Articles Tagged with Meyers Associates

shutterstock_184149845-300x246Broker David Sheppard (Sheppard) was recently sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an enforcement action that led to a permanent bar against the broker.  According to BrokerCheck, FINRA found that Sheppard consented to sanctions that he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA to investigate potential churning (excessive trading) in customer accounts.

The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are also investigating customer complaints against Sheppard.  There have been at least three customer complaints against Sheppard, one regulatory action, and two judgements or liens in Sheppard’s 21 year career.  The customer complaints against Sheppard allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.

shutterstock_145368937Investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Joseph Thurnherr (Thurnherr) alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, churning, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Thurnherr has been subject to five customer complaints, and one judgment/lien.

In November 2014, Thurnherr received a tax lien in the amount of $27,663.  A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

In June 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Thurnherr overconcentrated their account causing $93,624 in losses.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_94632238In May 2016 the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a five-count indictment in New York against nine defendants including Jared Mitchell, the Managing Partner of Mitchell & Sullivan Capital LLC; Richard Brown, a registered broker with Chelsea Financial Services; Christopher Castaldo, the Chief Executive Officer of Stock Traders Press Inc. and the President of Wall Street Buy Sell Hold Inc.; Gerald Cocuzzo, also known as “Gerry,” a registered broker formerly with Newbridge Securities Corporation; Naveed Khan, also known as “Nick,” a registered broker formerly with Meyers Associates, L.P.; Herschel Knippa III, also known as “Tres,” the owner and Head Trader at Kenai Capital Management LLC; Maroof Miyana, a registered broker formerly with Legend Securities; Pranav Patel, a registered broker formerly with Dawson James Securities; and Louis Petrossi, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Research Institute.

The DOJ’s charges involve the unlawful sale and activity related to stock ForceField Energy Inc. (ForceField), a publicly-traded company under the ticker symbol “FNRG.”  The charges include securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making a false statement to law enforcement officials in connection with the fraudulent market manipulation of the stock.

The DOJ alleged that the defendants employed of scheme together with dishonest registered brokers to perpetrate an elaborate but fraudulent scheme built on lies, kickbacks and manipulated trading activity.  The defendants essentially used a company with no business operations and little revenue and deceived the market and their clients into believing it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars through unauthorized trades and deceptive promotions.

shutterstock_27597505The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Matthew Silato (Silato).  According to BrokerCheck records there are at least six customer complaints, two financial disclosures, and one criminal matter involving Silato.  The most recent customer complaints against Silato allege a number of securities law violations including breach of fiduciary duty and suitability among other claims.  The most recent claim alleging $250,627 filed in June 2016 is currently pending.  In December 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments and claiming $522,941 in damages.  That case is currently pending.

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 customer complaints against Silato is high relative to his 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_101456704The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Craig Langweiler (Langweiler).  According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 36 disclosures on Langweiler’s record including customer complaints, multiple regulatory actions, multiple judgments or liens, and a criminal matter. The most recent customer complaints against Langweiler alleges a number of securities law violations including excessive commissions, churning, unauthorized trading, and suitability among other claims.

The most recent regulatory action against Langweiler by FINRA alleges that he willfully failed to amend his Form U4 to timely disclose federal tax liens, totaling approximately $143,000, and civil judgments, totaling approximately $56,700.  FINRA alleged that Langweiler also provided inaccurate and incomplete responses regarding liens and judgments to his employer and he provided inaccurate responses to FINRA.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions.  A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

shutterstock_184430612The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Neal Scott (Scott).  According to BrokerCheck records there are at least four customer complaint, one regulatory, and seven judgments or liens that have been filed against Scott.  The most recent customer complaint against Scott alleges a number of securities law violations including breach of fiduciary duty and suitability among other claims.  The claim is currently pending.

The most recent judgement or lien disclosure was filed in January 2009 and concerns a tax lien for $47,103.  Tax liens and judgements are often a sign that the broker cannot manage their own personal finances and may be tempted to recommend high commission products or strategies to clients in order to satisfy debts.

In addition, the Virginia Securities Department alleged that Scott failed to complete his registration process in time and denied his registration in the state.

shutterstock_184430498The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Barry Jin (Jin).  There are at least three customer complaints against Jin.  The customer complaints against Jin allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unauthorized trading among other claims.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading.  Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).  These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.

One of the firm’s Jin was registered with, Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis), has been identified as brokerage firm that employs troublesome brokers.  According to a recent study conducted by the Securities Litigation and Consulting Group entitled “How Widespread and Predictable is Stock Broker Misconduct?” the incidents of investor harm at Aegis is extraordinarily high.  The study ranked Aegis as the worst brokerage firm finding that brokers at the firm had over a 35% misconduct rate.  The study stated that investors should stay away from Aegis “Given their coworkers’ disclosure record as of 2014, 83.7% of the brokers at these six firms would be in the highest risk quintile as defined in the FINRA study and should be avoided by investors. The BrokerCheck reports for most of the brokers at these six firms should prominently display a skull and crossbones warning.”

shutterstock_179921270The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Honetta Kao (Kao). According to BrokerCheck records Kao is subject to two customer complaints, one regulatory action, onr investigation, and one financial matter.

FINRA terminated Kao after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in August 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Kao alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. In addition, in April 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kao mishandled the account and provided bad advice. The complaint is pending. Another client alleged in May 2013, that Kao engaged in unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trading.

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.

shutterstock_177231056The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Marat (a/k/a Matt) Zeltser (Zeltser). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least one customer complaint, one regulatory, one investigation, and one employment separation that have been filed against Zeltser. The customer complaints against Zeltser alleges a number of securities law violations including that the broker invested money in triple leveraged ETFs over long periods of time among other claims. The claim is currently pending.

FINRA terminated Zeltser after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in August 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Zeltser alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. Prior to that, Zeltser was discharged from Pointe Capital, Inc. for violating the firm’s advertising policy and the use of unapproved communications.

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.

shutterstock_112866430The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Shaun Stein (Stein). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 3 customer complaints against Stein. The customer complaints against Stein allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in July 2015 alleged churning and mishandling of the account claiming $60,000 in damages. The claim is still pending. In June 2014, another client filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, unfair trade practices and other claims claiming damages of $75,000. The claim has been closed.

As a background, when brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

The number of customer complaints against Stein is high relative to his 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.