Articles Tagged with securities fraud lawyer

shutterstock_182371613-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Joseph Pratte (Pratte), formerly associated with Signator Investors, Inc. (Signator Investors) in Riverside, California was terminated by his firm concerning allegations he engaged in prohibited outside business activity (OBA) and failed to submit the activity to the firm for approval as required.

Thereafter, in May 2018 FINRA sought to question Pratte concerning his OBA.  FINRA found that Pratte failed to cooperate with the investigation.  Accordingly, FINRA determined that Pratte consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide information in response to FINRA requests made to review Pratte’s outside business activities.

At this time it is unclear the extent of Pratte’s outside business activities or if private securities transactions were involved.  However, Pratte disclosed that he was engaged in a rental property business.

shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Kenneth Jones (Jones), in May 2017, was terminated by his firm, Aegis Capital Corp. (Aeigs Capital) based on allegations that Jones was under investigation for failure to disclose outside business activities.  Subsequently, Jones was barred from the industry by FINRA after FINRA requested documents and information and he failed to provide the FINRA requested documents and information.  FINRA sought documents concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’s termination from his member firm and of certain municipal bond trades that Jones performed while registered with the firm.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Jones’ outside business activities or if they involve private securities transactions.  Jones’ CRD lists that he is engaged in insurance an outside business activity at the Mather Christian Church.  Often times undisclosed outside business activities can lead to private securities transactions.  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”.

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_39128059-300x174According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisors Clement Chichester (Chichester) and Brittney Sias (Sias), in October 2017, were terminated by their firm, Western International Securities, Inc. (Western International) based on allegations that they accepted a FINRA sanction.  Chichester and Sias were barred from the industry by FINRA after FINRA requested documents and information and they failed to provide FINRA with the requested documents and information after initially providing partial responses to a previous request in connection with FINRA’s investigation of their alleged receipt of funds from a customer of the firm.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Chichester’s and Sias’ private securities activities.  Chichester CRD lists that he is engaged in insurance as an outside business activity.  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”.

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_113632177-300x249According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Christopher Parr (Parr), in October 2017, was under investigation by FINRA based on a preliminary determination that Parr’s conduct allegedly violated FINRA Rules 3240, 3280, and 2010.  In addition, the state of Kansas has a pending regulatory mater concerning allegations that Parr borrowed money from a client on three occasions and did not disclose the loans to his firm.  These allegations concern conduct that occurred while Parr was registered with KCD Financial, Inc. (KCD Financial).

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Parr’s activities.  Parr’s CRD lists that he does business under the name First Capital Group, Inc.

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_103665437The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a regulatory complaint (Disciplinary No. 2013038770901) filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Ricky Moore (Moore). FINRA alleged that between March 2012 and April 2013, while he was registered with Commonwealth Financial Network (Commonwealth Financial) Moore failed to disclose to the firm his outside business activities, also referred to as “selling away”, involving the facilitation of a church bond offering for a church located in Brazoria, Texas. In addition, to the FINRA complaint Moore has been subject to three customer complaints.

FINRA alleged in the complaint that Moore failed to disclose to his member firm his outside business activities involving the facilitation of a church bond offering for a church. The complaint alleges that Moore acted as the president and director of the church and facilitated the church bond offering for the church. In addition, FINRA found that Moore made a false and misleading statement on his firm’s annual compliance questionnaire when asked whether he had participated in raising capital, equity, or debt for a public or private investment. Moore answered “No” and also falsely stated that he had no undisclosed outside business activities. Thereafter, Commonwealth Financial conducted an investigation and Moore was permitted to resign after the firm terminated Moore’s registration.

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_189276023The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the employment separation filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Patrick Sands (Sands). According to BrokerCheck records Sands has been the subject of at least one customer complaint and one employment termination for cause.

In November 2015, Sands’ then brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) terminated Sands for cause alleging that the broker engaged in conduct inconsistent with the firm’s selling away policies. Participated in private securities transactions without approval of the firm is a practice known as “selling away” in the industry. The allegations appear to involve investments in private placements or direct participation programs such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs), oil and gas programs, or equipment leasing.

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_20354401The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) and the agency’s bar of broker Eugene Smietana (Smietana). According to BrokerCheck records Smietana has been the subject of at least four customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and four tax liens or judgments. The customer complaints against Smietana allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

In September 2015, Smietana was barred by FINRA for failing to respond to the regulators requests for information. In addition, Smietana has several sizeable liens and judgments entered against him. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

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_183554579The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker William Carlton (Carlton). According to BrokerCheck records Carlton has been the subject of at least five customer complaints and two judgments or liens. The customer complaints against Carlton allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint filed in October 2015 alleged unsuitable recommendations and concentrated positions in mutual funds, ETFs, and equity investments alleging losses of $1,264,355 in damages. The claim is still pending. Another claim was filed in January 2015 and alleged unsuitable concentrated positions in real estate limited partnerships and oil and gas stocks. In addition, Carlton has a tax lien of $132,060 that was filed in October 2014. Brokers are required to disclose financial matters that impact their personal finances. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

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.

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_180412949The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) and the agency’s complaint against broker Eric Kuchel (Kuchel). According to BrokerCheck records Kuchel has been the subject of at least five customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one financial matter. Many of the customer complaints against Kuchel allege unauthorized trading among other claims. In addition, one complaint filed in June 2015 alleges failure to conduct due diligence on five non-traded private placement transactions resulting in damages of $499,999.

In November 2015, Kuchel’s then brokerage firm LPL Financial LLC (LPL) terminated Kuchel for cause for failing to appear for an interview with FINRA. Thereafter, In January 2016, FINRA filed a complaint (Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2015047966701) alleging that on numerous occasions he failed to appear at for testimony in connection with an investigating into mutual fund transactions and whether he participated in a private securities transaction, a practice known 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.