Articles Tagged with Lincoln Financial

shutterstock_172399811-297x300The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor George Schmidt (Schmidt) has converted customer funds among other allegations.  According to BrokerCheck records, Schmidt is formerly registered with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (Lincoln Financial) out of the firm’s Melville, New York office location.  In addition, Schmidt disclosed four customer complaint, one employment terminations for cause, and one regulatory action.  If you have been a victim of Schmidt’s alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

According to FINRA, Schmidt refused provide documents and information to FINRA in connection with an investigation into allegations made by his firm upon his termation.

In November 2019 Lincoln Financial terminated Schmidt stating that he was discharged while under allegations of misappropriation related to undisclosed outside business activity serving as trustee for a non-family member.

Schmidt’s disclosed outside business activities include Schmidt Associates.

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shutterstock_85873471-300x200Advisor Peter Maller (Maller), currently employed by Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (Lincoln Financial) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report the customer complaints concern alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and annuities.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors who suffered losses caused by these types of high risk, low reward products.

In August 2019 a customer complained that Maller violated the securities laws by alleging that Maller engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending a client to invest her life savings in an unsuitable and deceptive manner, specifically concentrating her assets in annuities and illiquid, non-publicly traded investments. The claim is currently pending.

In April 2019 a customer complained that Maller violated the securities laws by alleging that Maller engaged in sales practice violations related to recommending an investment strategy in 2013 that failed to account for tax liabilities and recommended unsuitable investments. The claim is currently pending and seeks $350,394 in damages.

DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure.  Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.

Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do.  Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.  Continue Reading

shutterstock_20354401-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the Massachusetts Securities Division’s enforcement action and administrative complaint against ARO Equity, LLC (ARO Equity), Thomas David Renison (Renison), and Timothy James Allcott (Allcott).  The complaint alleges that ARO Equity is Ponzi-scheme.

Upon information and belief former broker Barry Horowitz (Horowitz) recommended Renison and ARO Equity to his investment and legal clients.  Horowitz was employed by Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation (Lincoln Financial) until August 2018.  At the same time Horowitz worked as an attorney with Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C.

In the ARO Equity fraud, the state of Massachusetts claimed that Allcott was the manager of ARO Equity and together with Renison took $5.8 million of investor funds since August 2015.  The complaint alleges that these funds were raised through the sale of unsecured promissory notes promising 8-12% annual returns over three to five-year terms.  The complaint alleges that investors made significant investments from their retirement accounts by transferring qualified retirement assets to a self-directed IRA to invest in ARO Equity.  Despite representations of safety, the complaint alleged that ARO Equity principals have received undisclosed and excessive commission payments and executive compensation for soliciting investments and bears the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.  In fact, the complaint claims that ARO Equity has only “invested” approximately half of the money received from investors and lost most of it.

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shutterstock_102757574Our firm’s investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Alan Thomilson (Thomilson) currently associated with Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation (Lincoln Financial) alleging unsuitable recommendations to invest in variable products such as variable annuities, equity indexed annuities, and variable life insurance.  According to brokercheck records Thomilson has been subject to six customer complaints and one criminal matter.

In March 2015 a customer alleged that Thomilson misrepresented a recommendation to replace an existing variable annuity with an equity indexed annuity and that the recommendation was not suitable causing $125,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Variable annuities and equity indexed annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

Broker Paul A. Thomas (Thomas) formerly with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. (Lincoln Financial) was suspended by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that Thomas engaged in unauthorized and/or improper discretionary penny stock trading, engaged in unsuitable penny stock trading, and mismarked the trade tickets for penny stock transactions as unsolicited, when they were solicited trades.

Thomas has been in the securities industry since 2000 and was employed by Lincoln Financial as a registered representative through his termination on October 14, 2011.  Thomas has approximately 15 customer disputes filed against him.  The vast majority of these disputes involve allegations concerning improper penny stock trading.

A “penny stock” is a security issued by a small or micro-cap company having less than $100 million in market capitalization. Penny stocks typically trade at less than $5 per share and are generally quoted on over-the-counter exchanges such as on the OTC Bulletin Board.  The risks of penny stocks include the fact that they may trade infrequently. Thus, it is often difficult to liquidate a penny stock holding once acquired and at the time the investor wants to.  Second, it is often difficult to find accurate quotes for penny stocks.  Consequently, penny stocks often fluctuate wildly day-to-day and investors may lose their whole investment.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred broker Jerry McGlothlin from associating with any member firm for engaging in outside business activities, engaging in private securities transactions, providing false responses on annual compliance questionnaires, and failing to respond to FINRA requests for information.

Between May 2003, and October 2012, McGlothlin was registered with FINRA through his association with Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation (“Lincoln Financial”) and its predecessor Jefferson Pilot Securities, Inc.  On October 12, 2012, Lincoln Financial filed a Uniform Termination Notice (Form U5) terminating McGlothlin’s registration with the firm.

FINRA alleged that McGlothlin engaged in outside business activities without notifying Lincoln Financial, in violation of NASD Conduct Rules 3030 and 2110, and FINRA Conduct Rules 3270 and 2010.  FINRA alleged that while McGlothlin was employed with Lincoln Financial he engaged in business activities with International Business Law Center, Inc. (IBLC), a/k/a Internet Business Law Services and IBLS Online Education, Inc. (IBLS Online).  Both IBLC and IBLS Online provide internet legal services and learning programs.

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