Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

shutterstock_21147109-300x234The investment fraud attorneys are currently investigating USA Financial Securities Corporation (USA Financial) broker Bradley Ford (Ford). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Ford has been subject to eight customer disputes and three regulatory disputes. The majority of these disputes concern the misrepresentation of investments and documents to customers.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged from August 2013 to November 2016, Ford misrepresented that liquidity and penalty charges of fixed indexed annuities.

In June 2015, a customer alleged that Ford forged the customer’s signature on a strategy request form.

In March 2012, a customer alleged the insurance life policy that Ford recommended and placed the customer in was falsely represented. The case was settled at $450,000 in damages.

Ford has also been subject to various regulatory actions. In June 2009, the Kentucky Department of Insurance found that Ford misrepresented documents to customers by changing the state in which customers had signed their insurance contracts. The Kentucky Department of Insurance imposed a monetary penalty for the false representation.

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shutterstock_182371613-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Joseph Pratte (Pratte), formerly associated with Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator Investors) in Riverside, California was terminated by his firm concerning allegations he engaged in prohibited outside business activity (OBA) and failed to submit the activity to the firm for approval as required.

Thereafter, in May 2018 FINRA sought to question Pratte concerning his OBA.  FINRA found that Pratte failed to cooperate with the investigation.  Accordingly, FINRA determined that Pratte consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide information in response to FINRA requests made to review Pratte’s outside business activities.

At this time it is unclear the extent of Pratte’s outside business activities or if private securities transactions were involved.  However, Pratte disclosed that he was engaged in a rental property business.

shutterstock_103610648-300x212According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Ralph Adamo (Adamo), formerly associated with FSC Securities Corporation (FSC Securities) in Newport Beach, California was terminated by his firm concerning allegations that he engaged in an unapproved financial transaction with a client.  Adamo has been subject to two customer complaints including one for over $4 million in claimed damages.  That complaint alleges a solicitation of a personal loan and is still pending.  In addition, Adamo has been subject to two prior regulatory actions.  One action in 2005 alleged that Adamo paid customers privately to resolve complaints without telling his firm.

At this time it is unclear the extent of Adamo’s outside business activities or private securities transactions.  Adamo disclosed a number of outside business activities including that he operates his securities business through a d/b/a Integrity Wealth Management.

The allegations concern private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.

shutterstock_113872627-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former Westpark Capital, Inc. (Westpark Capital) broker Lawrence Fawcett (Fawcett) has been subject to five customer complaints, two regulatory actions and one termination for cause.  Fawcett was barred by FINRA from the securities industry in March 2018 after failing to appear for testimony in connection with an investigation regarding Fawcett’s outside business activities.  At around the same time Fawcett was terminated by Westpark Capital on allegations that he conducted business from a non-disclosed location and made false representations to the firm.

In December 2017 Fawcett was sanctioned by FINRA on allegations that he recommended unsuitable mutual fund transactions to a customer by recommending 12 different mutual fund families instead of obtaining favorable breakpoint discounts for the customer.

In addition, many of the customer complaints against Fawcett concern high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading.  In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging excessive trading, churning, and unsuitable transactions seeking $33,271 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_156764942-200x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS Financial) broker Samuel Rankin (Rankin). According to BrokerCheck records, Rankin has been subject to eight customer complaints, two of which are still pending. The majority of these complaints concern the misallocation of customers’ funds into unsuitable investments.

Most recently, in September 2017, a customer alleged that from 2015 to 2016, Rankin misallocated funds into highly risky investments which were unsuitable to the customer’s needs.  The customer is requesting $849,221 for damages. This dispute is still pending.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from 2009 to 2017, Rankin misallocated retirement funds into aggressive investments that were unsuitable to the customers’ needs and violated their written agreement to placement in only moderate-risk investments. This dispute is still pending.

shutterstock_12144202-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Herbert Voss (Voss), formerly associated with Stockcross Financial Services, Inc. (Stockcross Financial), has been subject to eight customer complaints, one FINRA action, and one employment termination.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Voss was barred from the financial industry in May 2018 when Voss consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for FINRA testimony concerning a customer complaint alleging that Voss had engaged in unauthorized trading in the customer’s account.  The refusal to cooperate draws an automatic bar from the industry.

In December 2017, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Voss’ investments caused poor performance and $550,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.  Prior to that, in February 2017 a client accused Voss of causing $900,000 in damages due to unsuitable investments.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading.  Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).  These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.  Often times, brokers engage in unauthorized trading as part of an attempt to churn or excessively trade a client’s account.

shutterstock_164634200-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Guistino Destefano (Destefano). According to BrokerCheck Records, Destefano has been subject to two terminations from employment and one regulatory action in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Destefano for various violations of the securities laws. In addition,  Destefano has been subject to 6 customer disputes concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investments, one of which is still pending.

In May 2014, Destefano resigned from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) due to customer allegations of unauthorized trading and recommending securities to customers that weren’t approved by the firm. Subsequently, in March 2016, FINRA found that between July 2013 and May 2014, Destefano had executed unauthorized trades in 4 non-discretionary customer accounts. In addition, Destefano also had marked over 100 order tickets incorrectly, labeling them “unsolicited” when they were in fact solicited trades. For executing unauthorized trades, Destefano was found to be in violation of unauthorized NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010. Destefano consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings and FINRA suspended Destefano for 3 months and imposed a fine of $10,000.

In addition, Destefano has been subject to multiple customer complaints. In September 2017, a customer alleged that Destefano exercised discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts, over-concentrated investments, and placed customers in unsuitable investments. The customer has requested $830,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

shutterstock_20354398-300x200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating previously registered broker Robert Meyers (Meyers).

According to the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck records, in October 2017, Meyers was terminated from Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC (Wells Fargo) for recommending investments to customers that he did not notify the firm about.

In addition, Meyers has been subject to eight customer disputes. In August 2005, a customer alleged that Meyers failed to follow the customer’s instructions regarding the investment. The customer requested $1,000,000 in damages.

shutterstock_176283941-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (Joseph Stone) broker Laurence Pettit (Pettit). According to BrokerCheck records, Pettit has been subject to 10 customer disputes, two civil actions, and one criminal action. The majority of these disputes allege Pettit’s  improper use of discretion, unauthorized trading, improper use of margin, and failure to follow customer instructions.

In March 2009, a customer alleged that Pettit failed to follow instructions to liquidate the investments in the customers’ account on multiple occasions. The dispute was settled at $250,000.

In October 2008, a customer alleged that Pettit failed to follow the customer’s instructions to reduce the margin percentage on the account. This dispute was settled at $40,000.

shutterstock_159036452-257x300Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS Financial) broker David Watkins (Watkins). According to BrokerCheck records, Watkins has been subject to two customer disputes, one of which is still pending. In addition, Watkins has been subject to two tax liens. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable recommendations in bonds, stocks, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In August 2017, a customer alleges that from May 2013 to October 2016, Watkins recommended for the customer to buy fixed-income securities and ETFs which were unsuitable to the customers investment needs. The customer has requested $5,000,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In September 2015, a customer alleged that from January 2011 to August 2015, Watkins placed the customer in bonds that were unsuitable to the customer and not rated AA or higher as the customer had approved. The case settled for $60,000.