Articles Tagged with Pruco Securities

shutterstock_188269637-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating advisor Michael Arteca (Arteca), currently registered with Pruco Securities, LLC. (Pruco) out of Uniondale, New York.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Arteca has been subject to at least five customer complaints during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Arteca concern misrepresentation in the purchase of alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In May 2018 a customer alleged that Arteca made misrepresentation in the purchase of multiple REITs.  The customer requested $200,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $50,000.

In December 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Arteca misrepresented multiple life insurance and variable annuity products.  The customer requested $81,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $64,227.

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shutterstock_102242143-300x169Advisor Alex Blanco (Blanco), currently employed by MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern variable annuities and alternative investments such as direct participation products (DPPs) like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In December 2018 a customer complained that Blanco violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor made unsuitable investments as well as overstating assets and inadequate accounts to statement causing $315,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In May 2018 a customer complained that Blanco violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor recommended investments purchased in 2015 were not suitable and he is requesting to liquidate the account.  The claim was denied by the firm.

Our firm often handles cases involving annuities and direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.

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shutterstock_175835072-300x199According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Anthony Ferrara (Ferrara), currently employed by Larson Financial Securities, LLC (Larson Financial), has been subject to four customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in July 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Larson Financial made unsuitable recommendations and material omissions in the sale of a variable universal life (VUL) policy that was purchased in 2013.  The customer requested $40,000 in damages and is currently pending.  Many of the complaints concerning Ferrara’s conduct include claims concerning the sales of VULs.

In January 2017 another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitability of the product, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive business practices, general fraud and negligence.  The customer alleged $350,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

VUL are complex insurance and investment products that investors must fully understand the risks and benefits of prior to investing.  One feature of a VUL policy is that the owner can allocate a portion of his premium payments to a separate sub-account that can be used to grow in value through investments.  Monthly charges for the life insurance policy, including a cost of insurance charge and administrative fees, are deducted from the policy’s cash value.  The cash value of the policy may increase or decrease based on the performance of the sub-account investments.  In addition, the VUL policy terminates, or lapses, if at any time the net cash surrender value is insufficient to pay the monthly cost deductions.  Upon termination of the policy, the remaining cash value becomes worthless.

shutterstock_143179897According to news sources Bryan Anderson (Anderson) has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and securities fraud, according to the FBI and the Alabama Securities Commission  Anderson agreed to plead guilty to the charges under a plea agreement. Under the plea agreement Anderson will pay restitution of about $3.1 million to the victims of his Ponzi scheme.

According to the allegations, between January 2009 and January 2014, Anderson’s false investment promises caused 18 individuals to deliver more than $8.4 million to Anderson, which he deposited into an account held at BancorpSouth. When the scheme collapsed in May 2014, about 12 investors lost about $3.1 million.

It is alleged that Anderson solicited investors to invest in stock options that he said employed various trading strategies. However, the stock options he described were not registered securities. Anderson also offered investments in a company he owned called 360 Properties. Beginning in or about 2009, Anderson falsely represented to investors in 360 Properties that their returns would come from leased property income, when in fact there were no leased properties.

shutterstock_20354401The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred broker Derek Weaver (Weaver) alleging that Weaver failed to provide documents and information to FINRA in response to demands made to investigate the broker’s activities. On December 1, 2014, FINRA sent Weaver a request for documents concerning allegations that he participated in a Ponzi scheme. The details concerning the exact nature of the alleged Ponzi scheme and Weaver’s role are not yet fully known.

The allegations against Weaver are consistent with a potential “selling away” securities violation. 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. Under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering such products. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to establish and maintain written supervisory procedures and implement such policies in order to monitor the activities of each registered representative. Selling away often occurs in environments where the brokerage firms either fails to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fails to actually implement that system and meet supervisory requirements.

In selling away cases, investors are unaware that the advisor’s investments are either not registered or not real. Typically investors will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized or the broker simply shuts down shop and stops returning client calls.