Articles Tagged with securities fraud

shutterstock_152933045-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Albert Dishner (Dishner), currently associated with Morgan Stanley. According to BrokerCheck records Dishner has been subject to at least four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints against Dishner allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, churning (excessive trading), and breach of fiduciary duty trading among other claims.

The most recent complaint against Dishner was filed in August 2016, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, alleging $600,000.00 in damage stemming from violation of FINRA rules and federal securities laws, churning, and trading negligently in customer’s account from 2010 until 2015. The complaint settled in December 2016 for $205,000.00.

In 2012 a customer filed a complaint alleging, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, Dishner did not follow customers instructions to sell securities and later executed an unauthorized sale causing $354,000 in damages. The complaint was denied.

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shutterstock_157506896-300x300Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Mark Gassoso (Gassoso) currently associated with National Securities Corporation alleging Gassoso engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in October 2016 alleging unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and misrepresentations causing $150,000 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.  In September 2013 another investor filed a complaint and alleged excessive trading.  The complaint was denied.

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shutterstock_20354401-300x200Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Bryon Glime (Glime) formerly associated with Capital Investment Group, Inc. (Capital Investment) alleging unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Glime has been subject to three customer complaints, one criminal matter, three judgments or liens, one employment termination for cause, and one regulator action.

In September 2015 Glime was terminated by Capital Investment after the firm alleged that Glime failed to timely report a criminal disclosure to the firm.  The criminal disclosure disclosed includes allegations of theft, embezzlement, and misappropriation.

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shutterstock_177577832-300x300According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) customers have filed complaints against broker Mark Miranda (Miranda).  Our attorneys have been reviewing records that Miranda has been the subject of at least seven customer complaints, one bankruptcy filing, and one tax lien in September 2012 for $39,000.  The customer complaints against Miranda allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in September 2016 and unsuitable investments causing $49,797.17 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.  In April 2016 another investor filed a complaint and alleged excessive fees causing $47,620 in damages.  The complaint 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.

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shutterstock_183525509-300x200The securities fraud attorneys at Gana LLP have recently filed a complaint on behalf of a client alleging that Dean Mustaphalli (Mustaphalli) engaged in securities fraud.  The claim was brought against brokerage firms Sterne Agee Financial Services, Inc. (Sterne Agee) and Interactive Brokers LLC (Interactive Brokers) alleging that the firms failed to supervise Mustaphalli’s misconduct.

The complaint alleges that starting in December 2009, Mustaphalli established a securities related outside business activity (OBA) in the form an advisory firm and a hedge fund.  Mustaphalli registered the investment advisor with the SEC under the name Mustaphalli Advisory Group, LLC (MAG) until December 2014.  Subsequently, Mustaphalli filed a From D with the SEC in January 2011 for a hedge fund called Mustaphalli Capital Partners Fund, L.P. (MCPF) and opened an account for the fund.

The complaint alleged that Mustaphalli failed to inform Sterne Agee of his transactions through MCPF although Mustaphalli did disclose the MAG RIA.  The complaint also alleges that in or around mid-2014 Mustaphalli transferred MAG’s accounts and the MCPF account to Interactive Brokers.  Also around May 2013 FINRA began investigating Mustaphalli’s, MAG’s, and MCPF’s activities.  In December 2014, FINRA suspended Mustaphalli for two years and imposed a fine and disgorgement for engaging in private securities transactions through MCPF without notifying Sterne Agee.  Dep’t of Enforcement v. Dean Mustaphalli, AWC No.  2013036880302 (Dec. 15, 2014).

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shutterstock_156972491Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Wayde Walker (Walker) currently registered with National Securities Corporation (National Securities), alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Walker has been subject to seven customer complaints and three tax liens.

In May 2016 Walker disclosed a tax lien of $42,132.72.  In September 2015 Walker disclosed a tax lien of $110,255.57.  Also in May 2015 Walker disclosed another tax lien of $39,257.39.  A broker’s inability to pay debts may also be an indicator that a broker may solicit funds and loans from his clients or otherwise engage in other misconduct to raise funds to satisfy personal obligations.

In December 2015 a customer filed a complaint involving Walker alleging that the broker made unauthorized trades and misrepresented securities among other claims.  The customer alleged $513,218.40 in damages.  The claim is current pending.

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shutterstock_70999552Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Troy Tremblay (Tremblay) currently registered with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus), alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and unfair business practices among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Lambert has been subject to three customer complaints, two judgement/liens, and one financial disclosure.

In May 2014 Tremblay disclosed a tax lien of $43,280.84.  In February 2014 Tremblay disclosed another tax lien of $59,670.74.  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.

In May 2014 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Tremblay caused the customer $932,810 in damages stemming from a tenant in common (TIC) investment.  The claim was resolved for $315,000.

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shutterstock_183554579Attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christian Herrera (Herrera) alleging unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Herrera has been subject to five customer complaints, one financial disclosure – a bankruptcy, and one regulatory event.

A customer filed a complaint in October 2013 alleging that the broker made unsuitable recommendations by over-concentrating their leading to $39,229 in losses.  The claim was settled for $14,000.

Brokers in the financial industry have the fundamental responsibility to treat investors fairly.  This obligation includes making only suitable investments for their client.  The suitable analysis has certain requirements that must be met before the recommendation is made.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation for the investment based upon the broker’s and the firm’s investigation and due diligence.  Common due diligence looks into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, the issuer, the likelihood of success or failure of the investment, and other relevant factors.  Second, if there is a reasonable basis to recommend the product to investors the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives.  These factors include the client’s age, investment experience, retirement status, long or short term goals, tax status, or any other relevant factor.

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shutterstock_183549914The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Steven Shmulewitz (Shmulewitz).  According to BrokerCheck records Shmulewitz has been the subject of at least nine customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Shmulewitz allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in May 2016 and alleged unauthorized use of margin in the customer’s account from 2011 through March 2014 causing $250,000.  Thee complaint settled for $52,800.  In May 2015, another customer alleged excessive commissions, mishandling of the account and misrepresentations leading to $21,000 in damages.  The complaint settled for $20,000.

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.

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shutterstock_175298066The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are pleased to announce an award on behalf of their client against Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus) in the amount of $150,000 plus costs.  The complaint was filed The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and involved multiple brokerage firms that hired advisor Ahmad Hashemian.

The Claimant alleged that Hashemian invested over $2,000,000 in exclusively high cost products and 50% of those investments were in alternative investments such as private placements, oil and gas partnerships, and non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The other 50% was invested in variable and equity-indexed annuities.  All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  Brokers, enticed by the high commissions, often times misled their clients into investing in these products.

In this case the panel found that “the investments Hashemian recommended while at Centaurus were not suitable and in Margaret Polito’s best interests. Margaret Polito also provided sufficient evidence to meet her burden of proof to support her allegations in her Statement of Claim that the actions by Hashemian, for which Centaurus is responsible, constitute fraudulent and negligently made material misrepresentations and omitted material information in the sale of the investments to Margaret Polito.”  Award Can Be Found Here.

Even more shocking is the fact that some of these activities occurred while Hashemian was under heightened supervision.  Nonetheless, Centaurus failed to supervise Hashemian’s misconduct that included having his client sign blank forms and inflating her financial information so that she could qualify for the investments he was recommending.

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