Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

shutterstock_92699377-300x285The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor William Baum (Baum), currently employed by Great American Investors, Inc. (Great American) was has been subject to at least eight customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Baum’s customer complaint alleges that Baum recommended unsuitable investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In July 2017 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Baum that he settled consenting to findings that he sent 58 text messages relating to his securities business – including messages about investment strategies and specific securities – to sixteen customers over the course of a year. FINRA found that Baum prevented his member firm from supervising those communications, violated the firm’s policy about business correspondence, and contradicted his attestation that he would use his firm’s email system for all business correspondence and retain all correspondence with customers for the firm’s review.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Baum violated the securities laws by alleging that Baum engaged in sales practice violations over the period of 2014 through 2017 by failing to recommend appropriate investments, disclose all conflicts of interest and fully inform claimants about the associated risks. The claim alleges $87,000 in damages and the case settled for $20,000.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_157506896-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Brian Lockett (Lockett), formerly employed by Independent Financial Group, LLC (Independent Financial) has been subject to at least nine customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Lockett’s customer complaint alleges that Lockett recommended unsuitable investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In November 2019 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Lockett that he settled consenting to findings that he participated in a private securities transaction without providing prior written notice to his member firm. FINRA found that one of Lockett’s customers invested a total of $50,000 in a private placement offering and that Lockett participated in the transaction by introducing the transaction to the customer, summarizing the reasons he liked the investment, meeting with the customer to review and sign the paperwork and causing the paperwork to be submitted. FINRA found that Lockett did not receive compensation for his participation in the transaction and that Lockett attempted to conceal his role in the transaction by suggesting to the customer that the customer communicate about the transaction with Lockett in the future via Lockett’s personal email address. According to FINRA, after the customer complained to the firm, it entered into a settlement to resolve the complaint.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_157018310-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Jun (Justine) Zhou (Zhou) was discharged by her employer after being accused of offering securities not reported to the company.  According to BrokerCheck records, Zhou is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm The Leaders Group.  In addition, Zhou disclosed one regulatory complaint. If you have been a victim of Zhou’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In November 2019 FINRA filed a regulatory action alleging that Zhou consented to the sanction and findings that she between April 2017 and June 2018, through a small real estate company she wholly owned and controlled, participated in the sale of $9,050,000 in membership interests in private real estate funds managed by a third party and $5,000,000 in a promissory note with that third-party fund manager. FINRA found that the fund membership interests and the promissory note were securities, involved 15 transactions, and seven investors.  FINRA determined that Zhou’s real estate company received $179,000 in compensation from the third-party fund manager.  In addition, FINRA alleged that on June 4, 2018, Zhou formed Zhou Fund I LLC (Zhou Fund), a private real estate fund managed by Zhou’s real estate company.  Zhou is alleged to have subsequently filed a notice of exempt offering of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to twelve transactions in June and July 2018 through which Zhou and her real estate company sold $2,000,000 in membership interests in Zhou Fund to twelve investors.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_112866430-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Timothy Johnson (Johnson) was discharged by his employer after being accused of diverting client funds.  According to BrokerCheck records, Johnson is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm MML Investors Services, LLC (MML).  In addition, Johnson disclosed one regulatory complaint. If you have been a victim of Johnson’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In July 2019 MML discharged Johnson after alleging that he was terminated in connection with an investigation into the registered representative’s diversion of customer funds for his own use.

In September 2019 FINRA filed a regulatory action alleging that Johnson consented to the sanction and findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation into the allegations made concerning his termination.  FINRA’s suspension will automatically become a bar if Johnson fails to respond.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_156972491-300x198The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Lawrence Delhagen (Delhagen), currently employed by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel Nicolaus) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Delhagen’s customer complaints alleges that Delhagen recommended unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In September 2018 a customer complained that Delhagen violated the securities laws by alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of state and Federal securities laws. The claim settled for $30,000.

In June 2018 a customer complained that Delhagen violated the securities laws by alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of state and Federal securities laws. The claim settled for $270,000.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_173509961-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Robert Montes (Montes) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) and investment sales that were not approved by his brokerage firm.  Montes, formerly registered with Morgan Stanley was subject to a regulatory investigation according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Montes disclosed three customer complaints.

In July 2019, FINRA alleged that Montes accepted a bar from the financial industry, without admitting or denying the findings, that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he potentially misused an elderly customer’s assets.

At this time it is unclear what the activity was that was the focus of FINRA’s investigation or the scope of Montes’ activities.  Montes’ publicly available BrokerCheck information discloses several OBAs including a real estate venture and a company called R.J.R. Asset Management, LLC.  It is unknown whether the activity investigated by FINRA involves any of these entities.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling fraudulent securities sales through OBAs.  The sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_180968000-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Thomas Marino (Marino), formerly employed by R.M. Stark & Co., Inc. (R.M. Stark) has been subject to at least three customer complaints, one regulatory sanction, one financial disclosure, and two terminations for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Marino’s customer complaints alleges that Marino recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In July 2019 Marino consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that Marino refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into his possible misuse of funds from a senior customer.  As a result, Marino drew an automatic bar from the industry.

In June 2019 Marino was discharged from R.M. Stark after the firm alleged that he engaged in inappropriate and unsuitable investments for a client’s risk tolerance and objectives.

In April 2019 a customer complained that Marino violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor made inappropriate and unsuitable investments for her risk tolerance.  The claim alleges $300,000 in damages and is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_20354398-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims against broker Sergio Rovner (Rovner), currently associated with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis) out of New York, New York.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Rovner has been subject to at least six customer disputes and two regulatory actions during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Rovner concern allegations of unauthorized trading, unsuitable investments, and misrepresentations among other claims.

In February 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Son executed unauthorized trades in the customer’s account and made unsuitable investment recommendations.  The customer requested $32,398 in damages.  The claim settled for $12,635.

In December 2005 FINRA found that Rovner violated NASD Rules 2110 and 2310 by engaging in excessive trading and unsuitable investments.  Without admitting or denying the allegations, Rovner consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of the findings.  Rovner was fined $10,000 and suspended for 30 days.

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.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_102242143-300x169According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Forrester (Forrester), currently employed by Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints, one regulatory action, and has two bankruptcy disclosures during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Forrester’s customer complaints allege that Forrester recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In April 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Forrester violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Forrester breached his fiduciary duty and was negligent in the sale of alternative investments causing $55,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In June 2017 Forrester declared bankruptcy.  This information has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider.  In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_102217105-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Busco (Busco), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw) and previously with Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least 11 customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Busco’s customer complaints allege that Busco recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in alternative investments from 2009 through 2018 causing damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In April 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac causing $120,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $40,000.

Continue Reading