Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

shutterstock_180341738-200x300According to BrokerCheck records Terry Brodt (Brodt) has been sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that, while associated with Garden State Securities, Inc. (Garden State) the broker exercised discretion in a customer’s account without obtaining written authorization or written approval of the account as discretionary from his brokerage firm.  FINRA found that Brodt exercised discretion in accounts maintained by customers without written authorization and without approval from Garden State to treat those customer accounts as discretionary. FINRA also found that Brodt provided inaccurate responses about his use of discretion in connection with his firm’s annual compliance questionnaires.

In addition, to the FINRA sanctions Brodt has been subject to five customer complaints, two financial disclosures including a bankruptcy filing in July 2016, and ten judgment or tax liens.  Some of the complaints against Brodt allege securities law violations including that the broker engaged in churning (excessive trading) and unauthorized trading among other claims.

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shutterstock_187083428-300x198According to a complaint filed by the State of Illinois Securities Department Thrivent Investment has been accused of engaging in replacing its client’s existing variable annuities for new variable annuities which requiring clients to pay surrender charges and various fees that were not appropriate for the client. Thrivent Investment violated Illinois law by allegedly: (1) failing to maintain and enforce a supervisory system and adequate written procedures to achieve compliance with the securities laws; (2) failing to adequately review the sales and replacements of Variable Annuities for suitability; (3) failing to enforce its written procedures regarding documentation of sales and replacements of Variable Annuities; and (4) failing to adequately train its salespersons to variable annuity transactions.

The lawyers at Gana LLP have represented investors in their claims against brokerage firms for unsuitable investments in annuity products.  Often times the benefits of variable annuities are outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.

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shutterstock_138129767-300x199According to BrokerCheck records Brian Murphy (Murphy) has been sanctioned and barred by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that the broker failed to respond to the regulator’s requests for information.  In July 2016, Murphy was terminated by his firm Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator) on allegations that Murphy admitted to conducting an unapproved outside business activity.  In the industry all such activities must be disclosed and approved by the firm before the broker can engage in them.

Murphy has been terminated by three employers in total during his career.  In November 2014 Murphy was terminated by MetLife Securities, Inc. (MetLife) for making a representation that he had a professional designation that he did not in fact possess.  In addition, Murphy has been subject to a number of customer complaints concerning the sale of variable annuities.

At this time it is unclear what outside business activity Murphy was engaged in.  However, the risk to investors is that the broker will use such businesses to engage in unauthorized securities activities.  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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From having spoken to many victims of securities fraud – the hardest thing for many investor victims is asking for help.  More specifically, admitting to anyone that they had been taken advantage of.  Many victims express feelings of shock, disbelief, and often times shame for having been, apparently, an easy mark for the fraudster.

The truth is there is nothing to be a ashamed of.  Fraud is a multi-billion dollar business ensnaring tens of thousands of victims a year.  The only real question is – what are you going to do about it?  Our investment attorneys are here to help.  We’ll let you know what the potential avenues of recovery are.  Consider reaching out to our firm and refusing to be another victim while considering the following SEC statistics concerning their regulatory efforts in 2016.

In 2016, the SEC filed 868 enforcement actions exposing financial reporting-related misconduct by companies and their executives and misconduct by registrants and gatekeepers.

shutterstock_63635611-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finding that former Morgan Stanley broker Barry Connell (Connell) working out of the Ridgewood, New Jersey office misappropriated about $5 million from clients.  After a customer complained of about $2,500,000 in unauthorized fund transfers in November 2016 Morgan Stanley terminated Connell about a week later.  Morgan Stanley terminated Connell on ground that there were “Allegations regarding unauthorized withdrawals and transfers of funds from client’s household accounts to third-party payees, which appear to be for the benefit of the former registered representative.”  Thereafter, Connell was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to provide documents and information related to Morgan Stanley’s statement.

