investments, made false and misleading statements, negligently misrepresented material facts and breached his fiduciary duty. This dispute settled for $9,000.

The number of events listed on Adcock’s BrokerCheck is high relative to her 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_184430645-300x225According to BrokerCheck records, Elaine LaCerte (LaCerte), also known as Elaine Diones and Elaine Diones Helzer, was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in August 2017.

LaCerte was suspended for allegedly engaging in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of Unite Investment Trusts (UITs) in over 100 customer accounts. Without admitting or denying the findings, LaCerte consented to the sanctions and the entry of findings. The findings stated that “in connection with these accounts, LaCerte repeatedly recommended that the customers purchase UITs and then sell these products well before their maturity dates. In addition, on more than 100 occasions, LaCerte recommended that her customers use the proceeds from the short-term sale of a UIT to purchase another UIT with identical investment objectives. LaCerte’s recommendations caused the customers to incur unnecessary sales charges, and were unsuitable in view of the frequency and cost of the transactions.” LaCerte has been banned from the industry for six months and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Moreover, LaCerte has been subject to four customer disputes.

In November 2016, a customer alleged LaCerte misrepresented material facts with respect to the purchase of a municipal bond. This dispute settled for $25,000.

In August 2016, a customer alleged LaCerta recommended unsuitable investments. This dispute settled for $24,464.76.

In July 2016, a customer alleged LaCerta misrepresented material facts with respect to investment risks. This dispute settled for $4,000.

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shutterstock_189302963-300x194The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Cox (Cox).

According to Cox’s Brokercheck records, he has been sanctioned by FINRA because he allegedly recommended unsuitable annuity transactions to a customer and received commissions of $25,460 in connection with the exchange. Without admitting or denying the findings, Cox consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Cox was suspended from FINRA for four months and fined a total of $35,460.

In April 2017, Cox was terminated from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated because of a “lack of confidence after settlement of customer complaint and nondisclosure of outside business activity”

Moreover, Cox has been subject to four customer disputes.

In June 2012, a customer alleged that when the customer retired, Cox made unsuitable recommendations, made material misrepresentations, and breached his fiduciary duty. This dispute settled for $25,000.

In June 2014, a customer alleged that Cox failed to monitor the customer’s account and invested his assets in unsuitable investments. This dispute is pending.

Subsequently, In November 2014, Cox allegedly provided misleading advice to a customer who applied for two annuities to replace older annuities. This dispute settled for $480,000.

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shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Kenneth Jones (Jones), in May 2017, was terminated by his firm, Aegis Capital Corp. (Aeigs Capital) based on allegations that Jones was under investigation for failure to disclose outside business activities.  Subsequently, Jones was barred from the industry by FINRA after FINRA requested documents and information and he failed to provide the FINRA requested documents and information.  FINRA sought documents concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’s termination from his member firm and of certain municipal bond trades that Jones performed while registered with the firm.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Jones’ outside business activities or if they involve private securities transactions.  Jones’ CRD lists that he is engaged in insurance an outside business activity at the Mather Christian Church.  Often times undisclosed outside business activities can lead to private securities transactions.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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shutterstock_160304408-300x199The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Broker Tommy Mai (Mai).

According to Mai’s Brokercheck records, he has been sanctioned by FINRA because he allegedly “forged or caused to be forged customers’ signatures on various types of customer account documents including his member firm’s new account forms and non-firm insurance applications. In total, 53 customer account forms were forged, altered, or otherwise improperly signed (i.e., signed when partially completed or blank). The findings also stated that Mai paid to air a television program, on two Los Angeles Vietnamese-language television stations, appeared in every episode of the program and discussed a range of insurance and investment-related topics, without obtaining prior approval from the firm or FINRA prior to airing the program. In addition, the content of the program was, at times, misleading, promissory, and/or unbalanced.” Mai was suspended from FINRA for four months and fined $10,000.

The term “securities fraud” relates to inappropriate and illegal activities. Principally, it relates to investor deception and market maipulation. Fraud can sometimes include the unauthorized trading, false or misleading representations and of course, Ponzi schemes. Many laws protect investors.

shutterstock_64859686-300x300The investment lawyers at Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints against Pennsylvania Broker/Investment Advisor Nadav Baum (Baum). According to BrokerCheck records, Baum has been subject to fourteen customer complaints and two regulatory sanctions. The customer complaints allege that Baum engaged in securities law violations, including making unsuitable investments in client’s accounts.

In March 2017, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities sanctioned Baum after he allegedly failed to comply with the terms of a supervisory agreement. He was ordered to cease and desist and to pay a fine of $6,000.

In August 2009, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Baum following allegations he executed discretionary trades without written authorization in the account of a deceased customer and executed discretionary trades in other accounts without authorization. He was issued a 30-day suspension and a fine of $15,000.