According to records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Oppenheimer broker Leslie Flaum has allegedly violated securities laws. He was accused of making unsuitable investment recommendations, churning accounts, breaching fiduciary duty, failing in supervisory duties from December 2010 through December 2016 in connection to investments in listed equities and closed-end funds, and other violations. These are all against securities laws. Churning, also referred to as excessive trading, is a particularly egregious violation, because it typically results in unnecessary fees for the client. It also typically results in large commissions for the broker. Leslie Brian Flaum was previously registered with David Lerner, Christopher Weil & Company, Integrated Resources Equity Corp, HYM Financial, Reich & Company, and Oppenheimer & Co. in Melville, New York from August 1994 until August 2017. He has two customer disputes pending against him and is not currently registered as a broker within the industry, according to FINRA records.
According to his recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Todd Kimm, a former broker with Merrill Lynch, allegedly engaged in unsuitable short-term trading in a customer’s account with respect to closed-end funds and mutual funds. He also allegedly recommended over 100 unsuitable short-term trades of long-term investment products and eight unsuitable mutual fund switches in the same customer account. During the time period of July 2010 through July 2013, Kimm allegedly exercised discretion without written authorization in the same customer account. These are all against securities laws. For this misconduct, FINRA fined him $5,000 and suspended him from the industry for six months.
According to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Mr. Kimm was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in Syracuse, New York from November 1996 until September 2014 and Commonwealth Financial Network in Syracuse from September 2014 until December 2017. He has two customer disputes against him that allege unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized trading, unsuitable variable annuity recommendations and sales and excessive trading. He is not currently registered as a broker. Excessive trading is also referred to as “churning,” and is when a broker trades in and out of securities daily, sometimes the same security. It is a particularly egregious misconduct because it typically results in large commissions for the broker, but unnecessary fees for the client. Merrill Lynch can be held liable in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis if it does not reasonably supervise its brokers like Todd Kimm.
Did you or someone you know lose money with Ellen Vratoric, a former registered broker with Huntington Investment Company? If so, the attorneys at Stoltmann Law Offices are interested in hearing from you. Ms. Vratoric has failed to respond to an investigation against her by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She was terminated from Huntington in March 2016 after allegations surfaced that she had an increase in customer complaints, that she had signed but undated variable annuity forms, and that the document had been whited-out and re-used. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules and regulations. A brokerage firm such as Huntington has a duty to reasonably supervise its registered brokers, and, if it does not, can be held liable for investment losses. This can be done in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis.
According to her online, public record with FINRA, Ms. Vratoric was previously registered with Spectrum Securities Corp in Mayfield Heights, Ohio from October 1993 until April 1997, Independent Financial Securities from May 1997 until August 1998, Liberty Securities Corp in Purchase, New York from August 1998 until January 1999, Natcity Insurance Services in Cleveland, Ohio from January 1999 until December 2001, LPL Financial in Monroeville, Pennsylvania from April 2007 until March 2008 and The Huntington Investment Company in Glassport, Pennsylvania from March 2008 until March 2016. She has one customer dispute against her alleging that she transferred $43,000 into a variable annuity without the client’s permission, did not disclose that it could lose value, did not inform the client about the need to take a required minimum distribution from the annuity, and did not disclose that selling back CDs before maturity would result in penalties. She is not currently registered as a broker.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Boca Raton, Florida-based Dawson James Securities broker Peter Ruggiere has received resolved or pending customer disputes. Mr. Ruggiere allegedly misrepresented material facts related to investments in preferred stock products, recommended unsuitable investments and used margin against the customer’s interest, made unsuitable investment recommendations, executed unauthorized trades, and churned investments. This is sometimes referred to as excessive trading, and is a particularly egregious form of broker misconduct, where the broker trades in and out of stocks in order to generate large commissions for himself. It typically results in unnecessary fees for the client, and is against securities laws and internal firm rules and regulations.
All of the above mentioned are against securities laws and firms like Dawson James can be held liable for losses suffered with their brokers on a contingency fee basis in the arbitration forum.
According to FINRA BrokerCheck records available online, Peter Ruggiere was previously registered with Josephthal Lyon & Ross Inc. in New York, New York from June 1992 until June 1994, Joseph Charles & Associates in Boca Raton, Florida from June 1994 until November 2000, Newbridge Securities Corp in Boca Raton from November 2000 until July 2007 and Capital Growth Financial in Boca Raton from July 2007 until February 2008. He is currently registered with Dawson James Securities in Boca Raton, and has been since February 2008. He has four customer disputes against him, three of which are currently pending and one criminal final disposition.
According to public, online records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), John Schneider was accused of making unsuitable recommendations, over-concentrating accounts and failing to supervise, among other things. In June 2017, a customer claimed that after receiving a 50% return of principal on a real estate private placement investment the investment became worthless. Another customer alleged unauthorized trading, inadequate supervision, and unsuitable investments that took place from June 2010 through May 2016 causing $100,000 in damages. This was in July 2016. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules. A broker has a responsibility to treat investors fairly, which included obligations such as doing his due diligence on every security, and only making recommendations and sales that are suitable for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation, a broker must meet certain requirements based on his assessment of the client’s age, net worth, investment objectives and investment risk tolerance. If he does not do so, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum.
