Articles Tagged with LPL Financial

shutterstock_85873471-300x200Gana LLP is investigating a customer complaint filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) again broker Joeann Mitchell Walker (Walker). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck records for Walker, there are several settled disclosures on her record. Walker entered the securities industry in 1992 and currently employed at Next Financial Group, Inc. She was previously employed at LPL Financial LLC (8/2006 – 4/2015), Commonwealth Financial Network (7/1998 – 8/2006), American Express Financial Advisors (6/1992 – 7/1998), and IDS Life Insurance Company (06/1992 – 7/1998).

In March 2016, a customer complaint was filed alleging Walker made unauthorized sales of different stocks, unauthorized and unsuitable purchases of variable annuities, and unauthorized mutual fund switches during the period of June 2014 to June 2015 while Walker was employed at LPL Financial LLC. The stated alleged damages were $208,764.00. The claim was settled in November 2016 for the amount of $175,000.00.

Walker has two additional previous disclosures from 2005 and 1999. In April 2005, a claim was filed alleging that Walker practiced in excessive turnovers in the client’s mutual fund account. The claim alleged damages of $30,000.00. This claim was settled in July 2005 for the final settlement amount of $9,900.00.

shutterstock_175835072-300x199The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the LPL Financial LLC’s (LPL) termination of former broker Christopher Russell (Russell) working out of the Huntsville, Alabama office.  LPL terminated Russell in November 2016.  According to the firm’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck filing the firm stated that Russell was in “Violation of Firm policy regarding private securities transactions.”  No other disclosure concerning the extent and nature of the activity is disclosed.  However, Russell has disclosed several outside business activities including his d/b/a Cadence Investment Services.  Russell has also disclosed Cadence Bank described as a private bank.  Russell has also disclosed involvement with the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation of Huntsville.

The providing of loans, selling of promissory notes, or recommending investments outside of the firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

Russell entered the securities industry in 2005.  From May 2008 until March 2013, Russell was associated with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC.  Then, from May 2014 until November 2016 Russell was associated with LPL out of the firm’s Huntsville, Alabama office location.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_94127350-300x205Our firm is investigating claims made by regulators and brokerage firms including LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) concerning broker Paul Dorion (Dorion).  Dorion is currently not associated with any brokerage firm due to his bar by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) in October 2016 for failing to response to the regulator’s request for information.

FINRA’s investigation likely revolves around the disclosures concerning Dorion’s termination from LPL Financial in October 2015.  At that time Dorion was terminated for cause alleging that the broker engaged in unauthorized trading, violation of firm’s document signature policy, and concerns regarding concentrated equity positions in client accounts.  Doriaon was also alleged to have failed to respond to inquiries from the firm’s compliance department.  Subsequently, in October 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Dorion had excessively traded her account which contained funds from a home mortgage.  The complaint is currently pending.  Dorion also has several tax liens dating from 2010 through 2015.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_179203760-300x300Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Michael Babyak (Babyak), formerly associated with brokerage firms LPL Financial LLC (LPL) and Leigh Baldwin & Co., LLC (Leigh Baldwin).  According to brokercheck, Babyak consented to the sanction that he participated in private securities transactions involving customers of a member firm without first providing the firm written or oral notice of his activities. FINRA findings stated that Babyak had the customers invest a total of $4,250,000 into a limited liability company that he had created.

Babyak is then alleged to have assisted in wiring funds from the firm’s accounts to the borrower and the limited liability company’s bank account and signed the loan agreement and related security agreement on behalf of the company he created. FINRA alleged that Babyak then caused the company to loan the $4.25 million to a third party for the benefit of his customers.  FINRA also discovered that Babyak arranged for the company to use funds repaid from the $4.25 million loan to extend loans on behalf of the customers to two additional borrowers.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_133831631-198x300Our firm’s investment attorneys are investigating a complaint filed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Securities Division (Massachusetts) against LPL Financial LLC (LPL) and the firm’s broker Roger Zullo (Zullo) Zullo alleging that Zullo fabricated the financial suitability profiles of numerous LPL clients, selling them scores of large, illiquid, unsuitable, high-commission variable annuities, at substantial upfront profits to himself and LPL.

The State of Massachusetts alleged that over the course of three years Zullo and LPL received more than $1,825,000 in variable annuity commissions alone and 98% of that amount represented commissions from the sale of the same annuity product – the Polaris Platinum III (B Shares) variable annuity.  The State found that Zullo bypassed LPL’s paper-thin compliance review process for these sales by fabricating client financial suitability information, such as age and liquid net worth.  Further, LPL apparently rewarded Zullo’s fraudulent practices with the honor of being included in LPL’s “Chairman’s Club” for top annuity production.

