Articles Tagged with Investor Attorney

shutterstock_183549914-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Johnny Guan (Guan), currently employed by Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis Capital) has been subject to at least two customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Guan’s customer complaints alleges that Mr. Guan recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving real estate securities, options, and penny stocks, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts

In December 2019, a customer complained that Mr. Guan violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Guan engaged in negligent investment advice, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized transactions.  The claim settled in the amount of $5,400.

In April 2016, a customer complained that Mr. Guan violated the securities laws by alleging that Mr. Guan engaged in unsuitable investment advice, negligence, and material misrepresentations.  The claim settled in the amount of $7,200.

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shutterstock_29356093-300x214The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that broker Kevin Meadows (Meadows), most recently associated with IBN Financial Services, Inc. (IBN Financial Services) has been subject to at least five  customer complaints and two regulatory actions during the course of his career. Meadows has been recently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Meadows’s customer complaints alleges that Meadows recommended unsuitable investments in various investments among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts, including churning customer accounts.

In April 2020, a customer complained that Meadows violated the securities laws by alleging that Meadows recommended unsuitable investments and failed to repay a loan. Further, the claim alleged that Meadows engaged in failure to supervise, excessive trading, and breach of fiduciary duty. The damage amount requested was $168,000. The claim settled in the amount of $35,000.

In March 2006, a customer complained that Meadows violated the securities laws by alleging that Meadows engaged in unauthorized trading and use of margin in customer accounts. The damage amount requested was $135,481.71. The matter was settled in a voluntary mediation, without going through arbitration/litigation. The claim settled in the amount of $50,000.

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shutterstock_61142644The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Tracy Wengert (Wengert) (FINRA No. 2015044289201) resulting in a bar from the securities industry alleging that Wengert failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents requested. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry. FINRA’s document requests related to the regulators investigation into claims in February 2015, FINRA enforcement began investigating allegations of misconduct by Wengert in that he opened brokerage accounts outside of the Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (Transamerica) on behalf of customers and placed unsuitable trades in these accounts.

FINRA’s investigation appears to stem from Wengert’s termination from Transamerica in January 2015. At that time Transamerica filed a Form U5 termination notice with FINRA stating in part that the firm discharged Wengert under circumstances where there was allegations that Wengert was alleged to have managed a client account on a discretionary basis without approval or oversight through the firm.

Wengert entered the securities industry in 1999. From April 2002 until January 2012, Wengert was associated with World Group Securities, Inc. Thereafter, from January 2012 until February 2015, Wengert was associated as a registered representative with Transamerica.

shutterstock_176351714The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently filed a complaint against ARI Financial Services, Inc. (ARI) and William Candler (Candler), the firm’s President and former Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) alleging that that he facilitated at least ten private placement offerings from September 1, 2009, to December 31, 2012. The complaint found that the respondents failed to implement reasonable supervisory procedures in connection with the sales of the private placements.

ARI has been a FINRA member firm since 2005 and derives most of its revenue as a wholesaler of private placements that it marketed to retail broker-dealers who then sold those interests to retail investors. ARI’s main office was located in Kansas and during certain times had registered up to five branch offices and over 30 registered representatives located in six different states. ARI is currently owned by Candler and two other individuals. Candler is ARI’s majority owner.

Candler entered the securities industry in 1996. From March 2011, until November 2012, Candler was associated with Connor Capital Investments, LLC. Since April 2014, in addition to ARI, Candler is associated with JCC Advisors, LLC.

shutterstock_173864537According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Gregory Dean (Dean) has been the subject of at least 4 customer complaints over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Dean in recent years alleging that the broker made unsuitable investments and churned their accounts. Other claims concerning Dean’s handling of customer accounts include allegations of failing to execute trades.

Dean has been registered with FINRA since 2005. From January 2007 until November 2011, Dean was registered with J.D. Nicholas & Associates, Inc. Currently, Dean is associated with Worden Capital Management LLC.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. When brokers engage in churning the investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is transacted to profit the broker through the generation of commission payments. The elements to establish a churning claim, which is considered a species of securities fraud, are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.

shutterstock_186772637The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred former Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis) broker Malcom Segal (Segal) alleging that Segal may have engaged in unauthorized transfers of funds from customer accounts to an outside business activities (a/k/a “selling away”).

According to Segal’s BrokerCheck, Segal was registered with Cumberland Brokerage Corporation from 1989 until April 2011. Thereafter, Segal was a broker for Aegis until July 2014 where he was terminated on allegations of by the firm violations of the firm that Segal failed to cooperate with an internal investigation into a customer complaint he made unauthorized wire transfers from a customer’s account. Segal’s disclosures also reveal that he is listed as a partner of J & M Financial and President of National C.D. Sales.

Upon information and belief, it is in connection with National C.D. Sales that customer have filed complaints against Segal concerning. While details concerning Segal’s activities are still pending, the allegations against Cox are consistent with a “selling away” securities violation. Selling away occurs when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies or promissory notes that were not approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. In many cases the broker transfers funds or liquidates investments at his registered firm in order to make the investment in the outside business.

One of the most common questions I receive as a FINRA securities attorney is whether or not a client is likely to prevail at a FINRA arbitration hearing.  My first gut reaction, and the one I tell clients, is honestly I just don’t know.  Most clients are puzzled by this answer because after handling hundreds of arbitration claims one would think I would have a better sense and certainty as to the strength of the case.  However, the answer to whether the client would win at arbitration is not just a function of the strength of the case.

The better way to phrase the question is: What is the likely outcome of my securities case?  That question is more readily answerable.  I tell clients that it has been our experience that approximately 80% of all cases filed will be resolved through settlement or other means sometime prior to hearing.  Recent data released by FINRA supports that approximately 80% of cases never make it to hearing.  According to FINRA, of all arbitrations decided between 2009 and 2013 between 75% and 79% of those claims are resolved either through settlement, withdrawn, or means other than a hearing.

But what of the 20% of cases that do go to hearing?  What are the chances of success at the FINRA arbitration hearing?  The answer to that question is again usually unknowable at the time it’s first asked.  There are so many considerations that go into determining the likelihood of success, many of which are unknown at the outset.  Once of the biggest unknowns at the outset is who the arbitrators will be.

You’ve gone over your account statements and start to suspect that your broker hasn’t invested your assets appropriately.  What should you do?  The first step is to compile all of your documents and correspondence with your broker.  You should collect your monthly account statements, opening account documents, and any written communication with your brokerage firm for starters. This will make it easier to assess your case.

Next, you should consult with an attorney. While not required, when you have securities claim, brokerage firms rarely settle claims with individuals without the assistance of an attorney.  Most securities claims must be brought in arbitration  before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the broker-dealer regulator.  A securities attorney can represent you during the arbitration or mediation proceedings and provide direction and advice on how to present your claim.  Even if you do not choose to hire an attorney, brokerage firms usually hire counsel to represent them.  If you cannot afford an attorney, many law firms offer contingency fee arrangements.

The SEC provides the following advice on finding an attorney who specializes in resolving securities complaints. If you need help in finding a lawyer who specializes in resolving securities complaints, you may want to try the following:

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