Thomas Burns Subject to Complaints Over REIT Investments

shutterstock_20354398-300x200Advisor Thomas Burns (Burns), formerly employed by Crown Capital Securities, L.P. (Crown Capital) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints and two regulatory actions.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In February 2019 FINRA settled a regulatory dispute with Burns where Burns consented to sanctions and an entry of findings that he negligently made numerous mistakes causing errors and inaccuracies in identifying customer assets on alternative investment forms causing his firm to have inaccurate books and records. For instance, FINRA found that Burns mistakenly double counted assets held away from his firm in direct pension benefit plans by placing the individual holdings in their individual categories and by counting them again in the other assets category. FINRA found that Burns made computational errors in adding up holdings when calculating net worth.  In addition, FINRA alleged that Burns erroneously understated the amount of existing alternative investment holdings by either unintentionally understating the value of existing tenants in common or rental holdings or by misclassifying those existing holdings as personal real estate, instead of as alternative investments.

Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products, Non-Traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments.  These products are almost always unsuitable for investors.  In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments which provides a perverse incentives by brokers to create an artificial market for products that no honest advisor would sell.

According to studies, non-traded REITs have historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds – meaning that non-traded REITs provide paltry investment returns considering the risk an investor takes.  Alternative investment products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and equipment leasing programs are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors due to their high costs, illiquidity, high risks, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed at all.  Investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment.

Unfortunately, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them.  These products have become so popular among brokers without providing any benefit to investors that many states now limit investors from investing more than 10% of their liquid assets in Non-Traded REITs.  Many states impose these limitations because its understood that that they provide virtually no benefit to investors in relationship to their risks.

Burns entered the securities industry in 1968.  From July 1999 until March 2019 Burns has been registered with Crown Capital out of the firm’s Orange, California office location.

Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation.  At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts.  Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.