Articles Tagged with investment fraud attorney

shutterstock_184430498-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Michael Polyakov (Polyakov) has been subject to three customer complaints and eight financial disclosures.  Polyakov is currently employed by Westpark Capital, Inc. (Westpark Capital).  Many of the customer complaints against Polyakov concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.

In January 2013 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, churning, and excessive trading.  The claim alleged $157,178 in damages and settled.

In March 2010 a customer filed a complaint alleging churning, unauthorized trades, and unsuitable investments claiming $250,000 in damages.  The complaint was settled.

In addition, Polyakov has eight financial disclosures concerning debt compromises.  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.

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shutterstock_160350752-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Farrukh Kazmi (Kazmi), currently employed by Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) has been subject to one customer complaint, two terminations for cause, one financial disclosures, and one regulatory complaint.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in August 2018 Kazmi was subject to a regulatory complaint by FINRA alleging a number of securities laws violations.

The FINRA complaint alleged that Kazmi regularly used instant messaging and text messaging to communicate with his member firm’s customers to conduct securities business and ignored Berthel Fisher’s explicit instruction that he discontinue using instant messaging to communicate with his customers. FINRA also claims that Kazmi did not inform his firm that he used text messaging or instant messaging to conduct securities business, nor did he provide copies of these communications to the firm. The complaint further alleges that Kazmi repeatedly made false statements to Berthel Fisher and to FINRA about using instant messaging to conduct securities business.

FINRA is also claiming that Kazmi exercised discretion on hundreds of occasions when placing trades in the accounts of customers, without prior written authorization from the customers or written approval from his firm. FINRA also alleges that Kazmi is falsely denying exercising discretion in customer accounts in statements to both Berthel Fisher and FINRA.

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shutterstock_146470052-300x205According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Erik Pica (Pica) has been subject to three customer complaints.  Pica is currently registered with Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (Joseph Stone).  Many of the customer complaints against Pica concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, unsuitable investments, and speculative investment strategies.

The last customer complaint occurred in May 2018 when a customer alleged unauthorized trading in Rite Aid and Valeant Pharmaceutical leading to $7,613 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Also in May 2018 another customer alleged negligent supervision, overconcentration, and unsuitable investments causing $293,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In March 2018 another customer alleged $500,000 after claiming that Pica engaged in unsuitable investments, churning, and other claims.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_12144202-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Robert Cavanagh (Cavanagh), currently employed by David Lerner Associates, Inc. (David Lerner) has been subject to at least five customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Cavanagh concern allegations of unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Cavanagh engaged in unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, breached his fiduciary duty, was negligent, and committed fraud in connection with Puerto Rico and Rochester Bond Fund.  The customer alleged $100,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In July 2017 a customer alleged unsuitable investments and misrepresentations and omissions of information causing $160,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_71240-300x183According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Cindy Chiellini (Chiellini), currently employed by Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus Financial) has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Chiellini’s customer complaints allege that Barber made unsuitable recommendations in certain corporate debt or other securities.

In August 2018 a customer alleged that investments in their account had less liquidity than they originally instructed the broker they desired resulting in a loss of principal.  The complaint alleges $175,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that investments presented and executed by the broker were not suitable.  The claim alleges $5,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_94632238-300x214According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Christopher Hibbard (Hibbard), formerly associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) in Louisville, Kentucky was terminated for cause by Merrill Lynch in January 2018 after the firm made allegations that Hibbard engaged in conduct including unauthorized transactions and theft.  Thereafter, in February 2018 Hibbard was barred by FINRA for failing to respond to the regulatory requests for information.  In April 2018 it was disclosed that an investigation of Hibbards activities had been opened by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Kentucky.  The investigation involves the unauthorized use of client funds by Hibbard during his employment with Merrill Lynch.  In addition, eight customers have brought complaints against Hibbard alleging misappropriation of funds.

The allegations concerning conversion are often accompanied by claims of engaging in outside business activtiies and private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.

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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_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.