Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

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.

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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. Continue Reading

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.

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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.

In March 2017, a customer alleged that from September 2010 to August 2014, Destefano placed the customer in unsuitable investments.   Continue Reading

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.

Meyer was recommending investments to customers that his firm had never pre-approved. The practice in which a broker engages customers to invest in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm is known as selling away.  All member firms have the duty to supervise their advisors under FINRA rules. Each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public.

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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.

In September 2008, a customer alleged that in 2007, Pettit misrepresented the material facts of Mad River Fund LP, a hedge fund investment.

In addition, Pettit was subject to two liens. In October 2015, Pettit was subject to a civil lien of $73,008. In February 2011, Pettit was subject to a civil lien $105,207.74. Large liens are potential signs that a broker is struggling to manage their finances. FINRA provides this information to the public because it is material for consumers to know whether or not their advisor’s financial situation influences the advisor’s recommendations. Continue Reading

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.

In July 2005, Watkins was charged for a tax lien of over $40,000. A tax lien is a sign that a financial advisor is struggling with their finances. FINRA makes this information available to the public so that investors can determine whether or not their advisor’s financial situation influences the advisor’s recommendations. Continue Reading

shutterstock_189302954-300x203The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Garden State Securities, Inc. (Garden State) broker Jason Zwibel (Zwibel). According to BrokerCheck records, Zwibel has been subject to 4 customer complaints, one of which is still pending.

In November 2017, a customer alleged that Zwibel engaged in unsuitable investments and breach of fiduciary duty from 2013 to 2016. The customer is requesting $2,670,750 in damages. This complaint is still pending.

In June 2007, a customer alleged that Zwiber engaged in breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation of investments, and failure to supervise. The case settled at $50,000.

In addition, in 1994, Zwibel was discharged from D.H. Blair & CO. Inc. for taking another account executive’s property, specifically 15 leads from another executive. Continue Reading

shutterstock_15963142-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Anthony Salerno (Salerno), employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise), has been subject to three customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Salerno has been accused by a customers of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

The most recent claim was filed in March 2018 and alleges unsuitable recommendations of municipal bonds in the period of 2013 to December 2017. The customer claimed $300,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

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shutterstock_177577832-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Brian Royster (Royster), formerly associated with HD Vest Investment Services (HD Vest), in November 2017, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he borrowed funds from clients.  FINRA found that Royster consented to the sanction and findings that he refused to comply with a FINRA request for documents related to its investigation into the circumstances surrounding his termination from HD Vest. FINRA found that HD Vest filed a Form U5 terminating Royster’s registration and stating that he had violated its policy regarding borrowing money from clients.

In addition to the bar Royster has been subject to two customer complaints concerning his variable annuity sales practices.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Royster’s securities violations and outside business activites.  The firm’s allegations concern borrowing of funds could be considered a private securities transaction – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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