Articles Tagged with Morgan Stanley

shutterstock_145368937-300x225The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Stanley Clayton Niekras (Niekras). The FINRA regulatory action alleges that Niekras recommended unsuitable variable annuity exchanges in three customers’ accounts. FINRA found that Niekras effected the annuity exchanges to benefit himself at the customers’ expense. Niekras allegedly misrepresented himself to a couple in their 90s claiming $70,000 of fees due for financial planning services. According to BrokerCheck records, Niekras has been subject to eight customer complaints and one regulatory action among other claims.

The FINRA complaint alleges that Niekras made fraudulent misrepresentations to an elderly couple in their 90s to collect more than $70,000 in estate and financial planning fees while associated with the brokerage firm MML Investors Services, LLC. FINRA alleges that Niekras didn’t have an investment advisory or financial planning agreement with the elderly couple, but he billed them for hundreds of hours of time that he supposedly spent working on their “financial future”, work that he claimed to have done over four years knowing he wasn’t entitled to the “estate planning” or “financial planning” fees he charged. In February 2013, he recommended that the children buy a particular variable annuity with the gifted assets, anticipating collecting about $75,000 in commissions from the sales. The claim is currently pending.

The most recent complaint was filed in December 2010 alleging unsuitable variable annuity recommendations in clients account from January 1995 through March 2005 causing over $5,000 in damages. The claim settled for $247,500.00.

shutterstock_102242143-300x169The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Ziv Ohel (Ohel). According to BrokerCheck records, Ohel has been subject to at least seven customer complaints, one regulatory action and one employment separation for cause among other claims. The customer complaints against Ohel allege securities law violations that include unsuitable investments, churning, and failure to follow instructions among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in November 2016 alleging damages stemming from unauthorized investments made in October 2016. The complaint settled for $20,000. The complaint was settled for $30,996.00.

In January 2017, the state of Michigan filed a claim alleging that Ohel engaged in dishonest or unethical practices within the last 10 years. In addition, Ohel was terminated from his position at Ameriprise Financial on October 25, 2016 for policy violations including receiving a loan from and being named in fiduciary capacities for a client of the firm.

shutterstock_189496604-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating a complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Mike Emmanouilidis (Emmanouilidis) formerly associated with Morgan Stanley. According to BrokerCheck records Emmanouilidis has been subject to 16 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Emmanouilidis allege misrepresenting the facts concerning the nature of investment risks in structured products among other claims.

The most recent claim against Mr. Emmanouilidis was filed in August 2016 and alleges that from 2013 to 2015, the customer was misrepresented of the investment risks in products causing $500,000 in damages. The complaint is currently pending.

In November 2011, a customer alleged that Mr. Emmanouilidis, while employed at UBS Financial Services, from November 2007 to May 2011, misrepresented material facts concerning the risks associated with an investment causing $100,000 in damages. The complaint settled in 2012 for $74,500.

In December 2010, a customer alleged Mr.Emmanouilidis made misrepresentations, omissions of material facts and breached his fiduciary duty in connection to investments in PPN Asian currency baskets causing losses of $54,375. The complaint settled for $100,000.

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shutterstock_152933045-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Albert Dishner (Dishner), currently associated with Morgan Stanley. According to BrokerCheck records Dishner has been subject to at least four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints against Dishner allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, churning (excessive trading), and breach of fiduciary duty trading among other claims.

The most recent complaint against Dishner was filed in August 2016, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, alleging $600,000.00 in damage stemming from violation of FINRA rules and federal securities laws, churning, and trading negligently in customer’s account from 2010 until 2015. The complaint settled in December 2016 for $205,000.00.

In 2012 a customer filed a complaint alleging, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, Dishner did not follow customers instructions to sell securities and later executed an unauthorized sale causing $354,000 in damages. The complaint was denied.

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shutterstock_184430498-300x225Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Wendy Feldman (Feldman) currently associated with H. Beck, Inc. (H. Beck) alleging Feldman engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to BrokerCheck, Feldman currently has two customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.

