Articles Tagged with private securities transactions

shutterstock_103681238The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the employment termination filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by Morgan Stanley involving broker Robert Beck (Beck). According to BrokerCheck records Beck is subject to three customer complaints and one employment separation for cause.

According to Morgan Stanley, the firm terminated Beck after raising concerns relating to employee’s disclosures relating to outside activities.  Often times such filings indicate that the broker is engaging potentially in private securities transactions, promissory notes, or loans away from the firm.  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”.

At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Beck’s OBAs and/or private securities transactions.  According to BrokerCheck records Beck disclosed that he is involved in outside business activities including rental property in Philadelphia.   Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

shutterstock_188383739The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Thomas Stamborski (Stamborski) working out of Palatine, Illinois alleging that the broker failed to disclose certain changes to an outside business activity.  According to the FINRA regulatory action (FINRA No. 2015044783401) Stamborski consented sanctions in the form of a permanent bar because he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course their investigation into allegations concerning his resignation from his member firm, LaSalle St Securities, LLC (LaSalle St). LaSalle St allowed Stamborski to resign after it was alleged that he failed to update an Outside Business Activity with his firm when a material change occurred.

As a background, the providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible outside business activities and private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Stamborski outside business activities.  However, according to Stamborski’s public records his outside business activities includes Axis Financial Corporation.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

Stamborski entered the securities industry in 1984.  From September 2005 until December 2015, Stamborski was associated with LaSalle St.

shutterstock_180412949The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Garland Benton (Benton). There are at least 3 customer complaints against Benton, one of which appears to be filed in connection with the solicitation of private securities transactions. In addition, there is one employment separations disclosed. One customer complaint alleges that Benton caused $946,670 in damages by failing to conduct due diligence on an investment while the firm has responded that the Benton was not a representative of the customer. In April 2015, Reef Securities Inc. (Reef) terminated Benton stating that the broker was permitted to resign after allegations were made that Benton failed to follow firm policies and procedures regarding private securities transactions from 2008. The conduct allegedly engaged in by Benton is also referred to as “selling away” in the industry.

Benton entered the securities industry in 2002. Between October 2002 and April 2015, Benton was associated with Reef.

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.

shutterstock_186772637The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating Clifford Morgan (Morgan) bar from the securities industry. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2011025610501) against Morgan alleging that between November 2011 and December 2014, while he was associated with brokerage firm Uhlmann Price, Securities, LLC (Uhlmann Price) Morgan participated in private securities transactions – also referred to as “selling away” in the industry – without providing notice to his firm. FINRA also found that in engaging in the private securities transactions Morgan made material misrepresentations to customers and also participated in numerous outside business activities without providing the required notice to the firm.

Clifford Morgan entered the securities industry in January 2004. Between January 2007 and December 2014, Morgan was associated with Uhlmann Price. On December 5, 2014, Uhlmann Price filed a Form U5 reporting that Morgan had been “permitted to resign” with the explanation that the ”registered representative participated in private securities transactions in conflict with firm policies.”

It is unclear from the regulatory filings what companies were invested in but from publicly available information, Morgan’s brokercheck disclosures reveal several outside business activities including US College Planning, W&C Business Management, Strategis Wealth Consulting, and Strategis Wealth Advisory Group.

shutterstock_138129767The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Jeffrey Mohlman (Mohlman) (FINRA No. 2015044734401) resulting in a bar from the securities industry alleging that Mohlman failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents requested. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry. FINRA’s document requests related to the regulators investigation into claims the Mohlman engaged in unapproved and undisclosed private securities transactions – also referred to in the industry as “selling away.”

FINRA’s investigation appears to stem from Mohlman’s termination from Questar Capital Corporation (Questar Capital) in February 2015. At that time Questar Capital filed a Form U5 termination notice with FINRA stating in part that the firm permitted Mohlman to resign under circumstances where there was allegations that Mohlman was under internal review for failure to follow firm policies and procedures regarding participation in private securities transactions. It is unclear the nature of the outside business activities from publicly available information at this time. However, Mohlman’s brokercheck disclosures reveal several outside business activities including being a co-owner of NexGen Vapors – a vapor needs business – and Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange where Mohlman discloses that he works as an insurance agent.

Mohlman entered the securities industry in 2001. From October 2002 until March 2009, Mohlman was associated with MetLife Securities Inc. Thereafter, from June 2009 until May 2011, Mohlman was associated as a registered representative with Investacorp, Inc. Finally, from June 2012 until March 2015, Mohlman was associated with Questar Capital.

shutterstock_180342155The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned (Case No. 2013036262101) broker Sylvester King Jr. (King) concerning allegations that from July 2009, through November 2012, while King was registered Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (Morgan Stanley) and later Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo), circumvented Wells Fargo’s policies and procedures by assisting another broker in concealing nearly $400,000 in loans to three firm customers, loaned $25,000 to a customer without permission, participated in an undisclosed private securities transaction, otherwise referred to in the industry as “selling away”, where eight customers invested more than $3 million, and provided false information to Morgan Stanley on two separate questionnaires.