According to the State LPL was aware that Zullo repeatedly and openly sold only one product, with the same features and the same justifications, to almost every annuity client, and did nothing to stop it.  LPL was also alleged to have been aware that Zullo’s clients repeatedly incurring surrender charges and being charged high commission. According to one email from Zullo’s supervisor “It did very much seem to me that he had a pattern of switching everybody out of their annuities every 6 or 7 years and that he was getting commissions over and over again from the same clients.”  Massachusetts found that any concerns concerning Zullo’s practices were ignored.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_168737270-300x168Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Dominic DeBruin (DeBruin), formerly associated with LPL Financial, LLC (LPL Financial).  According to brokercheck, FINRA found that DeBruin refused to provide information and documents and to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested by FINRA concerning a member firm’s Form U5 reporting that he was under internal review for depositing client’s funds related to potential private securities transactions undisclosed to the firm into a bank account DeBruin controlled.

At this time it is unclear the total scope and extent of these outside business activities and private transactions.  However, according to DeBruin’s disclosures he is affiliated with the following entities: 1) Capricorn Partners, LLC – DeBruin’s securities d/b/a; 2) Out of Order LLC – an entertainment boking agency; 3) Goodlife Financial Group – an investment d/b/a; 4) Top 5 Entertainment.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_138129767-300x199Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Joseph Likens (Likens).  According to brokercheck, in Likens failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for information resulting in a bar.  FINRA stated that Likens refused to appear for on-the-record testimony related an investigation into allegations that he may have engaged in private securities transactions.  At this time the scope of Likens activities and the specific investments are not reported.  However, Likens disclosed outside business activities involving PWA Network.

The FINRA investigation followed Likens’ termination from his previous employer LPL Financial LLC (LPL) in May 2016.  Likens worked out of a d/b/a Cornerstone Wealth Management.  At that time, Likens was terminated after allegations were made that he engaged in trading away from the firm.  In November 2016, a customer alleged that Likens sold away from the firm an investment made in 2011 causing $120,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_93851422-300x240The securities fraud attorneys at Gana LLP have recently filed a complaint with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on behalf of clients alleging that Erryn Barkett (Barkett) engaged in securities fraud by selling unapproved investments and inappropriate and costly alternative investments and private placements to the clients.  The claim was brought against brokerage firm Next Financial Group, Inc.  (Next Financial) alleging that the firm failed to supervise Barkett’s misconduct.  Barkett is currently associated with LPL Financial LLC (LPL).

According to Barkett’s brokercheck records Barkett has been subject to one regulatory complaint, four customer complaints, and has six financial disclosures.  The regulatory complaint involves allegations that Barkett solicited multiple investors to invest in an unapproved security called Voyager Financial Group, LLC.

Barkett has disclosed at least 11 outside business activities.  These activities include Barkett’s d/b/a Barkett Allen Capital LLC.  In addition, Barkett disclosed his involvement with SkyPix, LLC, BAS, LLC, Flagship Properties, LLC, Sunnyside Ranch, LLC, Produce Insight Panel, and Wheelman, LLC.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.  In this case the claimants alleged that Barkett solicited them to invest in several business ventures including SkyPix and a land deal.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_1832895-300x199Our firm is investigating claims made by LPL Financial LLC (LPL) when the firm terminated broker David Garces (Garces).  According to the firm, Garces was discharged in July 2016 after allegation were made that Garces engaged in an outside business activity without prior notification to the firm.

According to Garces brokercheck records Garces has disclosed only one outside business activity called TMS Merchant Solutions which Garces is the president of and is involved in selling credit card terminals.  It is unclear if other business activities are involved in LPL’s allegations.  However, often times undisclosed outside business activities are used by brokers to provide loans or sell of notes and other investments to clients outside of a brokerage firm.  These types of transactions constitute impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.  At this time it is unknown and has not been alleged that Garces engaged in selling away.

Garces entered the securities industry in 2012.  From March 2012 through April 2013 Garces was associated with Metlife Securities Inc.  Thereafter, from February 2015 until August 2016, Garces was registered with LPL out of the firm’s Brooklyn, New York office location.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_120556300-300x300Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) when the regulator barred broker Ken Balser (Balser).  According to FINRA settlement, Balser consented to sanctions that he refused to appear for testimony and provide documents and information to FINRA concerning allegations that he engaged in private securities transactions.

In July 2016, Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera) discharged Balser for cause alleging that Balser engaged in private securities transactions.

According to Balser’s brokercheck records Balser has at least three disclosed outside business activities.  These activities include a d/b/a Secure Wealth Management.  In addition, Balser disclosed a fixed insurance business and Dave Ramsey Radio Show Sponsor.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

Balser entered the securities industry in 1999.  From March 2012 through October 2013 Balser was associated with LPL Financial LLC.  Thereafter, from October 2013 through July 2016 Balser was registered with Cetera out of the firm’s Colorado Springs, Colorado office location.

Continue Reading