Articles Tagged with new york securities fraud lawyer

shutterstock_123758422The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker James Eichner (Eichner). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 3 customer complaints that have been filed against Eichner. The customer complaints against Eichner allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker was negligent, breached a fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint against Eichner filed in June 2015 alleges that Eichner breached his fiduciary duty and was negligent in the handling of the customer’s account leading to $500,000 in damages. The claim 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 Eichner 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_171721244The investment fraud attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investors to buy speculative pharmaceutical company stocks. One such company is Zafgen, Inc. (Zafgen) (Stock Symbol: ZFGN). The stock was trading in the mid $40s just last September but now has plunged to under $6 a share, a staggering loss of shareholder value.

According to Bloomberg, Zafgen announced that its trial of an experimental drug to fight obesity was placed on hold by regulators after a second patient died taking the drug. The trial involves patients with a rare genetic disease called Prader-Willi syndrome that causes overeating. The trial was being studied to for the purposes of having the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the drug for those patients. Zafgen had finished one part of the trial that compared the drug to a placebo and then continued to a study where all patients took the drug. However, the FDA has now ordered a complete clinical hold on studies. The news sent the company’s shares down 61% when announced.

Before recommending investments in pharmaceutical related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company. Pharmaceutical companies are notoriously risky investments. While investments in big name pharmaceuticals with diversified portfolios of established drugs and products offer greater stability some brokers recommend small bio-technology companies that have only one or two unproven drugs in clinical trials or development. The entire value of the company’s stock for these companies are often tied to the perceived success or failure of the drug. Even slightly downbeat news can send such stocks into a tailspin. However, brokers who recommend risky pharmaceutical companies are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.

shutterstock_123758422The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Keith Connolly (Connolly). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 13 customer complaints against Connolly. The customer complaints against Connolly allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, failure to supervise, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in October 2014 alleged churning, negligence, unsuitability, overconcentration resulting in damages of $187,855 in damages. The claim is still pending. In August 2014, another client filed a complaint alleging administering the customer’s brokerage accounts claiming damages of 776,326. The claim was resolved settling for $450,000.

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 Connolly 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_155271245The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating investors that were recommended to invest in Voyager Financial Group, LLC, (VFG), a Delaware limited liability company. VFG maintained a website which claimed that Voyager “is a national distributor, broker, and consulting firm for a diverse array of products, services, and contracts in the financial services arena.” Voyager claimed to “specializes in the factored income stream market, working to satisfy the needs both of individuals and entities receiving structured payments and those wishing to take advantage of the stability and return on investment that these products can bring.”

However, several state regulators have found that brokers and financial advisors have been selling VFG investments under false and misleading statements. Advisors accused by state regulators of misleading investors include Sidney Evans with Equity Advisors LLC and Erryn Barkett with LPL Financial. Some states, such as California, have ordered VFG to cease doing business in their state.

State regulators and investors claim that VFG offers securities in the form of investment contracts called “Veterans Benefits’ Contracts.” VFG structured and promoted investment transactions between investors and sellers who typically are veterans who receive structured payments such as a military pension or disability benefits from the United States government. VFG then identified potential sellers and persuaded them to sell to investors a portion of their future government payments for a lump sum.

shutterstock_171721244The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Kerry Raheb (a/k/a Patrick Raheb) (Raheb). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 5 customer complaints, two judgments or liens, and one criminal matter involving Raheb. The customer complaints against Raheb allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in December 2015 alleged unsuitable investments resulting in losses of $199,001. The claim is still pending. In April 2014, another client filed a complaint alleging unauthorized trading claiming damages of $300,000. The broker has denied the allegations in the complaint and the claim is still pending.

In addition, Raheb has two judgements. One tax lien filed in January 2014 for $64,518 and one civil judgement for $12,024 recorded in February 2013. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. 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.

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.

shutterstock_12144202The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Steven Luftschein (Luftschein). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 12 customer complaints against Luftschein. The customer complaints against Luftschein allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, negligence, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims. The most recent customer complaint filed in July 2015 alleged unsuitable investments, failure to supervise, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and misrepresentations from March 2010 until September 2011. The case is still pending.

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 Luftschein 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_114128113The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Michael Blueweiss (Blueweiss). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 6 customer complaints against Blueweiss. The most recent customer complaint against Blueweiss filed in November 2014 alleges that Blueweiss concentrated the client in structured products, annuities failed to disclose surrender penalities, and churning. Another customer complaint filed in February 2011 alleged that unsuitable investments in UBS reversed convertibles linked to the common stock of Lehman Brothers.

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 Blueweiss 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_103681238The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Lance Slater (Slater). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 2 customer complaints against Slater and one employment separation. The most recent customer complaint against Slater alleges that from 2013 Slater borrowed $210,000 from the client and then tried to hide that fact from her children and has not since then paid the client back. The client also alleges that Slater engaged in unsuitable investments and excessive trading.

Shortly thereafter Morgan Stanley discharged Slater making allegations Slater failed to adhere to the firm’s guidance regarding certain sales activity and possible involvement in an unreported loan from a customer while at a prior firm.

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.

shutterstock_143685652The securities fraud attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating potential recovery options for investors with broker Zachary Bader (Bader). Recently The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 20130363873) which resulted in a permanent bar form the securities industry. The complaint alleged that from February 2012 through July 2013, Bader engaged in excessive trading (churning) in three customer accounts with a reckless disregard for the interests of those customers. FINRA also alleged that from March 2012 through January 2013, Bader made unsuitable recommendations of a complex Exchange Traded Note (ETN), the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) to 21 customers without a reasonable basis to believe that the ETN was suitable for at least some investors.

Bader entered the securities industry in 2011 with brokerage firm Brookstone Securities, Inc. From February 2012 until August 2013, Bader was associated with Craig Scott Capital, LLC. Thereafter, from August 2013 until August 2013, Bader was associated with National Securities Corporation out of the firm’s Melville, New York office location.

As a background, when brokers engage in 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_189276023The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Brandon Gioffre (Gioffre). There are at least 3 customer complaints against Gioffre. In addition, there is one employment separations disclosed. The most recent customer complaint alleged that three individuals sent a letter to the firm on July 15, 2015 alleging that Gioffre, acting on behalf of the firm, solicited investments in TMG Energy Systems and they suffered damages of $881,657 through the investments. According to Constellation Wealth Advisors LLC (Constellation Wealth Advisors), the firm neither offered the investment nor approved of the private securities transaction or outside business activity engaged in by Gioffre.  The conduct allegedly engaged in by Gioffre is also referred to as “selling away” in the industry.

Gioffre entered the securities industry in 1998. Between June 2009 and June 2014, Gioffre was associated with Morgan Stanley. From July 2014 until August 2015, Gioffre was associated with brokerage firm Constellation Wealth Advisors until he was discharged from the firm.

In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. However, even though when these incidents occur the brokerage firm claims ignorance of their advisor’s activities the firm is obligated under the FINRA rules to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public. Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system. Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.