In July 2015, a customer brought a complaint against Feldman alleging that between 2011 to 2014 the broker engaged in unauthorized trading, made unsuitable purchases, and failed to disclose fees.  The complaint alleged damages of $5,000,000.  In 2016 an arbitration was held and the customer was awarded $8,606,599 in total.

Shortly after the arbitration award Morgan Stanley terminated Feldman due to allegations involving adherence to industry rules and/or firm policy including with regard to use of trading discretion.

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shutterstock_187532306-300x200Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Brian Sak (Sak).  According to brokercheck, Sak consented sanctions and an entry of findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of its investigation into allegations that he solicited a client to invest in an outside business.  FINRA’s investigation followed Morgan Stanely’s termination of Sak in May 2016 after the firm stated that it had concerns related to outside real estate investment with a client that was not appropriately disclosed to the firm.

At this time it is unclear the total scope and extent of these outside business activities and private transactions but according to Sak’s disclosures he is involved in Southside Holdings which is engaged in real estate rentals.  To date five customers have come forward to complaint about investment losses related to Sak’s real estate transactions.

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.

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shutterstock_179465345-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Frank Hamrak (Hamrak) currently associated with Beech Hill Securities, Inc. (Beech Hill) alleging unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Hamrak has been subject to five customer complaints, one bankruptcy in 2011, and one judgement or lien.

In November 2016 a customer brought a complaint against Hamrak alleging that investments in the customer’s account from 2014 through 2016 were unsuitable.  The complaint alleges $185,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

In May 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty from January 2011 until January 2016 causing $750,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.

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shutterstock_132704474Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Cary Kievman (Kievman) alleging unsuitable investments and over concentrated positions among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Kievman has been subject to five customer complaints.

In August 2016 a customer filed a complaint involving Kievman alleging that from April 2013-October 2014, and from September 2015-December 2016, respondent recommended unsuitable short-term equities, over-concentrated the account in equities, and that he did not receive advice regarding his 2015 required minimum distribution which caused him to miss the RMD and suffer a penalty of $6,000. The claim is current pending.

In a complaint filed in March 2016, a customer alleged that Kievman recommended unsuitable investments that were over-concentrated and did not code her risk tolerance correctly or fully disclose the risks of the investments.  The customer is claiming $143,394 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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shutterstock_103476707Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Victor Lambert (Lambert) currently not registered with any firm, alleging unsuitable investments among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Lambert has been subject to seven customer complaints and two judgement/liens.

In January 2016 Lambert disclosed a tax lien of $46,706.  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 October 2015 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Lambert purchased two equities that were inappropriate for the client causing damages.  The claim was resolved for $85,000.

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shutterstock_168478292Our firm has previously reported on the growing trend of brokerage firms recommending non-purpose loans secured by their brokerage accounts to clients.  See Investors Risk Big Losses with Loans Secured by Securities Collateral Accounts.  Recently, the state of Massachusetts charged Morgan Stanley with conducting unethical – high-pressure – sales contests among its financial advisers to encourage clients to take out loans.  According to newsources, from January 2014 until April 2015, the firm ran two different contests involving 30 advisers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with the express goal of persuading customers to take out securities-based loans (SBLOCs) with their securities accounts serving as collateral.  Advisers were promised bonuses of $1,000 for 10 loans, $3,000 for 20 loans and $5,000 for 30 loans. The contest was alleged to have generated $24 million in new loans and was run despite an internal Morgan Stanley prohibition on such initiatives.

As a background, these lines of credit allow investors to borrow money using securities held in the investment accounts as collateral and allow the investor to continue to trade securities in the pledged accounts. An SBLOC typically requires monthly interest-only payments until repaid. Thus, when an investor losses a significant amount of their portfolio the investor has made very little progress in repaying the loan and may have few to no options to pay the loan back.  Recently FINRA issued an “Investor Alert” entitled “Securities-Backed Lines of Credit – It May Pay to See Beyond the Pitch” recognizing the conflicts between brokerage firms incentivized by “SBLOCs [that] can be a key revenue source for securities firms” and those same firms “placing your financial future at greater risk.”

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