Articles Tagged with WFG Investments

shutterstock_172399811-297x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Jay Jordan (Jordan), in August 2017, was sanctioned by FINRA and had a permanent bar imposed in connections with allegations of unsuitable investments in leveraged exchanged traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) based on the investor’s investment objectives, financial situation, risk tolerance, experience, and investment needs.  Jordan was previously terminated by his employer WFG Investments, Inc. (WFG).  WFG stated that Jordan was terminated due to his failure to follow certain policies of the firm including reporting a customer complaint, unauthorized use of personal email, and mischaracterization of an outside business activity.

In addition, Jordan has been subject to 14 customer complaints concerning his securities activity.  These investors have alleged millions in losses most likely stemming from FINRA’s allegations of unsuitable Non-Tradition ETF trading.

According to FINRA, Jordan become convinced that an economic crisis or stock market collapse was imminent and recommended concentrated Non-Traditional ETFs so that they clients could benefit from rising oil prices, rising interest rates, and declining equity values.  FINRA alleged that in June 2012, Jordan made widespread recommendations to his customers that they purchase Non-Traditional ETFs including: (1) UWTI (three times the daily performance of the S&P GSCI Crude Oil Index ER); (2) BOIL (two times the daily performance of the Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex); and UGAZ (three times the daily performance of the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index); (3) TBT and TMV (two and three times, respectively, the daily performance of the inverse of the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index); (4) SDS (two times the inverse of the daily performance of the S&P 500); (5) QID (two times the inverse of the daily performance of the NASDAQ-100 index); and (6) VIXY (matches the performance of the S&P 500 Short-Term Futures Index, which seeks to measure short-term volatility).

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shutterstock_168326705-199x300The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Linda Dowd. According to BrokerCheck records, Dowd has been subject to employment separation from WFG Investments Inc. (WFG Investments) and one regulatory action. Linda Dowd has spent 27 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Sunbelt Securities, Inc. (Sunbelt Securities) out of the firm’s Carlsbad, California office location. Brokers and investment advisers that forge customer signatures constitute a form of securities fraud.

In July 2016, Linda Dowd was terminated from her position at WFG Investments and has been sanctioned by FINRA. According to FINRA, Dowd had a customer pre-sign distribution requests forms on at least 26 occasions to effectuate a verbal distribution request as an accommodation to the customer. The findings state Dowd additionally utilized a personal email address to create a perception of legitimate customer communications. Dowd was also alleged to have falsely advised the firm’s compliance personnel that she had received the customer’s completed and signed distribution requests via email. For this, Dowd was fined $5,000 and was issued a one-year suspension.

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shutterstock_168326705The law offices of Gana LLP have been investigating the sales of Servergy, Inc. (Servergy) stock through a private placement by WFG Investments, Inc (WFG) to its clients. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed an action in the Northern District of Texas against Servergy concerning possible violations of the anti-fraud provisions of federal and state securities laws. Between August 2009 and February 2013, Servergy raised approximately $26 million by selling shares of its common stock to private investors

Servergy is a Nevada company headquartered in Texas formed in August 2009. The company’s main product is the developing and manufacturing the Cleantech 1000 Server (CTS-1000), technology that can be used in network function virtualization, distributed storage, and cloud computing. The SEC’s Servergy lawsuit concerns misstatements made by Servergy’s CEO, William Mapp III, to investment advisors and investors regarding Servergy’s prospects. Specifically, it was alleged that the company made statements indicating that Freescale Semiconductor had previously ordered CTS-1000 servers, that Amazon.com, Inc. had pre-ordered the server, and that the CTS-1000 consumes 80% less power, cooling, and space than its competitors.

However, according to the SEC, there was no evidence to back up that Mapp’s statements that Freescale’s ever placed such orders of the CTS-1000. The SEC also alleged that the claims concerning pre-orders from Amazon for the CTS-1000 did not exist. Finally, the SEC alleged that there were errors in a chart titled “Comparing Servergy to the Blade Server Competition” that was included in one of the Company’s private placement memoranda.

 

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shutterstock_179203754This article continues our prior post concerning The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recent sanctions of brokerage firm WFG Investments, Inc. (WFG) alleging a host of supervisory failures from March 2007, through January 2014.

In one supervisory failure example involving suitability, FINRA found that between 2009, and 2013, a broker by the initials “MC” (1) traded with discretion in several of his customers’ accounts without their written authorization; and (2) also excessively traded in at least one of his customer’s accounts in light the customer’s investment objectives and risk tolerance. FINRA also alleged that many of the securities traded were also qualitatively unsuitable in light of the customers’ age, objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation. In addition, several of the customer’s accounts were charged both commissions and management fees and this problem was not identified or corrected even after it was detected.

