Articles Tagged with investment fraud lawyer

shutterstock_113872627-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Michael Stanton (Stanton), currently employed by Worden Capital Management LLC (Worden Capital) has been subject to at least four customer complaints, two regulatory complaints, and nine financial disclosures and or tax and civil liens.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Stanton’s customer complaints allege that Stanton recommended unsuitable securities and engaged in excessive trading and churning among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In November 2016 Stanton was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that he and his member firm failed to establish, maintain, and enforce a reasonable supervisory system to prevent a registered representative from churning and excessively trading a customer’s brokerage accounts. FINRA alleged that Stanton and the firm failed to adequately investigate red flags demonstrating that the registered representative was churning the customer’s accounts.  FINRA found that Stanton and the firm also failed to adequately investigate that the registered representative engaged in aggressive, “in-and-out” trading for no apparent reason – the hallmark of excessive trading and churning.  Stanton was suspended for seven months and fined $5,000 as a result.

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shutterstock_94332400-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Kerry Moy (Moy), currently employed by Western International Securities (Western International) has been subject to at least five customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Moy’s customer complaints allege that Moy recommended unsuitable securities recommendations and misrepresented investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In May 2019 Moy’s former employer Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC (Morgan Stanley) discharged Moy alleging that he submitted inaccurate information for business expenses, his submission of inaccurate and incomplete information about outside restaurant-related business activities, and his use of firm resources for those outside activities.  In response Moy claims to have “filed a multi-million dollar claim against Morgan Stanley for its wrongful termination of my employment.”

In December 2018 a customer complained that Moy violated the securities laws by alleging that the investments were misrepresented from 2015 to 2018. The claim seeks $14 million in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_176284139-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP is currently investigating advisor Anthony Conti (Conti), currently associated with Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. (Boenning & Scattergood) out of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Conti has been subject to at least one customer dispute during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Conti’s customer complaints concern allegations of unsuitable investments.

In October 2016 it was alleged that Conti’s previous employer, Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC (RSA), three clients of RSA commenced an arbitration claim against the firm. The clients alleged that RSA misrepresented the safety and security of film tax credit notes purchased from the issuer, leading clients to believe their principal was not subject to significant risk. The clients allege that these misrepresentations and negligence caused the loss of principal.  The claim alleged $2,200,000 in damages.  This dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_189276023-300x198The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Michael Rappa (Rappa) engaged in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Rappa, formerly registered with Foresters Equity Services, Inc. (Foresters Equity) out of San Diego, California was barred from the financial industry and disclosed at least two customer complaints.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Rappa’s customer complaints allege that Rappa made unsuitable private securities transaction recommendations.

In February 2019, FINRA stated that Rappa consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that from August 2016 to July 2017, he engaged in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions totaling $2,731,287. The findings stated that Rappa solicited investors to purchase promissory notes relating to a purported real estate investment fund.

In May 2018, a customer alleged that in 2016, Rappa made unsuitable private securities transaction recommendations. The customer has requested $75,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, another customer similarly alleged that in 2017, Rappa was recommending unsuitable private securities transactions. The customer has requested $700,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_187532303-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Richard Cagle (Cagle), formerly employed by Hilltop Securities Independent Network Inc. (Hilltop Securities) has been subject to at least two customer complaints and one regulatory complaint resulting in a bar from the financial industry.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Cagle’s customer complaints allege that Cagle recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In July 2019 Cagle consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear and provide an on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA.  FINRA stated that it commenced an investigation into whether Cagle violated FINRA rules by making unsuitable investment recommendations and mismarking customer order tickets while associated with his former member firm.  Cagle’s failure to respond to the investigation drew an automatic bar from the industry.

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shutterstock_176198786-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Stephen Whittaker (Whittaker), formerly employed by First Financial Equity Corporation (First Financial) and previously with Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least 2 customer complaints, one bankruptcy filing, and two terminations for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Whittaker’s customer complaints allege that Whittaker recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In May 2012 Whittaker was forced to resign from Morgan Stanley after the firm found that Whittaker communicated with third parties regarding two client accounts without written authorization and his potential involvement in unapproved outside business activities (OBAs).

In April 2015 Whittaker declared bankruptcy.  FINRA discloses information concerning a broker’s financial condition because a broker’s inability to handle their own personal finances has also been found to be material information in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

In April 2019 Whittaker was terminated by First Financial after the firm found out that Whittaker was engaged in undisclosed business activities including tax planning for firm clients.

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shutterstock_20354401-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Mariemont Capital Partners, LP (Mariemont Capital Partners) and its principals William “Bill” Kielczewski (Kielczewski).  If you have suffered investment losses with Mariemont Capital Partners our firm would be interested in speaking with you.  According to a BrokerCheck report, through May 2017 Kielczewski was a broker with The Huntington Investment Company (Huntington Investment) out of the firm’s Toledo, Ohio office location.  During this time Kielczewski is alleged to have sold $10 million in investments in Mariemont Capital Partners without disclosing this fact to Huntington Investment.

