Articles Tagged with Wells Fargo Advisors

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Michael Jay Sharenow (Sharenow). Sharenow’s FINRA BrokerCheck record shows several disclosures mainly pertaining to unsuitable investments.

In November 2016, a customer alleged that he or she instructed Sharenow to buy highly rated bonds but Sharenow instead bought two inappropriate securities. This dispute settled in November 2016 for the amount of $8,258.42.

A currently pending case against Sharenow was filed in October 2016 for allegedly over-concentrating a client’s portfolio during the period of 2012 to 2015 while he was employed at Wells Fargo Advisors. The clients claim that the alleged damages are greater than $810,000.00.

shutterstock_178565714-300x200Gana Weinstein LLP is investigating new customer complaints filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Aaron Robert Parthemer (Parthemer). Our firm has been investigating Parthemer since 2015, when Parthemer was barred from FINRA for engaging in private securities transactions, also known as “selling away”. According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck records for Parthemer, there are 4 new disclosures on his record since his last regulatory action in 2015. These disclosures including customer complaints against Parthemer alleging unsuitable and unauthorized investments, and misrepresentation. Parthemer was barred permanently from FINRA on April 2015. His registration to the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, a self-regulatory organization, was revoke in September 2015.

The most current customer complaint pending against Parthemer is from May 2017, alleging Parthemer made unsuitable investments starting in 2009 when Parthemer was employed at Wells Fargo Advisors and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. During Parthemer’s stint at Morgan Stanley, the client alleged that Parthemer presented outside investment opportunities that he had a personal interest in, which was unauthorized by the firm. The customer alleged damages of $1,622,844.00.

A second customer complaint was submitted in September 2016 regarding Parthemer’s actions while employed at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. The customer alleged that Parthemer solicited the client to invest in outside investments that were not authorized by Morgan Stanley. The alleged damages are $205,000.00 and is still pending.

shutterstock_114775264-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer and regulatory complaints filed against broker Jeffrey Hill (Hill). According to BrokerCheck records, Hill has been subject to three regulatory actions, eight customer complaints, and one termination for cause disclosures. The most recent customer complaint against Hill alleged that between 2003 and 2014 the customer’s account was subject to churning, unauthorized trading, unsuitability and breach of fiduciary duty.  The claim alleged damages of $1,600,000 and settled.

On November 22, 2016 Wells Fargo Advisors (Wells Fargo) terminated Hill based on activity alleged to have happened at his prior firm when the broker entered into an AWC with FINRA agreeing to a fifteen month suspension from the industry.

In FINRA’s complaint settled in November 2016, Hill consented to sanctions and findings that he initiated hundreds of trades for two elderly customers without contacting them and recommended or engaged in dozens of transactions that were qualitatively or quantitatively unsuitable or lacked a reasonable basis in corporate and municipal bonds. FINRA also found that neither of those customers explicitly permitted Hill to use discretion in their accounts.  FINRA found that Hill would recommend that one of the customers sell bonds shortly after buying them.  FINRA determined that there was no justification for the trading as neither changes in the bonds’ prices, interest that accrued, changes in the issuers’ condition, nor any other factors appeared to effect the short-term trading.

shutterstock_176198786The securities and investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Evan Wuhl (Wuhl). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Wuhl has been the subject of at least 15 customer complaints and 1 employment termination. The customer complaints against Wuhl allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments among other claims. Many of the more recent claims appear to involve allegations of unsuitable leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) and mutual funds.

In December 2011, Wuhl voluntarily resigned from UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) under circumstances where it was alleged that Wuhl worked client orders inconsistent with firm policy and industry rules concerning two clients’ use of credit lines to purchase securities.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in September 2012 alleging that Wuhl inappropriately recommended multiple shares of an inverse-leveraged ETF and then liquidated the trades without authorization from July 2008 through January 2010 resulting in damages of $277,180. The case was resolved for $220,000.

shutterstock_99315272According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Marcus Debaise (Debaise) has been the subject of at least 14 different customer complaints over the course of his career. Beginning in 2011 and continuing into 2015, customers have been filing complaints against Debaise alleging that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading in speculative securities that were inappropriate for the customer.

Debaise has been registered with FINRA since 1993. From 2003 until present Debaise has been registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo).

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. Part of the suitability requirement is that the broker must have a reasonable basis to believe, based on appropriate research and diligence, that all recommendations are suitable for at least some investors. Thus, the product or investment strategy being recommended must be appropriate for at least some investors and the advisers must convey the potential risks and rewards before bringing it to an investor’s attention. Second, all brokers must have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommended investment strategy is suitable for the particular customer. The recommendation must be reasonable for the investor based upon the investor’s risk tolerance, investment objectives, age, financial circumstances, other investment holdings, and experience.

shutterstock_155045255The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims concerning allegations made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that Michael Wurdinger (Wurdinger), from approximately February 2012, to February 2013, Wurdinger failed to adequately supervise sales of GWG Renewable Secured Debentures (GWG), an illiquid and high-risk alternative investment in violation of NASD Rule 3010 and FINRA Rule 2010. As a result of FINRA’s investigation Wurdinger was suspended for six months.

Wurdinger was associated as a securities principal with Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street) from June 2009, until April 2013, when he resigned. Since November 4, 2013, Wurdinger has been associated as with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Center Street has 84 registered representatives and 67 branches offices nationwide.

As a background, GWG Holdings, Inc. purchases life insurance policies on the secondary market at a discount to the face value of the policies. Once purchased, GWG pays the policy premiums until the insured dies. GWG then collects the face value of the insurance benefit and the company hopes to earn returns by collecting more upon the maturity of the policies than it has paid to purchase the policy and service the premiums. FINRA found that the company has a limited operating history and has yet to be profitable.

Broker James Arnold Busch (“Busch”) was barred from the broker industry by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that Busch engaged in securities fraud by misappropriating customer funds from approximately 8 different clients’ bank accounts.  FINRA alleged that most of Busch’s victims were elderly women.

In 1989, Busch first became registered with FINRA as a Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative).  In 1992, Busch became licensed as a Series 7 (General Securities Representative).  In 2000, Busch became registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (“Wells Fargo”) where Busch remained working out of various Georgia branch office locations until his termination in October 2013.

FINRA alleged that Busch worked in various branch offices of Wells Fargo that were also located in the firm’s affiliated bank.  Many of Busch’s customers had both Wells Fargo brokerage accounts and Wells Fargo bank accounts.  FINRA found that Busch had access to his customers’ bank account information through his relationship to the customers’ brokerage account.  From 2006 to 2013, Busch used his customers’ bank account information to misappropriate approximately $1.3 million from approximately eight of his Wells Fargo brokerage customers.  FINRA alleged that Busch took advantage of mostly elderly women.

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