FINRA also alleged that MC used unapproved charts and provided consolidated statements to a customer without the firm’s knowledge or approval. Moreover, allegedly there were exception reports that highlighted the problem trading activity in several of these accounts that were simply not reviewed or not properly processed. In fact, FINRA found that one of the customers who complained about unsuitable activity in her accounts was not contacted by the firm until after she had complained despite the fact that her accounts had appeared on numerous exception reports. Similarly, FINRA found that broker SGD was also permitted by the WFG to engage in unsuitable trading in one of his customer’s accounts which included the recommendation and sale of numerous high risk equity and ETF purchases for a retired client with a conservative risk tolerance.

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shutterstock_189276023The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned brokerage firm WFG Investments, Inc. (WFG) alleging a host of supervisory failures from March 2007, through January 2014. FINRA alleged that WFG failed to commit the necessary time, attention, and resources to critical regulatory obligations in supervising registered representatives including: (1) failure to conduct appropriate due diligence on a private placement offering that was sold by a broker away from the firm; (2) failure to supervise the private securities transactions of one of its brokers that were executed through the representative’s investment advisory firm; (3) failure to maintain a supervisory system to ensure customer transactions were suitable; (4) failure to enforce its written supervisory procedures regarding the sale of alternative investments; (5) failure to supervise statements made by one broker on his weekly radio broadcast; and (6) failure to timely report customer complaints and update the Forms U4 and U5 of its brokers.

WFG has been a FINRA member since 1988, conducts a general securities business, and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. WFG currently has about 280 brokers operating out of 102 branch offices.

FINRA alleged that in 2007, a WFG broker by the initials “SGD” provided notice to the firm that he intended to sell a private placement offering FINRA called “ATMA” to his customers. ATMA was designed to offer an income stream to investors based revenues form automated teller machines (ATMs). In evaluating a selling agreement with SGD, FINRA alleged that WFG assigned its compliance officer known by the initials “TS” to conduct due diligence on ATMA. TS owned a 5% interest in ATMA and SGD was the 90% owner and the operator of ATMA, had no prior experience in structuring and offering private placement investments. FINRA found that the entity that was to provide the ATM machines to ATMA was engaged in fraudulent business practices and most of the ATMs were fictional. FINRA found that WFG declined to enter into a selling agreement with SGD, but permitted him SGD to sell interests in ATMA as private securities transactions.

Between October 2007, and December 2007, FINRA found that SGD sold $ 1,024,000 in interests to ATMA to seven investors. Due to the fraudulent business activities these WFG customers lost 100% of their investments. FINRA found that WFG was required to supervise these private securities transactions as if they were executed on behalf of WFG. FINRA found that WFG failed to supervise this activity or conduct adequate due diligence into ATMA and thus failed to detect and follow up on red flags.

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shutterstock_143179897Gana LLP is investigating claims were brought by securities and exchange commission (SEC) against Matthew Bell (Bell) and Craig Josephberg (Josephberg) in connection with participation in a $300 million securities fraud market manipulation scheme. The SEC brought charges against Abraxas J. Discala (Discala), Marc E. Wexler (Wexler), and Ira Shapiro (Shapiro), for manipulating the stock price of sale of CodeSmart Holdings (OTC: ITEN), Cubed, Inc. (OTC: CRPT), StarStream (OTC: SSET) and The Staffing Group, Ltd. (OTC: TSGL).

According to the complaint, in 2013, Discala and Wexler conspired with Bell and Josephberg, both registered representatives with different brokerage firms, to inflate the price of the stock of CodeSmart. The SEC found that Discala, Wexler, Bell, and Josephberg then profited by selling their shares at inflated values at the expense of Bell’s clients and Josephberg’s customers.

Bell was taken into custody by the FBI and appeared in federal court in San Antonio. In Court, Bell was informed of a 10-count indictment returned in Brooklyn, New York, and was released on bond. Bell has a long history of customer complaints and two firm terminations.

From October 2012, to June 2013, Bell was registered with broker-dealer WFG Investments (WFG). Thereafter, from August 2013 to October 2013, Bell was registered with Securities America. Bell has at least 25 customer complaints filed against him. Some of the complaints relate to unsuitable recommendations to purchase penny stocks including CodeSmart. Other complaints allege inappropriate investments in debt securities, limited partnerships, and direct private placements. In some instances the complaints allege that the trading was unauthorized. In addition, Bell was terminated by WFG for allegedly trying to settle a customer complaint without bringing the complaint to the firm’s attention. Bell was terminated four months later from Securities America for allegedly failing to follow the firm’s procedures concerning private securities transactions.

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