Articles Tagged with 2014

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Gary Bradshaw, a financial advisor with First Dallas Securities. Bradshaw was accused of concentrating large portions of an elderly customer’s portfolio into risky oil and gas investments. Allegedly, by 2014, Bradshaw had concentrated over 100% of the client’s account into three oil and gas investments: CVR Partners, LP, Kinder Morgan, and Legacy Reserves LP. Due to the losses in oil and gas stocks, the customer suffered over $160,000 in losses to her retirement savings. In all, because of his unsuitable investment recommendations, the client suffered over $250,000 in losses. Advisors such as Bradshaw have a duty to only recommend those securities that are suitable for investors. The broker must take into account the client’s age, net worth, investment objectives, and other things before recommending and selling securities. If he does not, his brokerage firm can be responsible for losses.

Bradshaw was registered with Rauscher Pierce Refsnes in Dallas, Texas from August 1985 until March 1990 and is registered with First Dallas Securities Inc. in Dallas, Texas and has been since February 1990. He has one customer dispute against him. Please call our securities law offices in Chicago at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about your options of suing First Dallas Securities for investment losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration process. The call is free with no obligation.

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), SG Americas Securities was censured and fined $20,000 for violations of equity trade reporting. FINRA alleged that between May 1, 2014 through August 31, 2014, the firm failed to submit 1,862 last sales reports of transactions in designated securities. This is against securities rules and regulations. If you invested money with SG Americas Securities, please call our securities law offices in Chicago to speak to an attorney about your options of suing the firm in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis. The call is free with no obligation.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Joseph Michael Araiz, former Chief Executive Officer of formerly named Ecapitalist Financial Services, now named Further Lane Securities. In February 2008, Araiz became Further Lane’s Chief Compliance Officer in addition to being its CEO. Araiz received a Wells Notice on March 17, 2014, stating that it was recommending enforcement action against Araiz for failing to disclose material facts to underwriters of certain corporate bonds in connection with an investment adviser’s purchase of those bonds in secondary offerings between 2009 and 2012. Araiz allegedly violated securities laws which included acting as an adviser to an investment fund and causing the fund to acquire a promissory note from an entity owned by Araiz without disclosing to investors that the fund might acquire related-party promissory notes or that it might otherwise materially deviate from its fund-of-funds investment strategy. It also alleged that he caused the fund to invest in a second promissory note with an unaffiliated entity without written disclosure to the investors. He was suspended for this from November 11 2013, through November 10, 2014. He was terminated from the firm by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 14, 2013.

Araiz was registered with Cowen & Co., Gruntal & Co., MJ Whitman & Co., Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., Imperial Capital LLC, The Concord Equity Group and Further Lane Securities in New York, New York from March 2002 until November 2013. He has one customer dispute against him and two regulatory matters, one of which is currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry, according to his online Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) public BrokerCheck report. If you feel like you may have a claim against Mr. Araiz, please call our securities law firm today to speak to an attorney for free. We may be able to help you recover your investment losses. 312-332-4200.

According to a New York Times article this week entitled “To Crack Down on Securities Fraud, States Reward Whistle-Blowers,” securities regulators in Indiana and Utah are using informants, also known as “whistle-blowers,” to protect their residents from financial harm. Whistle-blowers have been helping regulators at the federal level for quite some time now, and now the states themselves are getting involved.

An Indiana whistle-blower was awarded $95,000 for helping state regulators bring an enforcement action against JP Morgan Chase for failing to disclose conflicts of interest to clients about the way the bank invested their money. That was the first award given under Indiana’s whistle-blower program aimed at securities law violators. In this particular case, the informant told regulators about JP Morgan’s practice of steering clients into in-house funds that generated more costs to the clients, and, at the same time, more fees to the bank itself. The award stated JP Morgan’s practices as “outside the standards of honesty and ethics generally accepted in the securities trade and industry.” Indiana’s program was adopted in 2012 by its state legislature and officials can award up to 10% of monetary sanctions received in an enforcement statement to the whistle-blower.

Utah’s program, adopted in May 2011, allows a whistle-blower to receive up to 30% of the proceeds as an award. The first award Utah awarded was in 2014 to an investment adviser who told officials about $150,000 in questionable transactions he had witnessed while analyzing an elderly client’s holdings. He received $20,000 of the money.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Morgan Stanley $2.4 million this week for defaming a former broker. Dale L. Cebert was a former Morgan Stanley registered representative who was terminated in 2014. According to the three-person arbitration panel, Morgan Stanley managers conducted a “flawed internal investigation that was conducted, acted upon, and reported with reckless disregard for its accuracy and completeness, and made defamatory statements to Cebert’s customers in at least a grossly negligent manner (if not with a self-serving malicious motive.)” Cebert was ordered to pay back $1.26 million on two promissory notes, while Morgan Stanley had to pay $2.38 million in damages and another $500,000 in punitive damages. Morgan Stanley allegedly hired Cebert in 2012 with the intention of firing him and keeping his clients. The firm terminated Cebert, citing that he made payments through an outside business.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating George Koulouris, a registered representative with KCD Financial. Koulouris is accused of recommending unsuitable investments, engaging in outside business activities, acting negligently, breaching fiduciary duty, and negligently misrepresenting material facts, among other things. These are all against securities rules and regulations. According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Koulouris was registered with John Hancock Distributors, Nathan, Lewis & Grant, Chase Lincoln First Brokerage Services, Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, Janney Montgomery Scott, Essex Capital Markets, McDonald Investments, Pinnacle Investments and Ridgeway & Conger. He is currently registered with KCD Financial in Manlius, New York and has been since 2014. He has seven customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. Please call our law offices in Chicago today to speak to an attorney for free if you feel you may have a case against Koulouris. We may be able to sue KCD Financial on your behalf in the FINRA arbitration forum. The call to us is free with no obligation. 312-332-4200.

