Articles Tagged with Questar Capital

shutterstock_103681238-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Jerry Michna (Michna), employed by Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (Cetera Advisor), has been subject to two customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Michna has been accused by a customer of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

The claim was filed in July 2018 and alleges various energy sector equities purchased in 2013 and 2014 were unsuitable causing $250,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

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shutterstock_29356093-300x214Former Capital Financial Services, Inc. (Capital Financial) and Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) broker Steven Knuttila (Knuttila) has been subject to at least 25 customer complaints, one employment terminations for cause, and two regulatory actions.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern 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 June 2018 FINRA barred Knuttila from the securities industry after he refused to appear for FINRA on-the-record testimony relating to an investigation into allegations that Knuttila made unsuitable recommendations to customers.  FINRA’s bar comes after a bar by Knuttila’s home State of Minnesota after it alleged that Knuttila sold numerous unsuitable investments to clients.  In addition, in 2012 Knuttila was terminated by Questar for failing to report customer complaints and wrongful use of discretion in client accounts.

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shutterstock_187532303-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Adam Veron (Veron), in February 2017, was terminated by his then employer Questar Capital Corporation (Questar).  Questar stated that Veron was terminated due to undisclosed outside business activities and the sale of unapproved products.

Thereafter, in August 2017, FINRA brought action against Veron barring him from the industry.  FINRA alleged that in July 2015, Veron formed Contract Funding and Corporate Management, LLC (CFCM) and served as its President.  CFCM allegedly provides a line of credit to a company which uses the funds to fulfill its federal procurement contracts and then pays profits to CFCM. FINRA found that Veron sold approximately $1.8 million worth of shares in CFCM.  FINRA found that Veron participated in CFCM by soliciting the investors, hiring legal counsel to draft the Subscription Agreement and Private Offering Memorandum, accepting investments by check, depositing those checks into a bank account that he controlled, providing the investors with the Offering Documents, distributing profits from CFCM, managing CFCM’s relationship with the company, and deciding who could invest in CFCM.

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”.

shutterstock_34872913The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker James Hayne (Hayne).  According to BrokerCheck records Hayne has been the subject of at least six customer complaints and one Judgement or lien.  The customer complaints against Hayne allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, fraud, misrepresentations, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2016 and alleged that from September 2013 until June 2014 the customer’s account was traded negligently causing $200,000.  The complaint is currently pending.  In October 2015 another customer alleged that between 2008 and 2013, excessive trading occurred in in the customer’s family trust account. The customer also alleged that the investments were unsuitable and caused $750,000.  The claim is currently pending.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions.  A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

shutterstock_63635611The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating regulatory complaints and the termination by Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) of broker Kevin Wanner (Wanner). Questar discharged Wanner alleging that The North Dakota Securities Department (NDSD) issued a cease and desist alleging that Wanner sold time certificate of deposit securities purporting to represent an investment in an FDIC insured interest bearing account and further misrepresented to the investors that their funds would be deposited with the FDIC member financial institutions represented. Instead, the funds were deposited into accounts owned and controlled by Wanner for his own purpose. Thereafter, on December 31, 2015, the NDSD revoked Wanner’s securities license in the state. On January 11, 2016, FINRA permanently barred Wanner form the securities industry.

According to new sources, Wanner and Precision Financial Services were barred from engaging in the business of insurance and from withdrawing any moneys from any banking or financial accounts. The order alleges that two people were given fraudulent certificates of deposit which cannot be authenticated by the banks listed on the documents.

The conduct allegedly engaged in by Wanner is also referred to as “selling away” in the industry. 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_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_177577832According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Mark Kosanke (Kosanke) has been the subject of at least two customer complaints. The customer complaints against Kosanke allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations and false statements among other claims. The securities involved in the customer disputes are tenants-in-common (TICs).

Kosanke entered the securities industry in 1994. From 2000, until July 2006, Kosanke was registered with Questar Capital Corporation. From July 2006, until August 2010, Kosanke was associated with Professional Asset Management, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2010, Kosanke was registered with brokerage firm Concorde Investment Services, LLC.

As a background, TICs largely been sold unfairly as tax advantaged products that allow customers to defer capital gains taxes on appreciated real estate. TICs are private placements that have no secondary trading market and are therefore illiquid investments. In a typical TIC, the investor receives a fractional interest in the property along with other stakeholders and the profits are generated mostly through the efforts of the sponsor and the management company that manages and leases the property. The sponsor typically structures the TIC investment with up-front fees and expenses charged to the TIC and negotiates the sale price and loan for the acquired property. Because these fees are often higher than 15%, there is often no way for the investment to be profitable for the investor.

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