Articles Tagged with unsuitable investments

shutterstock_182054030-300x200The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Stoever, Glass & Company Inc. (Stoever, Glass & Company) broker Adam Goodman (Goodman). According to BrokerCheck Records held by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Goodman has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes concern the misrepresentation of investments and unauthorized trading of customer accounts.

Most recently, in April 2018, a customer alleged that Goodman engaged in numerous fraudulent practices, not limited to high pressure sales practices, unsuitable investment recommendations, and negligence with customer accounts. The customer has requested $25,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from 2013 to 2017, Goodman executed unauthorized trades in the customer account and over-concentrated investments. The case was settled at $21,000 in damages.

In December 2016, a customer alleged that Goodman falsely represented the nature of investments to the customer and executed trades in the account without the customer’s prior authorization. The case settled at $50,000 in damages.

Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Under the NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b), a broker is prohibited from trading in a non-discretionary customer account without prior written authorization from the customer. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has found that disclosures of trades being made are essential and material to an investor. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin. Continue Reading

shutterstock_184433255-300x228The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Mason Gann (Gann). According to BrokerCheck Records, Gann has been subject to a regulatory matter in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Gann for violations of the securities laws concerning unauthorized trading. In addition, Gann has been subject to three customer disputes, two of which are still pending.  Gann has also been subject to termination from employment and a tax lien.

In February 2018, Gann was terminated from Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (Berthel Fisher) for allegedly violating the firm’s conditions involving heightened supervision.

Subsequently, in April 2018, FINRA found that Gann had exercised discretionary power in 6 non-discretionary customer accounts without the customer’s prior written approval. By doing so, Gann was in violation of NASD ConductRule 2510 (b) and FINRA Rule 2010.  Gann executed a total of 500 discretionary trades at previous firm of employment Berthel Fisher, where all discretionary trades were prohibited. Without admitting or denying the findings, Gann consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Consequently, FINRA imposed a $5,000 fine and 20 day suspension.

shutterstock_164634200-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker Guistino Destefano (Destefano). According to BrokerCheck Records, Destefano has been subject to two terminations from employment and one regulatory action in which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Destefano for various violations of the securities laws. In addition,  Destefano has been subject to 6 customer disputes concerning unauthorized trades and unsuitable investments, one of which is still pending.

In May 2014, Destefano resigned from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) due to customer allegations of unauthorized trading and recommending securities to customers that weren’t approved by the firm. Subsequently, in March 2016, FINRA found that between July 2013 and May 2014, Destefano had executed unauthorized trades in 4 non-discretionary customer accounts. In addition, Destefano also had marked over 100 order tickets incorrectly, labeling them “unsolicited” when they were in fact solicited trades. For executing unauthorized trades, Destefano was found to be in violation of unauthorized NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010. Destefano consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings and FINRA suspended Destefano for 3 months and imposed a fine of $10,000.

In addition, Destefano has been subject to multiple customer complaints. In September 2017, a customer alleged that Destefano exercised discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts, over-concentrated investments, and placed customers in unsuitable investments. The customer has requested $830,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

shutterstock_177082523-243x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Anthony Sica (Sica) has been subject to three regulatory actions and nine customer complaints.  Sica is currently registered with Joseph Gunnar & Co. LLC (Joseph Gunnar).  The most recent regulatory action filed against Sica was in January 2018 by the Maryland Securities Commissioner who alleged that when it inquired about information provided to the state Scia agreed to withdraw his registration request.  Many of the customer complaints against Sica concerning high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning.

In Novemebr 2017, FINRA found that Sica unsuitable recommendations to an elderly customer living on a fixed income. FINRA alleged that Sica repeatedly recommended that the customer purchase high-risk securities that were inconsistent with her investment profile and resulted in an over concentration of the customer’s account in speculative securities.  FINRA also found that Sica engaged in short-term in-and-out trading of the speculative investments in the customer’s accounts causing substantial losses. FINRA alleged that Sica also engaged in unauthorized trading by placing trades in the IRA accounts of a customer who Sica knew was deceased.  FINRA suspended Sica for three months.

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_24531604-200x300The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Robert Clarke (Clarke). According to BrokerCheck records, Clarke has five disclosures, four of them being customer complaints.

In August 2017, a customer alleged Clarke misrepresented the nature of an investment and the purchase of the investment in the customer’s accounts. The customer is seeking $500,000 in this pending dispute.

In March 2016, a customer alleged Clarke misrepresented and made an unsuitable recommendation for the customer to invest in collateralized mortgage obligations. This dispute settled for $120,000.

shutterstock_189302963-300x194The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Cox (Cox).

According to Cox’s Brokercheck records, he has been sanctioned by FINRA because he allegedly recommended unsuitable annuity transactions to a customer and received commissions of $25,460 in connection with the exchange. Without admitting or denying the findings, Cox consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Cox was suspended from FINRA for four months and fined a total of $35,460.

In April 2017, Cox was terminated from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated because of a “lack of confidence after settlement of customer complaint and nondisclosure of outside business activity”

shutterstock_61142644-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), broker Jeanette Adcock (Adcock) has been sanctioned for allegedly not complying with Illinois Securities Law.

Additionally, Adcock has been subject to three customer disputes in 2017. Moreover, In April 2017, Adcock was “permitted” to resign from Wayne Hummer Investments because she “failed to forward a written customer complaint to her supervisor or compliance department as required.”

In November 2017, a customer alleged that Adcock made misleading statements regarding a risky investment. The customer is requesting $25,000 in damages in this pending dispute.

shutterstock_143685652-300x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating potential claims against former Capital Securities Management Inc. broker Teryl Trenchard (Trenchard). According to Trenchard’s BrokerCheck records, he was identified in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) investigation on March 10, 2017. FINRA is examining alleged fraudulent activities of Trenchard.

Trenchard was terminated by Capital Securities Management on March 10, 2017 based upon the FINRA investigation for fraud.

In a pending customer complaint, it has been alleged that Trenchard engaged in misappropriation, forgery, fraud and unauthorized trading in unsuitable transactions between 2005 and 2017. The alleged damages are $1,800,000.

shutterstock_171397469-300x228The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against former Morgan Stanley broker Peter Doyle (Doyle).

According to BrokerCheck records, Doyle was terminated from Morgan Stanley in June 2016 for failing to adhere to industry rules and/or firm policies including with regard to the use of trading discretion. Doyle’s failure to appear for FINRA requested on-the-record testimony in connection with its investigation into the conduct that led to his termination led to his bar from the industry. Without admitting or denying the findings, Doyle consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear.

Before Doyle’s termination, Morgan Stanley was ordered by a FINRA arbitration panel to pay over $8 million in damages in a customer dispute concerning allegations that Doyle made unauthorized trades, failed to disclose fees, and engaged in the financial abuse of an elderly customer.

shutterstock_64859686-300x300The investment lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints against Pennsylvania Broker/Investment Advisor Nadav Baum (Baum). According to BrokerCheck records, Baum has been subject to fourteen customer complaints and two regulatory sanctions. The customer complaints allege that Baum engaged in securities law violations, including making unsuitable investments in client’s accounts.

In March 2017, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities sanctioned Baum after he allegedly failed to comply with the terms of a supervisory agreement. He was ordered to cease and desist and to pay a fine of $6,000.

In August 2009, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Baum following allegations he executed discretionary trades without written authorization in the account of a deceased customer and executed discretionary trades in other accounts without authorization. He was issued a 30-day suspension and a fine of $15,000.