Articles Tagged with Investment Attorney

shutterstock_145368937-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Maloney (Maloney), formerly employed by Edward Jones has been subject to five customer complaints and one termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in May 2016 Edward Jones terminated Maloney stating that he did not adhere to the firm’s policy regarding suitability of recommendations.  Most of a Maloney’s customer complaints allege that Maloney made unsuitable recommendations in equity securities.

In November 2017 a customer made allegations of misrepresentation, suitability, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning of her accounts.  The claim is currently pending.

In September 2017 a customer alleged an unsuitable investment recommendation in Fire Eye stock causing losses of $329,523.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_61848763-300x203The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against Cambridge Investment Research broker John Provonost (Pronovost).

According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a customer alleged in February 2018 that Pronovost engaged in unsuitable investments.  Another customer alleged in March 2018 that Pronovost engaged in unsuitable investments and misrepresented the investor’s needs.

Pronovost allegedly sold the LJM Preservation and Growth Fund to multiple customers (LJMAX, LJMCX, LJMIX).  Investors may have been unaware of the risks associated with this investment, as the fund’s name belies its risky strategy. Gana Weinstein LLP has already filed a case against Cambridge Investment Research, Mr. Pronovost’s employer for the sale of the LJM Preservation and Growth Funds.

shutterstock_190371500-300x200The securities lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating complaints against broker Alexander Kibrik (Kibrik). According to BrokerCheck records, Kibrik currently has two pending customer complaints.

In March 2017, a customer alleged unauthorized trading and unsuitability. The customer is requesting $413,045 in this pending dispute.

In July 2015, a customer alleged breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and breach of contract. The customer is requesting $21,125,000 in this pending dispute.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Further, subsequent disclosure of the trades does not cure the violation. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the SEC has found that no disclosure could be more important and material to an investor than to be made aware that trading is taking place. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300The investment lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Donald Southwick (Southwick).

According to BrokerCheck records, without admitting or denying the findings, Southwick consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to perform a reasonable basis suitability analysis prior to recommending investments to his customers. The findings also stated that Southwick recommended unsuitable transactions in the securities accounts of two customers by recommending purchases that resulted in an over-concentration of illiquid private offerings, inconsistent with their investment objectives and risk tolerance. Southwick has been suspended from the securities industry for six months.

Moreover, Southwick has been subject to two customer complaints.

shutterstock_188874428-300x200The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein 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 Weinstein 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 Weinstein 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_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 Weinstein 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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