The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against broker Leon Vaccarelli (Vaccarelli). The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2014042302001) against Vaccarelli. In addition, there are at least two customer complaints against Vaccarelli and two judgements or liens. The customer complaints against Vaccarelli allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker misrepresented investments and mismanaged the account among other claims.
In a FINRA regulatory action against Vaccarelli, the agency alleged that between 2011 through 2015 Vaccarelli exercised discretion in four customers’ accounts. FINRA found that Vaccarelli exercised discretion even though he did not have written authorization from the customers to place discretionary trades. In addition, Vaccarelli’s brokerage firm had not approved and accepted the accounts as discretionary. FINRA also found that on four annual compliance questionnaires between 2011 and 2014, Vaccarelli falsely certified that he did not handle any customer accounts on a discretionary basis.
Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.