Articles Tagged with Portfolio Advisors Alliance

shutterstock_175000886-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Craig Siegel (Siegel) has been subject to at least four customer complaints and one regulatory action during his career.  Siegel is formerly employed by Portfolio Advisors Alliance, LLC (Portfolio Advisors).  The majority of the customer complaints against Siegel concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning.

In April 2019 Siegel failed to respond to requests by FINRA to provide documents and information and was suspended indefinitely.

In October 2018 a customer complained that Siegel made unsuitable investment recommendations, breach of regulatory requirements, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, and churning from July 2013 to August 2017. The claim is currently pending.

In April 2018 a customer complained that Siegel violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor engaged in excessive trading, churning, unsuitable transactions, failure to supervise, and respondeat superior.  The claim seeks $99,300 in damages and is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_184149845The securities fraud attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating fraud charges by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against American Growth Funding II, LLC, Portfolio Advisors Alliance, Inc., Ralph C. Johnson (Johnson), Howard J. Allen III (Allen) and Kerri L. Wasserman (Wasserman) accusing the defendants of repeatedly lying to investors purchasing high-yield securities. Portfolio Advisors Alliance is the brokerage firm that acted as the placement agent for the fund. The SEC alleged that between March 2011 and December 31, 2013, the Fund sold approximately $8.6 million worth of its units to at least 85 investors.

According to the SEC American Growth Funding II and Johnson promised investors 12-percent annual returns and falsely claimed its financial statements were being audited each year. The Fund also made misrepresentations in offering documents about its management and concealed details about deteriorating loan values. The SEC also alleged that Portfolio Advisors Alliance and its owner Allen and president Wasserman knew the offering documents were inaccurate and yet continued using them to solicit sales of the Fund.

According to the SEC’s complaint a number of misrepresentations and omissions were made to investors including: (1) that the company represented in offering documents that its financial statements had been audited and would continue to be audited each fiscal year when Johnson knew this statement was false and no audit of the Fund’s financials occurred until 2014; (2) that the offering documents represented that the Fund was governed by a Board of Managers comprised of Johnson and two other individuals when the two individuals never agreed to serve; (3) that Johnson caused the Fund to send out monthly account statements to investors that concealed the precariousness of its business because the company could not have possibly paid investors their stated account balances; (4) that Allen became aware by no later than June 2012 that the Fund’s offering documents were not accurate but continued using them to solicit investors; and that Allen informed Wasserman that the Fund offering documents contained false information but Wasserman took no action and the firm’s brokers continued using misleading documents to solicit investors.

shutterstock_132704474The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Dennis Riordan (Riordan). According to Riordan’s BrokerCheck records there are at least 3 customer complaints against Riordan, 1 judgment or lien, and 2 criminal matters. The customer complaints against Riordan allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, excessive trading, and failure to follow instructions among other claims.

The most recent disclosure filed in February 2015 concerns a tax lien for $33,287. 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. The most recent complaint against Riordan was filed in December 2013 and alleges an unsuitable recommendation in a private placement security.

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.

Brokers Howard Allen (Allen), Joseph McGowan (McGowan), and Peter Pak (Pak) have settled charges brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) concerning allegations that the brokers, while employed by J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (JP Turner) and Portfolio Advisors Alliance, Inc. (PAA), participated in 12 private securities transactions without providing prior written notice to their firms in violation of NASD Conduct Rules 3040 and 2110 and FINRA Rule 2010.

The brokers were associated with the same firms at approximately the same times.  The brokers were associated with JP Turner from 2002 until 2008.  Thereafter, the brokers were associated with Allen Partners from May 2008 until June 2009.  Finally, since 2009 the brokers have been associated with PAA.  Pak has not been registered since 2011.  Both Allen and McGowan are currently registered with PAA.

According to FINRA the three brokers owned and controlled two companies – Allen Partners Capital, LLC (APC) and Allen Partners, LLC (AP).  Allen was a managing member of both companies.  While at JP Turner and PAA, Allen conducted his branch office operations through AP.  FINRA found that while the brokers were associated with JP Turner and PAA they raised money for both APC and AP.