Articles Tagged with Merrill Lynch

shutterstock_94632238-300x214According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Christopher Hibbard (Hibbard), formerly associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) in Louisville, Kentucky was terminated for cause by Merrill Lynch in January 2018 after the firm made allegations that Hibbard engaged in conduct including unauthorized transactions and theft.  Thereafter, in February 2018 Hibbard was barred by FINRA for failing to respond to the regulatory requests for information.  In April 2018 it was disclosed that an investigation of Hibbards activities had been opened by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Kentucky.  The investigation involves the unauthorized use of client funds by Hibbard during his employment with Merrill Lynch.  In addition, eight customers have brought complaints against Hibbard alleging misappropriation of funds.

The allegations concerning conversion are often accompanied by claims of engaging in outside business activtiies and private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.

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shutterstock_176283941-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merill Lynch) broker Charles Kenahan (Kenahan). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kenahan has been subject to four customer disputes, three of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable investment recommendations and excessive trading of the customer account.

In May 2018, a customer alleged that from 2012 to 2017, Kenahan excessively traded the funds in the customer account and also unsuitably recommended investments to the customer. The customer has requested $700,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In March 2018, a customer alleged that from February 2012 to December 2017, Kenahan excessively traded customer funds, misrepresented the nature of the investments, and unsuitably recommended the investments to the customer. This dispute is currently still pending.

In February 2018, a customer alleged that from December 2007 to February 2018, Kenahan had placed the customer into unsuitable investments and excessively traded the customer’s funds in the account. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2009, a customer alleged that from December 2007 to February 2018, Kenahan recommended investments that were unsuitable to the customer and excessively traded the account. The customer requested $148,353 in damages.

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shutterstock_155271245-300x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Frank Zito (Zito), formerly associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) in Ridgeland, Mississippi and currently registered with Coker & Palmer was terminated concerning allegations that Zito engaged in conduct such as failure to adhere to firm standards regarding selling away and failure to fully disclose participation in an outside business activity.  A month earlier in May 2018 a customer filed a complaint against Zito alleging that the broker made unsuitable recommendations and sold unapproved products from 2013 through January 2018.  The complaint is currently pending and alleges $571,000 in damages.

At this time, the claims against Zito are unclear as to the exact nature and extent of the unapproved product sale activity.  Zito has outside business disclosures including timber purchasing from timber management firm.

It is possible that this activity is related to the alleged Ponzi Scheme orchestrated by Arthur Adams (Adams) and Madison Timber Properties LLC (Madison Timber) by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).   The complaint against Adams and Madison Timber was unsealed on May 1, 2018 Mississippi federal court and revealed the SEC’s fraud charges against the Mississippi company and its principal who has been accused of stealing from at least 150 investors in a $85 million Ponzi scheme.  Adams and Madison Timber agreed to a permanent injunction, an asset freeze, and expedited discovery.

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shutterstock_154554782-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Morgan Stanley broker James Duffy (Duffy). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Duffy has been subject to five customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes concern the unsuitable recommendation of Puerto Rico Municipal Bonds.

Most recently, In July 2018, a customer alleged that from 2006 to 2017, Duffy was unsuitably recommending Puerto Rico municipal bonds to the customer. This dispute is currently still pending.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that from 2008 to 2016, Duffy was recommending unsuitable investments. The client requested $250,000 in damages.

In September 2012, a customer alleged that from November 2008 to May 2012, Duffy misrepresented the stability of principals in investment recommendations that were unsuitable to the customer’s investment objectives. The case was settled at $8,000.

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shutterstock_145368937-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Joseph Yanofsky (Yanofsky), currently associated with First Financial Equity Corporation (First Financial), has been subject to eight customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment separation for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Yanofsky has been accused by customers of unauthorized trading, unsuitable trading, and misrepresentations among other claims.

