Articles Tagged with Unauthorized Trading

shutterstock_184149845-300x246The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are following the case against broker Jeffrey Kluge (Kluge) who pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud in the state of Minnesota. A plead agreement was filed with the U.S. District Court in Minnesota on March 29, 2017. Kluge entered the securities industry in 1991 and remained with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. for the entirety of his career. Kluge started a scheme to create fraudulent Merrill Lynch account statements to falsely secure collateral for multi-million lines of credit. Kluge was able to carry out this scheme by creating a fake domain name, www.mymerrillonline.com, and fake email address, pledgecontrol@mymerrillonline.com, to send the falsified account statements to Platinum Bank. A false Merrill Lynch identity was used as a cover for the email address. Kluge ran this fraudulent scheme for 15 years, starting in 2001 to November 2016.

In 2001, Kluge received a line of credit for $150,000 from Alliance Bank by putting up municipal bond funds as collateral. These bond funds were substantiated by falsified account statements that hid the fact that the same bonds were already pledged to Merrill Lynch loans previously obtained by Kluge. The outstanding balance of Alliance Bank line of credit was at $6 million in November 2016.

Utilizing the same scheme for Alliance Bank, Kluge was able to secure a $1 million line of credit from Platinum Bank in Minnesota. He procured this line of credit by putting up the same assets used for Merrill Lynch and Alliance Bank.  The Platinum Bank line of credit balance was at $2.7 million as of November 2016.

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Tracy Rae Turner (Turner). According to BrokerCheck records, Turner has been subject to at least 31 customer complaints, two employment separations for cause, one regulatory, and one financial among other claims during his 22 years of experience. The customer complaints against Turner alleges securities law violations that including unauthorized trading, fraud, breach of contract, negligence, and failure to supervise among other claims.

In a FINRA regulatory action against Turner in November 2016, the agency alleged that he offered and sold interests to investors totaling approximately $4.1 million without giving prior notice to and receiving prior written permission from his member firm. For successfully soliciting these investments, Turner received approximately $270,000 in compensation. A decision was rendered in April 2017 which resulted in barring Turner from FINRA association and fining him for $272, 879.04. The findings of the decision also alleged that Turner created a publically available offering memorandum to market sales of interest in private securities without providing a sound evaluation of investments and included false and misleading statements.

In June 2009, Turner was permitted to resign from his position at CapWest Securities, Inc. for conducting sales in states where he was not registered.

shutterstock_185582-300x225The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a pending customer complaint filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Silvano Rolando Trino (Trino). According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck record for Trino, there are at least 4 disclosures on Trino’s records, all pertaining to customer complaints. The customer complaints against Trino allege unauthorized use of margin, unsuitable trading, and churning.

All brokers who are registered with FINRA are required to disclosure customer complaints and arbitrations, regulatory actions, employment terminations, bankruptcy filings, and criminal or civil judicial proceedings.

The most recent customer complaint against Trino was filed with FINRA in September 2014 alleging unauthorized use of margin, unsuitable trades, and churning. This claim occurred during Trino’s current employment at Northeast Securities, Inc.

shutterstock_188269637-300x200Gana LLP’s securities fraud investigation has uncovered a complaint filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Gerald O’Halloran (O’Halloran). O’Halloran was  formerly associated with Kovack Securities Inc. The complaint alleges that O’Halloran has been the subject of at least eight customer complaints, two employment separations for cause, and one criminal charge. The customer complaints against O’Halloran is a makeup of allegations of numerous securities law violations, including that O’Halloran engaged in unauthorized trades, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty & breach of contract among other claims.

The most recent complaint against O’Halloran was filed in August 2016, alleging $135,000.00 in damage stemming from violation of trading negligently, misrepresentation, omission of a material fact, breach of fiduciary duty & breach of contract in customer’s account while employed at Credit Suisse Securities. The claim is currently pending.

In 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging unauthorized trades in the account during February 2011 claiming $14,000.00 in damages. The case was resolved with the customer receiving $27,000.00.

shutterstock_184430498-300x225Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Wendy Feldman (Feldman) currently associated with H. Beck, Inc. (H. Beck) alleging Feldman engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to BrokerCheck, Feldman currently has two customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.

In July 2015, a customer brought a complaint against Feldman alleging that between 2011 to 2014 the broker engaged in unauthorized trading, made unsuitable purchases, and failed to disclose fees.  The complaint alleged damages of $5,000,000.  In 2016 an arbitration was held and the customer was awarded $8,606,599 in total.

Shortly after the arbitration award Morgan Stanley terminated Feldman due to allegations involving adherence to industry rules and/or firm policy including with regard to use of trading discretion.

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shutterstock_103681238-300x300Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against David Fagenson (Fagenson) currently associated with Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge) alleging Fagenson engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to BrokerCheck, Fagenson currently has nine customer complaints, one criminal matter, two regulatory actions, and one employment termination for cause.

In September 2016 UBS terminated Fagenson after a review found that while on heightened supervision Fagenson violated firm policy by exercising time and price discretion, texting with clients and engaging in short term trading of preferred shares.  Also in September 2016 a customer alleged that from 2013 through 2016 that Fagenson engaged in unauthorized trading and gave stop loss orders that were not entered.  The complaint is currently pending.

In April 2011 Fagenson was sanctioned by the state of Florida for failing to disclose a criminal matter on his record that was required to be disclosed.

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Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christopher Bond (Bond) currently associated with National Securities Corporation alleging Bond engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to BrokerCheck, Bond currently has two customer complaints, three criminal matters, and one judgement / lien.

In October 2016, Bond was charged with criminal mischief in the third degree.  Prior to that, in September 2016 a customer complained that Bond provided unsuitable investment advice resulting in $546,735 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In March 2016, a tax lien was filed against Bond for $80,000.  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.

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shutterstock_143685652-300x300Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Douglas Studer (Studer) formerly associated with Kovack Securities Inc. (Kovack) alleging unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Studer has been subject to two customer complaints, one bankruptcy in 2010, and one regulatory sanction resulting in a permanent bar from the securities industry.

In September 2016 FINRA sanctioned Studer alleging that he consented to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for testimony concerning an investigation into whether he had violated his employing member firm’s policy by being named in an elderly customer’s estate documents to inherit the customer’s waterfront condominium.

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shutterstock_20354401Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Matthew Fleissner (Fleissner) currently associated with National Securities Corporation (National Securities) alleging unauthorized trading and excessive fees and commissions among other claims.  According to brokercheck records Fleissner has been subject to two customer complaints and one criminal matter.

The type of claims being made against Fleissner are often associated with claims of excessive trading or churning.  When brokers engage in excessive trading the broker will typically 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.  Many brokers who engage in churning will not take the time to explain to the investor the exact reasons for the transactions and will provide vague and general responses to requests for information such as this is the strategy we are pursuing.

Churning investment trading activity in a client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions.  Churning is considered a type 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_103681238The securities fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Marc Kalter (Kalter).  According to BrokerCheck records Kalter has been the subject of at least six customer complaints and two regulatory actions.  The customer complaints against Kalter allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in July 2016 and alleged breach of fiduciary duty and unsuitable investments causing $76,043 in damages.  The complaint is currently pending.  Also in March 2016 another investor filed a similar complaint and alleged breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, and churning causing $182,000 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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