Articles Tagged with securities fraud attorney

shutterstock_187083428-300x198According to a complaint filed by the State of Illinois Securities Department Thrivent Investment has been accused of engaging in replacing its client’s existing variable annuities for new variable annuities which requiring clients to pay surrender charges and various fees that were not appropriate for the client. Thrivent Investment violated Illinois law by allegedly: (1) failing to maintain and enforce a supervisory system and adequate written procedures to achieve compliance with the securities laws; (2) failing to adequately review the sales and replacements of Variable Annuities for suitability; (3) failing to enforce its written procedures regarding documentation of sales and replacements of Variable Annuities; and (4) failing to adequately train its salespersons to variable annuity transactions.

The lawyers at Gana LLP have represented investors in their claims against brokerage firms for unsuitable investments in annuity products.  Often times the benefits of variable annuities are outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_156367568-300x200In February 2017, broker Lee Rosenberg (Rosenberg) was subject to a customer complaint alleging $250,000 in damages concerning mutual funds and variable annuities.  The complaint is currently pending.  Rosenberg is currently associated with Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. (Cadaret Grant).  The law offices of Gana LLP are currently investigating customer complaints concerning this broker.  According BrokerCheck the Rosenberg has a total of four customer complaint disclosures including allegations of unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.

Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products.  In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing.  Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you.  The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen.  The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.

However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_178801067-300x200Since the beginning of 2017 broker Abraham Heimann (Heimann) has subject to three customer complaints alleging millions in damages.  Heimann left his last employer Cetera Advisors LLC (Cetera) in February 2016.  According BrokerCheck the customer complaints allege breach of fiduciary duty, unsuitable investments, negligence, and failure to diversify the portfolio, among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in April 2017 and alleges breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and failure to diversify the portfolio and claims $30,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.  In March 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging $2,000,000 in damages due to breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.  The complaint is currently pending.  The securities lawyers of Gana LLP continue to investigate the customer complaint against Heimann.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_114128113-300x238The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Craig Sutherland (Sutherland) currently associated with Money Concepts Capital Corp (Money Concepts). According to BrokerCheck records, Sutherland has been subject to seven customer complaints. The customer complaints against Sutherland allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence among other claims.

Several of the claims involve allegations of high risk investments in Tanzania Royalty Exploration, variable annuities, non-traded REITs such as American Realty Capital Healthcare, and oil and gas related investments.  Variable annuities and non-traded REITs are high risk investments that brokers often sell to generate large commissions to the detriment of their clients.

Continue Reading

From having spoken to many victims of securities fraud – the hardest thing for many investor victims is asking for help.  More specifically, admitting to anyone that they had been taken advantage of.  Many victims express feelings of shock, disbelief, and often times shame for having been, apparently, an easy mark for the fraudster.

The truth is there is nothing to be a ashamed of.  Fraud is a multi-billion dollar business ensnaring tens of thousands of victims a year.  The only real question is – what are you going to do about it?  Our investment attorneys are here to help.  We’ll let you know what the potential avenues of recovery are.  Consider reaching out to our firm and refusing to be another victim while considering the following SEC statistics concerning their regulatory efforts in 2016.

SEC-2016-300x144
In 2016, the SEC filed 868 enforcement actions exposing financial reporting-related misconduct by companies and their executives and misconduct by registrants and gatekeepers.

shutterstock_63635611-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finding that former Morgan Stanley broker Barry Connell (Connell) working out of the Ridgewood, New Jersey office misappropriated about $5 million from clients.  After a customer complained of about $2,500,000 in unauthorized fund transfers in November 2016 Morgan Stanley terminated Connell about a week later.  Morgan Stanley terminated Connell on ground that there were “Allegations regarding unauthorized withdrawals and transfers of funds from client’s household accounts to third-party payees, which appear to be for the benefit of the former registered representative.”  Thereafter, Connell was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to provide documents and information related to Morgan Stanley’s statement.

In February 2017, the SEC alleged that Connell stole money from investors to settle a private lawsuit among other misuses.  Connell was alleged to have engaged in misappropriation of approximately $5 million from investment advisory clients.  The SEC found that from approximately December 2015 through November 2016, Connell carried out his scheme primarily by moving funds between client accounts and then sending wire transfers and checks from the accounts to third parties for his own benefit.  The SEC stated that over the course of approximately 11 months Connell made more than 100 unauthorized transactions through forms falsely representing that he had received verbal client authorizations for the transactions.  The SEC changed that this conduct was the engaging in transactions, acts, practices and courses of business that constitute violations of Section 206(1) and Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_94127350-300x205Our firm is investigating claims made by regulators and brokerage firms including LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial) concerning broker Paul Dorion (Dorion).  Dorion is currently not associated with any brokerage firm due to his bar by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) in October 2016 for failing to response to the regulator’s request for information.

FINRA’s investigation likely revolves around the disclosures concerning Dorion’s termination from LPL Financial in October 2015.  At that time Dorion was terminated for cause alleging that the broker engaged in unauthorized trading, violation of firm’s document signature policy, and concerns regarding concentrated equity positions in client accounts.  Doriaon was also alleged to have failed to respond to inquiries from the firm’s compliance department.  Subsequently, in October 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Dorion had excessively traded her account which contained funds from a home mortgage.  The complaint is currently pending.  Dorion also has several tax liens dating from 2010 through 2015.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_27597505-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Jed Tinder (Tinder). According to BrokerCheck records Tinder has been subject to at least four customer complaints, two judgment or liens, and two employment separations for cause. The customer complaints against Tinder alleges securities law violations that includes negligence, unauthorized trading and unsuitable recommendations among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2016, and alleged $181,668 in damages due to claims that the broker engaged in reckless trading while employed at Western International Securities, Inc. The complaint is currently pending.

In July 2016, a customer filed a complaint against Jed Tinder alleging that while employed at Western International Securities, made an unsuitable recommendation. The customer is seeking $187,000 in damages in the pending complaint. In September 2015 another customer filed a complaint that Mr. Tinder made unsuitable recommendations dating back to 2007 causing $1,200,000 in damages. The complaint is currently pending.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_187532303-300x200Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Adam Estes (Estes).  According to the FINRA action, Estes consented to the sanctions and findings that he participated in private securities transactions totaling over $1.2 million without providing prior written notice his brokerage firm – J.J.B. Hilliard – nor sought the firm’s permission to participate in several businesses.  According to FINRA, Estes also engaged in outside businesses which were formed by him and others without providing prior written notice to the firm.  FINRA also alleged that Estes made misrepresentations and omissions concerning the private securities transactions and outside business activities in firm annual questionnaires and other compliance documents.

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”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

Estes entered the securities industry in 2000.  Since February 2000 Estes was registered with J.J.B. Hilliard out of the firm’s Bloomington, Indiana office location.

Continue Reading

shutterstock_7947664The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Jacquin Fink (Fink).  According to BrokerCheck records Fink has been subject to at least six customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Fink allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, excessive trading, and unauthorized trading among other claims.

In April 2016, a customer complained that unsuitable investments were made and excessive trading occurred from October 2013 to January 2016 causing $581,144 in damages.  The claim is pending.  Also in April 2016, another customer alleged that unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentation occurred in August 2015.  The claim is pending.  In November 2015 a customer alleged unsuitable investment recommendations from October 2012 to August 2014 causing $106,092 in damages.  The claim settled.

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.

Continue Reading