Articles Tagged with LPL Financial

shutterstock_153667934-300x200The investment attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating claims against former LPL Financial Broker Jason Anderson (Anderson). A pair of elderly customers are suing Anderson and alleging churning and inflated mutual fund charges.

According to news sources, A pair of elderly customers of LPL Financial are suing the firm and Anderson.

The customers, each of whom are over 65, claim to have suffered a combined $630,000 loss in retirement accounts that were originally valued at $3.5 million.

shutterstock_76996033-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finding that LPL Financial LLC (LPL) advisor, Sonya D. Camarco (Camarco), misappropriated over $2.8 million in investor funds from her clients and customers. LPL terminated Camarco in August 2017 “for depositing third party checks from client accounts into a bank account she controlled and accessing client funds for personal use.”

Camarco is a 23-year industry veteran. From 1993 to 2000, Camarco was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. Thereafter, from 2000 to 2004, Camarco became registered with Morgan Stanley DW Inc. Finally, from 2004 to 2017, Camarco was associated with LPL Financial LLC.

According to FinancialPlanning, Camarco faces five counts of fraud charges and an asset freeze after investigators said she used third-party checks and other means to forward client funds towards personal expenses. Camarco allegedly forged clients’ signatures on at least 120 first- and third-party checks, having them sent to a post office box at a UPS store and signing them over to an entity she controlled.

According to BrokerCheck records, beginning in approximately 2004 and continuing through at least August 2017, Camarco allegedly used investor accounts to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills, took cash advances on investor accounts, transferred investor funds directly to her personal bank account, and funneled investor funds into her personal bank accounts. Camarco allegedly spent investor funds on the purchase of a house and the payment of her personal mortgage.

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shutterstock_103681238-300x300The investment fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Scott Goldman (Goldman). Goldman’s FINRA BrokerCheck record shows several disclosures mainly pertaining to unsuitable investments.

In December 2016, an elderly customer alleged that during Goldman’s employment at LPL Financial Corporation, he recommended highly unsuitable investments that were heavily concentrated in risky, leveraged precious metal products. In addition, the broker did not properly inform his client of the risks associated with such an investment. This dispute was settled in December 2016, and resulted in $10,000 penalty and Goldman was suspended from the industry.

Another case against Goldman was filed in October 2014 for allegedly making unsuitable recommendations, failing to supervise, and breaching his fiduciary duty during his employment at H. Beck Inc. The alleged damages were worth $250,000. The case was settled in November 2015 for $75,000.

shutterstock_175137287-300x200According to BrokerCheck records Michael Spolar (Spolar), now associated with International Assets Advisory, LLC (IAA), has been sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that Spolar exercised discretion in customers’ accounts that were non-discretionary accounts.  Since according to FINRA Spolar did not obtain written authorization from these customers to exercise discretion in their accounts and his member firms did not approve these accounts for discretionary trading, these trades were unauthorized.  FINRA found that while Spolar stated that he discussed strategy with these clients and he received verbal authority for the trades.  However, when the firm discovered the activity Spolar was terminated. FINRA also found that when Spolar moved to a different brokerage firm he continued to exercise discretion in customer accounts despite his prior termination for the same conduct.

In addition to the FINRA sanctions Spolar has been subject to eight customer complaints, one termination, and one financial disclosures including a bankruptcy filing in December 2015.  Some of the complaints against Brodt allege securities law violations including that the broker engaged in unauthorized trading among other claims.

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shutterstock_184430645-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in November 2016, Thomas Oliphint (Oliphint) was discharged and terminated by LPL Financial LLC (LPL) over allegations that Oliphint violated firm policy regarding outside business activities.  Oliphint has two other customer complaints on his record.  In the industry all such activities must be disclosed and approved by the firm before the broker can engage in them.

According to Oliphint’s disclosures his outside business activities include Oliphint Associates, LLC d/b/a One Advocate Group and Grand Purpose Advocate.  At this time it is unclear what outside business activity Oliphint was engaged in that led to his termination.  However, the risk to investors is that the broker will use such businesses to engage in unauthorized securities activities.  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”.  Brokerage firms are responsible for supervising and preventing such activities.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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