King entered the securities industry in 1999. From 2006, until June 2009, King was registered with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (Citigroup). From June 2009, until October 2010, King was associated with Morgan Stanley. Thereafter, from October 2011, until May 2015, King was associated with brokerage firm Wells Fargo. On April 27, 2015, Wells Fargo filed a notice of Termination Form U-5 on the same day that FINRA entered into its agreement with King in which King accepted a fine and sanctions stating that King was discharged from the firm because of the settlement with FINRA which included an 18 month suspension. Thereafter, FINRA filed a second regulatory action stating that King failed to pay the $35,000 required as part of the settlement as of July 28, 2015.

FINRA alleged that in 2009, King and his partner referred to by the initials “AP”, formed PKG, a d/b/a branch office located in Florida registered through Morgan Stanley and then Wells Fargo. PKG allegedly provided financial “concierge” services to professional athletes who played in the NFL and the NBA. FINRA alleged that King committed the violations contained in the complaint for the supposed benefit, of several of these athletes.

shutterstock_102242143According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Homer Vining (Vining) has been the subject of at least one customer complaint and three regulatory actions. The customer complaint against Vining alleges a number of securities law violations including that the broker made misrepresentations concerning penny stocks and a claim of investment sold away from the firm among other claims.

Vining entered the securities industry in 1991. From 2005 through August 2009, Vining was associated with Ameriprise Advisor Services, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2009, until March 2015, Vining was associated with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (JP Turner).

Vining has three regulatory actions against him. The first is a suspension by FINRA for failing to comply with an arbitration award. The second is also a suspension by FINRA for failing to comply with an arbitration award. The third regulatory action is by the state of Georgia which suspended Vining until the broker comes into good standing with FINRA.

shutterstock_180735251The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned and barred David Chu (Chu) concerning allegations Chu refused cooperate with requests made by FINRA in connection with an investigation into possible outside business activities and private securities transactions. Such activities are often referred to as “selling away” in the industry. According to FINRA BrokerCheck records Chu has no outside business activities listed. It is unclear what businesses or investments FINRA’s investigation concerns.

Chu entered the securities industry in 2004, when he became associated with NYLife Securities LLC (NYLife). Chu held a Series 6 license which is a license that only allows the broker to sell investment companies (i.e. mutual funds) and variable contracts products. On March 16, 2015, NYLife filed a termination notice (known as a Form U5) with FINRA disclosing that Chu was discharged from the firm under circumstances that included a notification from the SEC that the agency was reviewing Chu’s books and records including his outside business activities and private securities transactions. NYLife conducted its own review and believed that Chu’s activities exceeded the scope of his approved activities with the brokerage firm.

According to FINRA, in April 2015, the agency began investigating whether Chu had engaged in outside business activities by soliciting investments or promissory notes. As part of its investigation FINRA sent a request to Chu for certain documents and information. According to FINRA, Chu provided a partial response to FINRA but thereafter through subsequent communications stated on a call with FINRA staff that he will not cooperate with the investigation. Consequently, Chu was barred by FINRA.

shutterstock_1081038The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned and barred broker Daniel Retzke (Retzke) concerning allegations Retzke refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into possible private securities transactions and the soliciting of a loan (also referred to as “selling away”). According to FINRA BrokerCheck records Retzke has disclosed outside business activities include Country Inn & Suites, Galena Lodging Photography, Galena Lodging, and Retzke LLC. It is unclear whether FINRA’s investigation concerns these particular outside business activity. In addition, there have been at least three customer complaints filed against Retzke some which allege unsuitable investments.

ln December 1983, Retzke first became registered with a FINRA firm. In January 1992, Retzke became associated with Edward Jones. On November 13, 2014, Edward Jones filed a Uniform Termination Notice with FINRA disclosing that Retzke was discharged on October 14, 2014.

According to FINRA, in January, 2015, the agency began investigating whether Retzke had engaged in a private securities transaction and solicited a loan from a client. As part of its investigation, on January 30, 2015, FINRA sent a request to Retzke. According to FINRA, Retzke stated on a call with FINRA staff on February 3, 2015, that he will not cooperate with the investigation. Consequently, Retzke was barred by FINRA.

shutterstock_836360The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred broker Jerry Chancy (Chancy) concerning allegations that Chancy potentially engage in outside business activities and/or the sales of private securities. When a broker’s outside business activities also include the recommendation of investments the activity is referred to in the industry as “selling away.”

FINRA Rule 8210 authorizes FINRA to require persons associated with a FINRA member to provide information with respect to any matter involved in the investigation. In December 2014, FINRA alleged that it pursued an investigation into allegations that Chancy engaged in undisclosed outside business activities. On January 29, 2015, FINRA requested that Chancy appear and provide testimony. FINRA stated that Chancy told the regulator that he would not provide information or cooperate in the investigation. Consequently, he was barred from the industry It is unclear what organization or product Chancy was involved with or selling that FINRA was investigating.

Chancy first became registered with FINRA through his association with a member firm in 1988. From November 2006 through January 2015, Cadwallader was associated with Legend Equities Corporation.