Articles Tagged with Trustmont Financial Group

shutterstock_152933045-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating broker Marc Korsch (Korsch), currently associated with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus Financial) out of Sarasota, Florida and Port Charlotte, Florida.  According to a BrokerCheck report, Korsch has been subject to at least three customer disputes, one financial disclosure, and one criminal matter during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Korsch concern allegations of unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentations.

In June 2019 a customer alleged that from August 2014 through May 2019, Korsch misrepresented the features of real estate securities and provided misleading information causing $53,000 in damages.  This dispute is currently pending.

In April 2018 a customer alleged that Korsch made an unsuitable recommendation of annuity switches.  The claim alleged $55,000 in damages and settled for $8,000.

In February 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Korsch and his previous member firm, Trustmont Financial Group, Inc. (Trustmont Financial), violated the securities laws by, among other things, engaging in common law fraud, unsuitable investments, failure to supervise, and misrepresentations causing $500,000 in damages.  The FINRA arbitration panel ordered Trustmont Financial to pay the customer $848,002 in compensatory damages, $100,000 in punitive damages, $15,596 in costs, and $82,500 in attorneys fees.

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shutterstock_184929191Our firm is investigating claims made by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against broker Peter Kohli (Kohli), DMS Advisors, Inc. (DMS Advisors), and Marshad Capital Group, Inc. (Marshal).  See SEC v. Peter R. Kohli, et al, (E.D. Pa.). According to the SEC, from 2012 through 2015 Kohli lied to induce over 120 investors to invest at least $3.2 million in entities owned or controlled by Kohli.  Kohli was a registered representative of Trustmont Financial Group, Inc. (Trustmont) from July 2010 until May 2015 out of the firm’s Leesport, Pennsylvania office location.  In April 2015 Trustmont permitted Kohli to resign for accepting loans from a client.

The SEC allged that Kohli launched the DMS Funds that consisted of four emerging markets mutual fund series.  Kohli allegedly solicited his own customers and clients to invest in the funds using prospectuses and other documents that contained misrepresentations overstating DMS Funds’ sophistication and ignored key risks associated with the investments.  The SEC alleged that as the fund collapsed due to Kohli’s recklessness, Kohli engaged in three other frauds in an effort to keep the funds afloat.  One such alleged fraud was that Kohli made material misrepresentations in connection with the sale of warrants 10 purchase Marshad stock – an entity Kohli controlled. In addition, the SEC accused Kohli of misappropriating investor money that he solicited for the purported purpose of making investments into one of the finds and instead used the money to pay fund expenses. Finally, the SEC accused Kohli of lieing to investozs in connection with the sale of Marshad promissory notes in a desperate attempt to raise money to cover fund expenses and delay the DMS Funds’ collapse.

According to Kohli’s brokercheck records Kohli was permitted by Trustmont to engage in DMS Financial, Inc. and DMS Funds.  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_145368937The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred broker Chase Casson (Casson) alleging that Casson failed to provide documents and information to FINRA in response to demands made to investigate the broker’s activities. On various dates in August and September 2014, FINRA sent Casson a request for documents concerning allegations that he participated in a private securities transactions. The details concerning the exact nature of the alleged transaction and Casson’s role are not yet fully known.

The allegations against Casson are consistent with a potential “selling away” securities violation. 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. Under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering such products. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to establish and maintain written supervisory procedures and implement such policies in order to monitor the activities of each registered representative. Selling away often occurs in environments where the brokerage firms either fails to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fails to actually implement that system and meet supervisory requirements.

In selling away cases, investors are unaware that the advisor’s investments are either not registered or not real. Typically investors will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized or the broker simply shuts down shop and stops returning client calls.

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