According to recent documents, the Oklahoma Securities Commission is seeking to revoke William B. Mulder’s license because of allegations that he misrepresented a variable annuity sold to customers and that he embezzled funds. Mulder was the subject of customer complaints while he worked at Merrill Lynch and has since been fired from the firm. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred him from the securities industry in 2014. Mulder was registered with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York, New York from April 1986 until August 1997, MetLife Securities in Springfield, Massachusetts from April 1986 until August 1997 and Merrill Lynch in Tulsa, Oklahoma from September 1997 until May 2012. He has five customer disputes against him. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your options of suing William Mulder, please contact our law offices in Chicago at 312-332-4200.

The attorneys at Stoltmann Law Offices are investigating Clark Gardner, a former broker at Cetera Advisors. Gardner was recently permanently barred from the industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Gardner was accused of taking a $243,000 check from a customer and depositing it directly into his personal bank account. The money was supposed to go into an investment opportunity. Gardner then used the funds for his own personal use. FINRA also alleged that he worked as an agent for a real estate investment company without his firm’s knowledge or consent, which is against securities rules and regulations. Gardner allegedly facilitated a customer’s $150,000 real estate property investment through the company, and for this, received $20,000 in commission for his facilitation of the transaction. Gardner entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA on September 4, 2014.

According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Gardner was registered with Walnut Street Securities in El Segundo, California from June 1997 until February 2002, Sammons Securities Company in Orem, Utah from February 2002 until December 2013 and Cetera Advisors in Orem from December 2013 until May 2014. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry and FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have both permanently barred him from acting as a broker and investment adviser, or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities or provide investment advice to the public. If you or someone you know invested money with Clark Gardner, you may be able to sue his former firm, Cetera Advisors, in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis. Please call our law offices today at 312-332-4200. Your call with one of our attorneys is free and with no obligation.

Stoltmann Law Offices is still interested in speaking to those investors who may have invested money with Malcolm Segal, a former branch manager of Aegis Capital Corp in Langhorn, Pennsylvania. Last week, Segal was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for fraudulently selling certificates of deposit. He pled guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud in February and was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and ordered to pay his victims $3 million in restitution. The SEC also had filed a civil complaint for fraud against him and barred him from the financial industry. His scheme ended in 2014. Segal falsely claimed that his certificates of deposit could provide higher interest rates on FDIC-insured CDs than otherwise available to the general public. In some instances, Segal purchased those CDs on behalf of investors, but took the money for himself. He then told the customers he had purchased the CDs for them and misappropriated their money. Eventually, Segal also stole directly from customer brokerage accounts in an effort to keep funding the ponzi payments and to keep his scheme from being detected.

At a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) conference, regulators discussed how variable annuities, complex products that are often marketed to seniors, are still at issue. Russ Ryan, FINRA senior vice president and deputy chief of enforcement stated in yesterday’s InvestmentNews: “Variable annuities are just very frequently involved in our cases.” On Monday, James Day, FINRA vice president and enforcement chief counsel, told an IRI audience that variable annuities exist at a nexus that FINRA targets. He stated “They are at the sweet spot of complex products marketed to retirees and people about to retire.” Recently, FINRA hit MetLife with a record $25 million penalty for misleading variable annuity sales. The regulator found that MetLife financial advisers made misrepresentations and omissions of fact in 72% of 35,500 applications the firm approved between 2009 and 2014 to replace clients’ existing variable annuities with new ones. The new products were touted as less expensive and more beneficial, when clients would have been better off keeping their existing investments. Most of the issues centered on training and supervision of the advisers involved in the sales. IRI audiences are encouraged to “be more vigilant,” and a little more skeptical in reviewing these transactions.

Another area where FINRA will be cracking down is on L-share variable annuities, products that offer increased liquidity and a shorter surrender-penalty period of about three years instead of seven. Some sort of heightened procedures may be required for those who have a fairly high percentage of L-shares with long-term riders. This may have a major financial impact on anybody who sells a lot of variable annuities and, particularly, a lot of L-shares.

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