Articles Tagged with The Investment Center

shutterstock_172105349-199x300The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming that financial advisor Leon Vaccarelli (Vaccarelli) defrauded his elderly clients out of more than $1 million.

According to FinancialPlanning, the SEC filed a complaint in federal court in New Haven alleging Vaccarelli engaged in a Ponzi scheme for more than four years. To pay his mortgage and other personal expenses, Vaccarelli allegedly did not put client funds in conventional brokerage accounts as promised and instead had some clients write checks payable directly to him and used the funds to pay for his expenses or to repay earlier investors.

Upon information and belief, as of September 7, 2017, Gana Weinstein LLP is the only firm to have brought civil claims in arbitration to help investors recovery their money from this Ponzi Scheme.

shutterstock_176534375-300x198Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Michael Siegel (Siegel) formerly associated with National Securities Corporation – d/b/a HudsonPoint Capital – alleging Siegel 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 claim filed in July 2016 seeks $2,016,064 in damages.

Thereafter, FINRA barred Siegel from the securities industry alleging that the broker failed to respond to the regulator’s requests for documents and information.

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_138129767The 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.

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