John Martin Schneider was previously registered with Walnut Street Securities in El Segundo, California from August 1993 until September 1997, Bill Few Securities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from September 1997 until February 2008 and PWA Securities in Pittsburgh from January 2008 until September 2017. He has five customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He is not currently registered as a broker, according to his online, BrokerCheck report with FINRA.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating former First Allied Securities broker Sean Brady. Brady was terminated from First Allied in connection to alleged rule violations. According to his online, public Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records, Mr. Brady signed a customer’s name on documents, misled her, and placed her in unsuitable investments. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules. In October 2017, he was terminated from First Allied Securities following allegations he violated firm policies regarding the falsification of signatures on documents, text messaging and consolidated account reports. Sean Aaron Brady was previously registered with FFP Securities in St. Louis, Missouri from March 2001 until May 2008 and First Allied Securities in St. Louis from May 2008 until November 2017. He has one customer dispute against him, which is currently pending. He is not currently registered as a broker within the industry.
Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who may have invested money with Cheryle Anne Brady, a former broker with Ameriprise Financial in Hingham, Massachusetts. Ms. Brady was assessed a deferred fine of $7,500 and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly falsely stating to her member firm that she had contacted clients prior to trades being placed. She allegedly placed trades in her clients’ accounts without first obtaining the clients’ approvals. Allegedly, a member of her sales supervision team sent her an email containing a list of the trades and inquired if Brady had spoken with each client on that day. Brady responded that she had spoken to each of the clients, and, after each call, had instructed her sales assistant to place the trades. Later, she admitted she did not speak to the clients before the trades were placed. This is against securities laws and internal firm rules.
According to her online BrokerCheck report with FINRA, Ms. Brady was previously registered with Pioneer Funds Distributor in Boston, Massachusetts from January 1993 until May 1993, Linsco/Private Ledger in Boston from June 1993 until March 1994, A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, Missouri from January 1995 until May 1997, UBS Painewebber in Weehawken, New Jersey from June 1997 until March 2002, RBC Capital Markets in Norwell, Massachusetts from March 2002 until February 2012 and Ameriprise Financial Services in Hingham, Massachusetts from January 2012 until October 2016. She has three customer disputes against her. She is not currently registered as a broker and has been suspended from the industry.
According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Todd Jones, a former broker with J.P. Morgan was accused of exercising discretion without written authority in the accounts of 12 firm customers and mismarked most of the trades as unsolicited. This is against securities laws and firm rules. Mr. Jones was fined $15,000 and suspended from the industry for four months. According to FINRA, Jones was previously registered with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Seattle, Washington from June 2011 until December 2014, Merrill Lynch in Seattle from December 2013 until November 2014 and J.P. Morgan Securities in Seattle from December 2014 until October 2015. He has been suspended and is not currently registered within the industry.
Accelerated Capital Group had an issue come out in the news this week. According to a recent Reuters article, Accerlerated Capital Group headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, was named one of the top firms in the country with brokers who had received “hits” on their CRD reports. These hits may include, but are not limited to, customer disputes or complaints against the broker, judgments and/or liens against him, and bankruptcy filings. This is bad from a supervisory standpoint, because brokerage firms are expected to keep an eye on every broker, especially those who have hits on their reports. A broker who has hits on his CRD is more likely to continue to violate securities laws. If you were a client of Accelerated Capital Group, and you lost money with the firm, you may be able to recover those losses on a contingency fee basis by calling us at 312-332-4200 and speaking to an attorney for free. We only recover money if you recover yours. We are securities attorneys based in Chicago and Barrington, Illinois and there is no obligation.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Richard Cody, a former broker with Westminster Financial Securities. Cody has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of masterminding a scheme in order to defraud investors. At least three clients were allegedly told by Cody that their accounts were doing well, when, in fact, their accounts had balances that were nearly zero dollars. Clients were also lied to about their depleting retirement accounts through monthly deductions that were unsustainable. In 2013, Cody was suspended from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from January of that year until January of 2014 for allegedly sending clients inflated account statements while he was registered at Westminster and at Concorde Investment Services. While he was suspended, he allowed his wife Jill to manage the accounts. Jill was also registered with Westminster and Concorde and this also violates securities laws. Richard Cody was also accused of selling away and forgery. Selling away is when a broker sells notes or other investments that are not held or offered by his firm. He does this in order to generate large commission for himself, which he does not have to share with his brokerage firm. His firm may be liable for investment losses if they allow the broker to sell away from the firm.
Richard Grant Cody was previously registered with Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Leerink Swann & Company, Gunnallen Financial, Westminster Financial Securities in Providence, Rhode Island from March 2010 until March 2013, Concorde Investment Services in Spring Lake, New Jersey from March 2014 until August 2016 and IFS Securities in Spring Lake from August 2016 until September 2016. He has 17 customer disputes against him, 14 of which are currently pending. He is not currently registered within the industry, according to public records online. If you suffered losses with Mr. Cody and would like a free consultation with one of our Chicago-based securities attorneys, please call our firm at 312-332-4200 today. There is no obligation and attorneys are standing by. We may be able to help you bring a claim against Westminster or Concorde Investment Services on a contingency fee basis to help you recover your losses.