In February 2017, the SEC alleged that Connell stole money from investors to settle a private lawsuit among other misuses.  Connell was alleged to have engaged in misappropriation of approximately $5 million from investment advisory clients.  The SEC found that from approximately December 2015 through November 2016, Connell carried out his scheme primarily by moving funds between client accounts and then sending wire transfers and checks from the accounts to third parties for his own benefit.  The SEC stated that over the course of approximately 11 months Connell made more than 100 unauthorized transactions through forms falsely representing that he had received verbal client authorizations for the transactions.  The SEC changed that this conduct was the engaging in transactions, acts, practices and courses of business that constitute violations of Section 206(1) and Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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shutterstock_171721244-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Robert Schultz (Schultz). According to BrokerCheck records, Schultz has been subject to four disclosures including four customer complaints. The customer complaints against Wolfe allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations, negligence, and omissions of material information among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in October 2016 claims $95,000 in damages and alleges suitability misconduct, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty from 2005 through 2010.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_175298066-300x225Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints and a recent regulatory action filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Paul Alexander (Alexander) formerly associated with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James), alleging Alexander engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and securities fraud among other claims.

In November 2016 FINRA sanctioned Alexander after he consented to the entry of findings that in contravention of his member firm’s policies and procedures, Alexander effected transactions while exercising discretion without prior written authorization in customer accounts and without notifying his brokerage firm to accept the accounts as discretionary.

The most recent customer complaint filed against Alexander was in September 2015 alleging unauthorized trading causing $244,000 in damages.  The claim was settled for $95,000.

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shutterstock_184429547-300x200The investment attorneys of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christopher Paul Anthony (Anthony) for allegedly churning, failing to supervise, and recommending unsuitable investments in products, such as Foreign stocks and Indexed Exchanged-Traded Funds or ETFs. According to BrokerCheck records, Anthony has been subject to two customer complaints and one employment separations for cause among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in January 2017 and alleged negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract causing over $2 million in losses. In August 2016, another customer filed a complaint alleging that from Spring 2014 to Spring 2015, Anthony made unsuitable investments and was churning (excessively trading) in the account leading to $100,000 in damages. These two complaints are currently pending in FINRA arbitration.

In April 2015, Christopher Anthony was terminated from his position at Rhodes Securities Inc. for failing to supervise, trading with discretion, and trading outside the investment objectives of his clients’ accounts. He is currently not registered with any securities firm.

shutterstock_187083428-300x198The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Robert Estevez (Estevez). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 9 disclosures on Estevez’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, and one judgments or liens among other claims.  Some of the regulatory actions expressed concerns over Estevez’s ability to manage his own personal finances.  Substantial financial disputes on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services.  A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.  The most recent regulatory action against Estevez was filed by the State of Michigan which is currently pending and remains unresolved at this time.

In September 2016,FINRA alleged that Mr. Estevez recommended unsuitable short-term steepener transactions to his customers, which are highly complex investment products that profits from the difference between short and long term rates. FINRA claims that the market for steepeners are known to have an illiquid nature, making them unsuitable for most customers. This investment strategy resulted in approximately $24,000 in customer loss. Estevez was issued a penalty of $20,000 and suffered a two-month suspension.

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shutterstock_27597505-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Jed Tinder (Tinder). According to BrokerCheck records Tinder has been subject to at least four customer complaints, two judgment or liens, and two employment separations for cause. The customer complaints against Tinder alleges securities law violations that includes negligence, unauthorized trading and unsuitable recommendations among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2016, and alleged $181,668 in damages due to claims that the broker engaged in reckless trading while employed at Western International Securities, Inc. The complaint is currently pending.

In July 2016, a customer filed a complaint against Jed Tinder alleging that while employed at Western International Securities, made an unsuitable recommendation. The customer is seeking $187,000 in damages in the pending complaint. In September 2015 another customer filed a complaint that Mr. Tinder made unsuitable recommendations dating back to 2007 causing $1,200,000 in damages. The complaint is currently pending.

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