Articles Tagged with Voya Financial Advisors

shutterstock_175835072-300x199The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Voya Financial Advisors Inc. (Voya Financial) broker Michael Hagan (Hagan).  According to BrokerCheck records, Michael has been subject to seven customer complaints. The majority of these complaints concern the misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendation of variable annuities, equity indexed annuities, and Variable Universal Life (VUL) insurances.

Most recently, in April 2017, a customer alleged that Hagan recommended unsuitable investment products for the customer and misrepresented the nature of the investments.  The dispute was settled at $164,455.

In January 2010, a customer alleged that in February 2000, Hagan’s recommendation of John Hancock Variable Universal Life (VUL) insurance was unsuitable and should be reexamined.

shutterstock_112866430-300x199Former IFS Securities, Inc. (IFS) and Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (Voya) broker James Flynn (Flynn) has been subject to at least ten customer complaints, two employment terminations for cause, three tax or civil judgment liens, and one bankruptcy proceeding.  According to a BrokerCheck report many of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In February 2017 Voya discharged Flynn accusing the broker of providing misleading information to the firm during a complaint investigation.  Despite numerous customer complaints and financial troubles IFS hired Flynn anyway only to also discharge him a year later in February 2018.  IFS claims that Flynn was terminated because he executed unauthorized trades.

In addition, Flynn was subject to large tax liens totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In April 2005 Flynn disclosed a tax lien of over $256,000.  Thereafter, Flynn declared bankruptcy in April 2013.  The fact that a broker cannot manage his own personal finances is material information for a client to consider.  In addition, the types of products clients have alleged were unsuitable are high commission products that may be recommended to generate high profits for the advisor at the expense of the client.

shutterstock_80511298-300x218Broker James Lynn (Lynn) was recently terminated by his former employer Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (Voya).  According BrokerCheck  Voya alleged that Lynn provided misleading information to the firm during a complaint investigation.  In addition to the termination, Lynn has been subject to six customer complaints, one bankruptcy and three judgments or tax liens.  The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the customer complaints against Lynn.

Many of the complaints concern variable annuities or direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  The most recent complaint filed in May 2017 requested $115,000 in damages alleging that the investor claimed the that the REIT investments and the replacement of a variable annuity policy was unsuitable. The REITs were purchased in 2014 and 2015.  The claim is currently pending.

All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed.  However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them.  Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment.  In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.

shutterstock_173088497According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Frederick Monroe (Monroe) has been the subject of at least three customer complaints alleging that the broker misappropriated funds. In total the customers complaint that over $2 million has been taken by the broker. Subsequently, Monroe’s brokerage firm, Voya Financial Advisors (Voya Financial), terminated Monroe due to the allegations. Monroe had been associated with Voya Financial since 2006.

On June 10, 2015, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest of Monroe and charging him with stealing over $1 million from investors by fraudulently soliciting them to reinvest their retirement monies in what essentially was a Ponzi scheme. Monroe was accused of luring clients that he provided services to as a financial planner by diverting their monies for his own personal use and paying back earlier investors he had defrauded. Monroe faces up to 25 years in prison.

The New York Attorney General also stated that while the current charges pertain to three victims the investigation has identified at least a dozen individuals who Monroe allegedly defrauded. According to the Attorney General’s felony complaint, Monroe’s fraud was carried by instructing investors to write checks to him personally and then deposited them into his personal operating account. Monroe is alleged to have advertised his services on the Capital Financial Planning, LLC website to “clients who have amassed a significant level of assets and seek to take advantage of advance advisory programs.”