Articles Tagged with investment fraud lawyer

shutterstock_20354398-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Peter Steege (Steege) has at least 21 disclosable events.  Such events include one criminal matter, four regulatory disclosures, two employment terminations for cause, and 14 customer complaints alleging that Steege engaged in some form of investment related misconduct in the handling of the client’s accounts.  Steege is currently employed by Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International).  Steege’s customer complaints alleges that Steege recommended unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, and overconcentrated investments relating to the handling of client accounts.

In January 2021 a customer complained that Steege violated the securities laws by alleging that Steege made unsuitable investments resulting in losses in the amount of $163,000 in the account.  The claim is currently pending.

In November 2020 a customer complained that Steege violated the securities laws by alleging that Steege made unsuitable investments and overconcentrated the account resulting in losses in the amount of $5,000 in the account.  The claim is currently pending.

In November 2020 a customer complained that Steege violated the securities laws by alleging that Steege made unsuitable investments resulting in losses in the amount of $50,000 in the account.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_154554782-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that Advisor Michael Lackwood (Lackwood), currently employed by Spring Delta Asset Management, LLC (Spring Delta) has been subject to at least one customer complaint and one employment termination for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Lackwood’s customer complaint alleges that Lackwood recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving risky and speculative securities, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2019, a customer complained that Lackwood violated the securities laws by alleging that Lackwood did not follow the customer’s instructions to sell. The complaint further alleged that Lackwood engaged in unsuitable investment advice, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud. Lastly, the complaint alleged that Lackwood engaged in misrepresentations related to risky and speculative securities. The claim settled in the amount of $115,000.

Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly.  This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation.  Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Advisors should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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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shutterstock_128856874-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that Financial Advisor Eladio Santiago (Santiago), currently employed by Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. (Cambridge), has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Santiago’s customer complaints alleges that Santiago recommended unsuitable investments in various investments, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In February 2020, a customer complained that Santiago violated the securities laws by alleging that Santiago engaged in unsuitable investment advice, and mismanagement of accounts. The claim settled in the amount of $75,000.

In August, 2019, a customer complained that Santiago violated the securities laws by alleging that Santiago engaged in unsuitable investment advice, and mismanagement of accounts. The claim settled in the amount of $95,000.

In December, 2002, a customer complained that Santiago violated the securities laws by alleging that Santiago engaged in unsuitable investment transactions in the accounts. The claim alleged $756,000 in damages. The claim was closed without action.

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shutterstock_186471755-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Timothy O’Brien (O’Brien), formerly employed by Feltl & Company has been subject to numerous disclosures including at least six customer complaints, two criminal matters, four judgement or tax liens, and regulatory complaints during the course of his career.  O’Brien customer complaints alleges that O’Brien recommended unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, and overconcentrated investments relating to the handling of client accounts.

In November 2020 O’Brien consented to FINRA findings and sanctions that he placed unauthorized trades in a customer’s account. FINRA found that O’Brien sold a limited partnership position in the customer’s account and purchased Class A shares of a mutual fund. FINRA found that O’Brien then attempted to call the customer to discuss the trades but did not reach her before executing the transactions.

In July 2020 a customer complained that O’Brien violated the securities laws by alleging that O’Brien made unsuitable investments, over concentration, and misrepresentation resulting in excessive losses in the account.  The claim alleged $450,000 in damages and settled for $350,000.

O’Brien has several large tax liens.  Such disclosures on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services. Continue Reading

shutterstock_171721244-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Peter Ianace (Ianace) has been accused by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) of engaging in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs).  According to records kept by FINRA Ianace was employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) and Merrill Lynch Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) through June 2020 when he abruptly resigned when he refused to cooperate in FINRA’s investigation over these allegations.  If you have been a victim of Ianace’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

According to FINRA, the regulatory barred Ianace after he consented to the sanction that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into his potential failure to disclose outside business activities (OBAs) to his member firm.

Ianace’s BrokerCheck also reveals four customer complaints.  The most recent allegation in January 2021 alleges unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentations from February 2013 until December 2019 and claims $18 million in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_191231699-300x200Advisor and broker Ralph Byer (Byer), currently employed by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (Merrill Lynch), has a substantial complaint history. Byer has been subject to at least seven customer complaints during the course of his career. According to a BrokerCheck report, the majority of his customer complaints (four out of seven) concern unsuitable investment recommendations.