In May 2019 FINRA filed a complaint alleging that Kielczewski falsely and repeatedly represented to his member firm that he was merely a passive investor in Mariemont Capital Partners when, in fact, he was actively involved with the fund, promoting it to potential investors. Instead, FINRA found that Kielczewski helped to facilitate customer investments in the fund by assisting in the completion of wire transfers in order to fund their investments, reviewed and made revisions to the fund’s pitch book and quarterly portfolio reports, and occasionally suggested to a customer certain securities to purchase for the fund.  When FINRA reviewed Kielczewski’s tax returns they showed that Kielczewski identified himself as a general partner of the investment manager of the fund and he declared ordinary business income losses and non-passive ordinary income. FINRA found that Kielczewski participated in multiple private securities transactions through which four firm customers invested over $10 million in the hedge fund without providing prior written notice to his firm.

Mariemont Capital Partners SEC private placement filing in 2014 states that the total offering amount was $250,000,000 of which $53,400,000 had been already sold.  According to the fund’s website Kevin Taylor is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Mariemont Capital and has 17 years of fixed income trading experience to identify value within the non-agency residential mortgage backed securities market.

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dreamstime_s_24782834-258x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP represents a group of 23 claimants that have been awarded $3 million by a FINRA arbitration panel after 18 days of hearing and litigation that stretched over three years.  At hearing the evidence showed that Spire Securities, LLC (Spire Securities) and the firm’s principal officers including its CEO David Blisk (Blisk) and CCO Suzanne McKeown (McKeown) failed to supervise their registered representative Patrick Churchville (Churchville).

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the firm’s failure to supervise Blisk continues to defend his conduct instead of instituting necessary reforms to his practice.  In addition, Blisk has made several false statements of fact to the media in his continuing attempts to exonerate himself and his firm.

Blisk told AdvisorHub “’We think the award is outrageous and inappropriate,’ said Blisk, noting that the majority arbitrators appeared to ignore the firm’s claims that the Ponzi scheme began after Churchville left Spire in 2011. “We can’t supervise after somebody leaves us, and we don’t have to be fraud investigators.”

False on all counts.  First the only thing that is outrageous is that Blisk and Spire Securities could not produce a single opening account form, subscription agreement, or account statement for any of the 23 claimants who invested over $10 million in Churchville’s fraud on Spire Securities watch.  Claimants repeatedly asked Respondents to provide any evidence that the firm monitored Churchville’s activities for supervision without response.  Blisk had no evidence that Claimants investments, which were overconcentrated in private equity funds, was suitable.  Further, Respondents did not even know what Churchville’s funds were invested in and claimed that brokerage firms can blindly approve products that they have no understanding of.

Finally, Blisk falsely claims that Churchville did not commit fraud on Spire Securities watch.  Claimants proved that Churchville directed and ordered the theft of over $900,000 from one of the Claimants over Spire Securities’ email servers.  In addition, Claimants introduced numerous emails that showed $750,000 had been stolen from the private equity funds while Churchville fraudulently told investors the same investment was producing fantastic returns.  Claimants also showed that Chuchville stole over $200,000 in investor funds to pay administrative expenses that had been overdue for over a year after the service provider questioned whether Churchville was going out of business.  Finally, Claimants produced evidence that Churchville’s auditor had concerns over the private equity fund’s valuation and could not find evidence to back up Churchville’s claimed returns.

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shutterstock_59949436-300x286The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are pleased to announce that a group of 23 claimants have been awarded $3 million by a FINRA arbitration panel after 18 days of hearing and litigation that stretched over three years.  The case involved important investor protections concerning broker private securities transactions and outside business activities that firms must supervise and has been picked up by news outlets.

At hearing the evidence showed that Spire Securities, LLC (Spire Securities) and the firm’s principal officers including its CEO David Blisk (Blisk) and CCO Suzanne McKeown (McKeown) failed to supervise their registered representative Patrick Churchville (Churchville).  Due to the firm’s non-existent supervision Churchville was able to unsuitably invest his clients in his own private equity funds and misappropriate client funds.  Chuchville was later barred from the securities industry and in March of 2017 the United States District Court of Rhode Island sentenced Churchville to 84 months in federal prison for his crimes.

Churchville conducted his fraudulent activities through private equity funds he ran and controlled through a disclosed outside business activity and registered investment advisory practice.  Claimants showed that the private equity securities were private securities transactions that the firm was required to supervise.  Claimants proved that while Blisk and McKeown approved of Churchville’s activities but that the firm relied on Churchville to supervise himself.

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shutterstock_189302963-300x194According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Christopher McClure (McClure), currently employed by Westport Capital Markets, LLC (Westport Capital) has been subject to at least two customer complaints and a regulatory action brought by the SEC during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), McClure’s customer complaints allege that McClure breached his fiduciary duty among other allegations.

In December 2017 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Connecticut-based investment advisory firm and its principal, McClure, with breaching their fiduciary duties and defrauding advisory clients by repeatedly purchasing securities that generated significant amounts of undisclosed compensation.

The SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut alleged that Westport Capital and McClure invested advisory clients’ funds in risky securities that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed mark-ups for Westport and resulted in more than $1 million in losses for clients.  The SEC found that Westport purchased securities from underwriters at a discount to the public offering price and then, acting as a principal for its own account, re-sold those same securities to its advisory clients at higher prices without disclosing the mark-up.  The SEC further alleged that Westport and McClure defrauded a client by acting contrary to the client’s express objectives and instead repeatedly investing the client in risky offerings that generated hidden mark-ups.  Moreover, the SEC also found that Westport and McClure made false and misleading representations to clients regarding the compensation that Westport would receive from their accounts.

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