Articles Tagged with Investors Capital

shutterstock_112866430-300x199According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Travis Hughes (Hughes), currently employed by Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera) has been subject to twelve customer complaints and one employment termination for cause during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the many of the customer complaints against Hughes concern allegations over variable annuity sales practices and non traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs).

In August 2008 Hughes was terminated by AXA Advisors, LLC (AXA) after the firm alleged that Hughes failed to follow compliance procedures and policies after the broker was placed on enhanced supervision by the firm.

In August 2018 a client complained that Hughes violated the securities laws by recommending Non-Traded REITs.  The customer alleged $18,253 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In January 2017 a client complained that Hughes violated the securities laws by recommending unsuitable investments between 2011 and 2013.  The customer alleged $85,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $37,500.

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shutterstock_76996033-300x200Former Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera Advisors) advisor Nina Jessee (Jessee) has been subject to at least 21 customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern variable annuities or alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In November 2017, Cetera Advisors allowed Jessee to resign. However, Cetera did disclose that Jessee was found to violate the firm’s policies concerning disclosing outside business activities with the firm prior to engaging in such activities.

Jessee stated that she did not contribute to any of these settlements.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.

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shutterstock_143094109The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Ignatowich (Ignatowich).  According to BrokerCheck records Ignatowich has been subject to at least nine customer complaints and one regulatory action.  The customer complaints against Ignatowich allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.   In addition, the state of New Hampshire filed a complaint against Ignatowich alleging that the broker engaged in unlawful telemarketing and provided inaccurate and misleading information to the state during the course of their investigation.  Ignatowich was sanctioned $87,500 and barred for nine months.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  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.

The number of events listed on Ignatowich brokercheck is high relative to her peers.  According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records.  Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints.  In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters.  However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck.  More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.

shutterstock_189496604The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned broker Stephen Dealy (Dealy) concerning allegations that Dealy willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose a federal tax lien. FINRA also alleged that Dealy failed to report written complaints he received from his customers to Investors Capital Corp. (ICC).

Dealy first became registered with FINRA in 1983. From November 21, 2001 to September 12, 2014, Dealy was registered through ICC. On September 12, 2014, ICC filed a Form U5 terminating Dealy’s registration with the firm.

According to Dealy’s public disclosures the broker has been subject to seven customer complaints. These statistics are alarming because multiple customer complaints on a broker’s record are exceedingly rare. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. FINRA’s disclosure records do not just cover customer complaints but also include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters. Therefore, the number of brokers with multiple customer complaints is constitutes only a very small percentage of licensed brokers.

shutterstock_20354398The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP is investigating a series of complaints against broker William Sheehan (Sheehan). According to Sheehan’s BrokerCheck records the broker has been the subject of 7 investor complaints since 2010. That many claims against one broker is rare. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Thus the number of brokers receiving eight complaints is exceedingly small.

The complaints concerning Sheehan’s activities at several brokerage firms. From July 2004, through October 2007, Sheehan was associated with Investors Capital Corp. (ICC) Next, from October 2007 until January 2010, Sheehan was a registered representative of Omni Brokerage, Inc. Thereafter, Sheehan went back to ICC until October 2012. Finally, Sheehan is currently registered with DFPG Investments, Inc.

Many of the complaints against Sheehan involve allegations investment recommendations into real estate securities and limited partnership interests in tenants-in-common (TICs). TIC investments have come under fire by the customers and even within the securities industry. Indeed, due to the failure of the TIC investment strategy as a whole across the securities industry, TIC investments have virtually disappeared as offered investments.   According to InvestmentNews “At the height of the TIC market in 2006, 71 sponsors raised $3.65 billion in equity from TICs and DSTs…TICs now are all but extinct because of the fallout from the credit crisis.” In fact, TIC recommendations have been a major contributor to bankrupting several brokerage firms. For example, InvestmentNews found that 43 of the 92 broker-dealers that sold TICs sponsored by DBSI Inc., a company whose executives were later charged with running a Ponzi scheme, a staggering 47% of firms that sold DBSI are no longer in business.

shutterstock_143179897Our law firm is currently investigating an alleged Ponzi scheme run by financial advisor Patricia S. Miller (Miller) of McMurray, Pennsylvania. According to the United States Attorney Office, on June 6, 2014, Miller was arrested on charges that she orchestrated a massive Ponzi scheme and committed wire fraud.

Our attorneys encourage investors to contact our office if they have been an unfortunate victim of Miller’s. Our attorneys have significant experience recovering investor funds by holding brokerage firms and Ponzi schemer’s responsible. In a similar fraudulent investment scheme our attorneys obtained a $2.8 million award on behalf of a group of defrauded investors including $1.9 million in punitive damages. See Reuters, Arbitrator orders alleged Ponzi-schemer to pay $2.8 million (Aug. 8, 2013) and the Award here.

In Miller’s case, the United States has alleged that Miller used and abused her position of trust and her association with a Massachusetts broker dealer in order to obtain money from clients. While Miller represented to clients that their funds would be invested prudently, it is becoming clear that Miller never made such investments. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Miller promised high returns in “investment clubs” called KS Investments and Buckharbor, among others. Miller represented, that the investment clubs would be placed in fixed-income notes and other investments. Instead, Miller has been accused of misappropriating the client’s funds for her own personal use. If convicted, Miller could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

shutterstock_179203760The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently fined brokerage firm Investors Capital Corp. (Investors Capital) $100,000 on allegations that from at least about June 2009 through April 2011, Investors Capital failed to provide prospectuses to customers who purchased exchange traded funds (ETFs). FINRA also alleged that Investors Capital also failed to establish, maintain and enforce an adequate supervisory system concerning the sale of ETFs and the obligation to provide ETF prospectuses to customers.

Investors Capital is an independent broker-dealer offering brokerage services and financial planning to customers and has been a FINRA member since 1992. Investors Capital is headquartered in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, and employs approximately 539 registered persons, across 325 branch offices.

ETFs typically attempt to track an index such as a market index, a commodity, or an entire market segment. ETFs can be either attempt to track the index or apply leverage in order to amplify the returns of an underlying stock position. ETFs that employ leverage are called either non-traditional ETFs or leveraged ETFs. In an ideal world, a leveraged ETF with 300% leverage will return 3% if the underlying index returns 1%. Nontraditional ETFs can also be designed to return the inverse or the opposite of the return of the benchmark.

shutterstock_173864537The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating an alleged Ponzi scheme run by financial advisor Patricia S. Miller (Miller) of McMurray, Pennsylvania. According to allegations made against Miller by investors, she convinced customers to invest in purportedly safe mix of securities including corporate and municipal bonds. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that these investments may not exist at all.

Miller was a registered broker with several brokerage firms including Janney Montgomery Scott LLC and Investors Capital Corp. (Investors Capital). According to Miller’s BrokerCheck, on May 19, 2014, Investors Capital received a complaint alleging that an investor provided Miller with $80,000 that had been misappropriated by Miller. Two days later Investors Capital discharged Miller alleging that the broker has been accused of misappropriating funds, borrowing money from customers, fraudulent investment activity, and creating false documents.

According to investor complaints, Miller may have used various entities, including KS Investments, KS Investment Partnership, K Squared Development, K Squared Investments, Buck Harbor Investments, Buck Harbor Investment Club, and Buck Harbor Investment Partnership in order to carry out her scheme. Investors in these vehicles may have received false statements listing securities holdings and values of securities that may not truly exist. For instance some investors may have been misled into believing that they owned bonds issued by companies like General Electric, McDonald’s Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and other municipal bonds.