Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

shutterstock_19864066-209x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Joseph Rodriguez (Rodriguez), currently associated with Hennion & Walsh, Inc. (Hennion & Walsh), has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rodriguez has been accused by customers of unsuitable investments among other claims.  Most of the claims appear to be related to municipal bonds or other bond related investments

In June 2017, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Rodriguez recommended certain investment grade municipal bonds between 2009 and 2012 that were unsuitable.  The claim alleges $125,000 in damages and is currently pending.  In May 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging that there were unsuitable recommendations from 2013 and 2014.  The claim alleged $250,000 in damages and settled.  In October 2015 another customer filed a complaint alleging an unsuitable recommendation causing $56,390 in damages.  The claim later settled.

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shutterstock_85873471-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Leon Rehak (Rehak) has been subject to two customer complaints.  Rehak is currently registered with LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial).  In November 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made engaged in churning (excessive trading), unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.  The claim alleged $600,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2017, another customer filed a complaint alleging Common Law Fraud, Common Law Negligent Misrepresentation, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Negligence, Suitability, and Excessive Trading from May 2011 through September 2017.  The claim alleged $499,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_88744093-297x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Victor Sibilla (Sibilla), currently associated with Westpark Capital, Inc. (Westpark Capital), has been subject to 6 customer complaints, one regulatory action, and two civil judgments.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Sibilla has been accused by customers of unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, excessive trading, and misuse of margin among other claims.

In May 2017, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Sibilla was not licensed in the state where he transacted business seeking $108,400 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.  In June 2013 another customer filed a complaint alleging that Sibilla misrepresented that his stock would double claiming $175,000 in damages.  The claim was closed.  In September 2012, a customer alleged excessive trading and unsuitable investments causing $300,000 in damages.  The claim was settled.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Frederick Houck (Houck), formerly associated with Freedom Investors Corp. (Freedom Investors), has been subject to one customer complaint, six tax liens or judgments, and one FINRA sanction.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Houck has been accused by a customer of churning, negligence, excessive trading, and breach of fiduciary duty from August 2011 to January 2016 causing $150,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In August 2017 FINRA sanctioned Houck alleging that Houck exercised discretion in executing 491 transactions in the accounts of two customers as part of a recommended investment strategy without obtaining prior written authorization to exercise discretion and without his member firm having approved these accounts for discretionary trading.

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.

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shutterstock_20354398-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Anthony Vultaggio, Jr. (Vultaggio), in September 2017, was accused by FINRA of failing to cooperate in an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Vultaggio alleged sale of undisclosed securities through an undisclosed outside business.  Vultaggio is formerly associated with American Capital Partners, LLC (American Capital).  According to the FINRA action, Vultaggio was barred by the regulator after the broker failed to respond to requests for documents and information during the investigation.

At this time the extent of Vultaggio’s outside business activities and securities sales are unknown.  The only public disclosure on Vultaggio’s BrokerCheck contains is Vultaggio’s investments in commercial and residential real estate.

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_113632177-300x249According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Christopher Parr (Parr), in October 2017, was under investigation by FINRA based on a preliminary determination that Parr’s conduct allegedly violated FINRA Rules 3240, 3280, and 2010.  In addition, the state of Kansas has a pending regulatory mater concerning allegations that Parr borrowed money from a client on three occasions and did not disclose the loans to his firm.  These allegations concern conduct that occurred while Parr was registered with KCD Financial, Inc. (KCD Financial).

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Parr’s activities.  Parr’s CRD lists that he does business under the name First Capital Group, Inc.

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_94632238-300x214The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed a complaint against former Gradient Securities, LLC (Gradient) and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. (Cambridge) broker Terry Bahgat (Bahgat) working out of the Amherst, New York.  The SEC alleged that from December 2014 through September 2016, Bahgat misappropriated funds seven different clients by obtaining access to their brokerage accounts and then transferring either to himself or WealthCFO – a company that Bahgat controlled.  Bahgat operated his advisory business through WealthCFO Advisors, LLC and other firm WealthCFO Partners, LLC.

According to the SEC, in order to effectuate the fraud in some cases Bahgat had his assistant pose as his clients on telephone calls with the brokerage firms in order to obtain bill paying privileges.  The SEC alleged that Bahgat’s scheme continued until September 2016 when he then fled the U.S. for Egypt.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) also barred Bahgat from the securities industry after he failed to respond to a request for information in January.  The FINRA investigation involved a different questionable practice – whether Bahgat made misrepresentations in the sale of a variable annuity.

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shutterstock_164637593-300x199The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christopher Stephen Jorgensen (Jorgensen). Jorgensen allegedly refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA resulting in a ban from the securities industry.

In April 2017, Jorgensen was terminated from his position at Summit Brokerage Services after “the firm received a verbal complaint from a customer who alleged that [he] instructed her not to respond to a FINRA inquiry.”

In 2012, he was terminated from his position at Raymond James Financial Services “due to client complaint and settlement relating to unauthorized discretion.”

shutterstock_1744162-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Jeffrey Smith (Smith), formerly associated with Accelerated Capital Group (Accelerated Capital), has been subject to five customer complaints and two regulatory actions.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Smith has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice, securities fraud, and excessive trading among other claims.

The most recent regulatory action occurred in September 2017.  FINRA found that Smith maintained and utilized pre-signed and altered forms to conduct his securities business. FINRA determined that Smith’s conduct caused his brokerage firm to have inaccurate books and records. FINRA alleged that Smith had three customers sign blank forms and then made photocopies of some of the blank-signed forms so that he could reuse the customers’ signatures.  FINRA found that Smith then utilized these blank-signed forms to effect transactions.

In 2011 FINRA sanctioned Smith for failing to supervise brokers and enforce the firm’s supervisory procedures.

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shutterstock_123758422-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Peter Doyle (Doyle), formerly associated with Morgan Stanley, has been subject to three customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Doyle has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice and unauthorized trading among other claims.

Doyle was barred by FINRA in July 2017 when he refused to appear for FINRA testimony in connection with its investigation into the conduct that led to his termination from Morgan Stanley.  Morgan Stanley had terminated Doyle in June 2016 after it made allegations involving adherence to industry rules and use of trading discretion.  The most recent complaint filed in February 2017 alleged unsuitable recommendations from June 2008 through June 2016.  The claim settled for $600,000.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

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