In 2015 Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) terminated Yanofsky alleging that the broker exercised discretion in discretionary accounts and provided inaccurate responses to the firm.  Thereafter, FINRA sanctioned Yanofsky in September 2017 findings that he exercised discretion in customer accounts without written authorization to do so. The findings stated that Yanofsky’s exercise of discretion occurred in connection with certain of his member firm’s syndicate equity offerings.  FINRA found that Yanofsky’s customers verbally expressed their general desire and authorization to participate syndicate offerings however their verbal authorization to participate in every syndicate offering was never reduce to writing.

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shutterstock_103665437-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Charles Kenahan (Kenahan), currently employed by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of a Kenahan’s customer complaints allege that Kenahan made unsuitable recommendations or engaged in excessive trading – sometimes referred to as churning.

In May 2018 a customer alleged excessive trading and unsuitable investment recommendations from 2012 until 2017. The claim alleged $700,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In March 2018 a customer alleged unsuitable investment recommendations, excessive trading and misrepresentation from February 2012 until December 2017.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker David Manor (Manor). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Manor has been subject to two customer disputes concerning unsuitable investment recommendations and false representations of investments. One of these disputes is currently still pending. In addition, Manor has been subject to resignation from a previous employer.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that in 2017, Manor recommended unsuitable investments to the customer. The customer requested $224,837.25 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In January 2016, a customer alleged that Manor falsely represented investments to the customer by failing to disclose the surrender penalty to the investment. The customer further alleged that the investment was unsuitable to her financial status and needs, being that the funds were her only source of income. The customer requested $30,000 in damages.

shutterstock_175993865-300x225Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating previously registered broker Shaun Hayes (Hayes). According to BrokerCheck Records, Hayes has been subject to seven customer disputes in the past year, four of which are still pending. The majority of these disputes allege unauthorized trading of customer accounts.

In December 2017, a customer alleged that from May 2013 to December 2017, Hayes was executing unauthorized trades in the customer’s accounts. This dispute  is currently still pending.

In December 2017, another customer alleged that Hayes was engaging in unauthorized trades in the customer account and is requesting $139,000 in damages. This complaint is still pending.

shutterstock_128856874-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker John James (James). According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in March 2016, James was discharged  by his firm, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) based on allegations that James was engaging in outside business activities, private investments, and borrowing money from clients without disclosing the activities to the firm.  Subsequently, in September 2016, James was also discharged from Stifel Nicolaus for providing inaccurate information on his employment application (U5) regarding the status of an internal inquiry at his prior firm, Merrill Lynch.

In December 2017, FINRA barred James from the industry after James failed to provide FINRA with requested documents and information regarding these allegations and activities.  FINRA sought documents concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’s termination from his member firm and of certain outside business activities that James was involved in while registered with the firm. After James refused to show up to an on-the-record testimony regarding these allegations, he was barred from the industry for being in violation of F1NRA Rule 8210, James violates FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.

In addition, James has been subject to one customer complaint. In May 2009, a customer alleged that James recommended unsuitable investments. The case was settled at $160,000 in damages.

shutterstock_164634200-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Guistino Destefano (Destefano). According to BrokerCheck Records, Destefano has been subject to two terminations from employment and one regulatory action in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Destefano for various violations of the securities laws. In addition,  Destefano has been subject to 6 customer disputes concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investments, one of which is still pending.

In May 2014, Destefano resigned from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) due to customer allegations of unauthorized trading and recommending securities to customers that weren’t approved by the firm. Subsequently, in March 2016, FINRA found that between July 2013 and May 2014, Destefano had executed unauthorized trades in 4 non-discretionary customer accounts. In addition, Destefano also had marked over 100 order tickets incorrectly, labeling them “unsolicited” when they were in fact solicited trades. For executing unauthorized trades, Destefano was found to be in violation of unauthorized NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010. Destefano consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings and FINRA suspended Destefano for 3 months and imposed a fine of $10,000.

In addition, Destefano has been subject to multiple customer complaints. In September 2017, a customer alleged that Destefano exercised discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts, over-concentrated investments, and placed customers in unsuitable investments. The customer has requested $830,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.