Articles Tagged with PaineWebber Incorporated

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_39128059-300x174The investment and securities fraud attorneys of Gana LLP are investigating potential recovery options for investors with broker Glenn Charles Wiggle Jr (Wiggle). According to BrokerCheck records Charles Wiggle has been subject to four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints allege unsuitable investments, and misrepresentation among other claims.

The most recent customer claim was filed in September 2015 alleging that in 2007, Wiggle recommended unsuitable investments in speculative securities such as Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners causing $500,000.00 in damages. The claim settled for $109,000.00. In addition, a customer filed a claim in April 2011 alleging that from December 2007 to October 2010, the broker made unsuitable investments in REIT purchases and purchased equities without prior consent, causing $100,000.00 in damages. This claim settled for $55,000.00.

Our firm has represented many clients who invested in REITs, the Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Funds and US Energy Platinum Energy Partners. All of these investments come with high costs and historically have under-performed, even safe benchmarks like U.S. treasury bonds. For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products (if they can be redeemed). However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.