Articles Tagged with Woodbury Financial

shutterstock_185190197-300x199The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Ronald Hannes (Hannes) has been accused by a financial regulator of engaging in converting client funds among other allegations.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Hannes was employed by his prior employer Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) prior to being investigated concerning his activities.  If you have been a victim of Hannes’ alleged misconduct our firm may be able to assist you in recovering funds.

In December 2019, Hannes was terminated by Woodbury Financial for cause after the firm received notice from a client that funds were paid to the representative for purchase of a life insurance contract that were not forwarded to the life insurance company.

Thereafter, FINRA investigated Woodbury Financials’ disclosures and Hannes refused to cooperate with FINRA.  FINRA found that Hannes consented to sanctions and findings that he failed to produce documents and information requested by FINRA during its investigation into allegations that he converted customer funds.

In March 2020, the Securities Division of the State of Washington filed a complaint against Hannes alleging that from approximately 2003 to 2019, Hannes engaged in an extensive, long-term fraud against his Woodbury Financial clients by convincing them to write checks to Hannes Financial Services, Inc. for off-the-books investments and then used the money for other purposes.  In total, Hannes is alleged to have defrauded at least nineteen clients out of at least $2.9 million.

The State of Washington alleges that Hannes generally approached existing clients and misrepresented to them that he had an opportunity for a fixed-rate investment in either a bond, or in a unit investment trust which functioned similarly to a bond.  It is alleged that Hannes did not provide investors with any offering documents for to the investments or financial statements and in some cases did not even identify the company in which the client would be investing.  Instead, it is alleged that Hannes most commonly stated that the investments offered a return of 5% to 7%, and could be rolled over into new investments at the end of their fixed terms in the two-to-five-year range.  Investors are then alleged to have been solicited to roll over their investments rather than requesting withdrawals.  Hannes is alleged to have had the clients write the checks to HFS, whose bank accounts he controlled as the owner of the company.  Hannes is then alleged to have created false account statements and company names to provide the appearance that actual investments had been made.

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shutterstock_177792281-300x198The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) broker Richard Ginsberg (Ginsberg). According to BrokerCheck Records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Ginsberg has been subject to two pending customer disputes concerning unsuitable alternative investments.

Most recently, in December 2017, Ginsberg was subject to a customer complaint in which the customer alleged that Ginsberg had placed the customer in unsuitable investments. This dispute is currently still pending.

In addition, in November 2017, a customer alleged that Ginsberg had placed the customer in unsuitable Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). The REITs were unsuitable for the customer in terms of the customer’s investment objectives and risk tolerance. The customer has requested $1,000,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

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shutterstock_145368937-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Maloney (Maloney), formerly employed by Edward Jones has been subject to five customer complaints and one termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in May 2016 Edward Jones terminated Maloney stating that he did not adhere to the firm’s policy regarding suitability of recommendations.  Most of a Maloney’s customer complaints allege that Maloney made unsuitable recommendations in equity securities.

In November 2017 a customer made allegations of misrepresentation, suitability, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning of her accounts.  The claim is currently pending.

In September 2017 a customer alleged an unsuitable investment recommendation in Fire Eye stock causing losses of $329,523.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_112866430-300x199The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against current Questar Capital Corporation (Questar) broker Stephen Swarbrick (Swarbrick). According to BrokerCheck records, Swarbrick has spent 23 years in the securities industry and is currently located in Roseville, California operating under the d/b/a Weston and Tuttle Wealth Advisors, LLC.  Over his career, Swarbrick has been the subject of at least three customer complaints.

The most recent complaint was filed in January 2017 alleging that a complaint was filed with the California Department of Business Oversight alleging unsuitable sales for $400,000 in equipment leasing and oil and gas partnerships from December 2009 through June 2014.  The customer alleged $400,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.  Many of Swarbrick’s other customer complaints similarly allege damages resulting from the sale of alternative investment products such as equipment leasing and oil and gas private placements.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products (DPPs) and private placements including oil and gas partnerships, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.

shutterstock_145368937The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the employment termination filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (Woodbury Financial) involving broker David Ross (Ross). According to BrokerCheck records Ross is subject to one customer complaint, one employment separation for cause, and six judgment or liens.

According to Woodbury Financial, the firm terminated Ross after alleging Ross failed to disclose an outside business activity (OBA) and accepted loans form a client in addition to violating other firm policies and procedures.  Often times such filings indicate that the broker is engaging potentially in private securities transactions, promissory notes, or loans away from the firm.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

At this time it unclear the scope of Ross’ OBAs and/or private securities transactions.  According to brokercheck records Ross has disclosed OBAs listed as including Ross Financial Planning, Inc., Belmont University, and First Shot Foundation.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

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