In June 2018, a customer alleged Byer engaged making unsuitable investment recommendations and excessive trading from 1990 until 2018. Ultimately this matter settled for $565,000.00. Additionally, from 2001 through 2009, three other known customer complaints were brought against Byer for making unsuitable investments. Moreover, in 1999, a customer alleged Byer engaged in churning. That matter ultimately settled in favor of the client for $22,500.00.

Advisors have an obligation to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Advisors should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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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shutterstock_179465345-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Martin Noonan Jr. (Noonan), formerly associated with BMA Securities, LLC (BMA Securities), has been subject to at least one customer complaint, one regulatory action, and eight judgement or liens during his career.  The complaint against Noonan concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Noonan violated the securities laws by alleging that Noonan engaged in sales practice violations related to account mismanagement or that the account representative engaged in unsuitable or excessive trading.  The claim is currently pending and seeks $250,000 in damages.

In May 2020 FINRA barred Noonan after the broker consented to sanctions and to findings that he refused to produce information or documents requested by FINRA during an investigation that it began after reviewing a Dispute Resolution Statement of Claim filed alleging unsuitable and excessive trading in a client account.  Accordingly, Noonan was automatically barred from the securities industry.

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shutterstock_187083428-300x198The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Shane Appelbaum (Appelbaum), currently employed by Herbet J. Sims & Co, Inc. (Herbert J. Sims) has been subject to at least two customer complaints and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), one of Appelbaum’s customer complaints likely involves the sale of structured products.  The complaint alleges that Appelbaum recommended unsuitable investments in what are referred to as CDs issued by several banks.

In February 2020 a customer complained that Appelbaum violated the securities laws by alleging that Appelbaum made unsuitable sales of $75,000 in a Bank of America CD purchased in Oct. 2014, maturing 2030 and a $240,000 Citibank CD purchased in Jan. 2014, maturing 2034 purchased for the partnership which is beneficially owned by an elderly husband and wife.  The claim alleges $86,864.90 and is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer complained that Appelbaum violated the securities laws by alleging that Appelbaum’s investment recommendations involved unsuitable trades, negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation. The claim was settled for $40,000.

Structured products range in risk from benign to extreme.  However, most structured products produce inferior risk/return profiles than ordinary debt or equity instruments because the brokerage firms that issue these products seek to profit from the spread between the payment to investors and the amount of money the brokerage firm can make from the issuance.  When dealing with some of the more complex structured products most investors will lack the ability to understand the merits of investments nor are many structured products appropriate for investors seeking a fixed or reliable income and preservation of capital.

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shutterstock_132704474-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Michael Burkoff (Burkoff), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Burkoff’s one of customer complaints alleges that Burkoff recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such structured products among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In December 2019 a customer complained that Burkoff violated the securities laws by alleging that Burkoff engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitable trading and breach of fiduciary duty relating to the sale of structured products. The claim alleges $150,000 and is currently pending.

In August 2015 a customer complained that Burkoff violated the securities laws by alleging that Burkoff engaged in sales practice violations related to poor advice. The claim was denied by the firm.

Structured products range in risk from benign to extreme.  However, most structured products produce inferior risk/return profiles than ordinary debt or equity instruments because the brokerage firms that issue these products seek to profit from the spread between the payment to investors and the amount of money the brokerage firm can make from the issuance.  When dealing with some of the more complex structured products most investors will lack the ability to understand the merits of investments nor are many structured products appropriate for investors seeking a fixed or reliable income and preservation of capital.

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shutterstock_1744162-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor John Jaramillo (Jaramillo) has been accused by his former employer of selling a non-approved product among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Jaramillo has been terminated by his prior employer, Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) concerning his outside business activities.  If you have been a victim of Jaramillo’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In March 2020 Western International terminated Jaramillo after alleging that he sold a non-approved product.

Jaramillo’s outside business activities disclosed on his publicly available BrokerCheck report include accident & health insurance and Integrity Real Estate Solutions which is listed as a real estate agent.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling securities sales through OBAs.  The sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

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