Articles Tagged with Cetera Advisors

AdobeStock_198259345-300x200Our firm is investigating allegations made against Stephen C. Carver, who was a registered representative for Cetera Advisors in Peoria, Illinois. According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, an investor sued Cetera and Mr. Carver in FINRA Arbitration for upwards of $3 million. The complaint makes allegations of elder abuse, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of both Illinois and Federal statutory and consumer protection statutes. The claim was filed in October 2018 and involves direct-participation programs, limited partnerships or also known as Private Placements.

Mr. Carver has several disclosures on his BrokerCheck Report in addition to this recent complaint. He was terminated by LPL Financial in 2009 for failing to disclose his involvement in an outside business, which is major red flag to brokerage compliance departments. He also discloses several tax liens on his record. He was then terminated by Cetera for failing to disclose a gift he received from a client, who he stated was his uncle.

Mr. Carver was also named in a Regulatory Complaint filed by FINRA for failing to disclose tax liens on his Form U-4.  FINRA’s By-Laws, specifically Article V, Section 2(c) require all financial advisors update their U-4 with information required to be disclosed within thirty days of learning of the event requiring the disclosure.  Tax liens are specifically disclosable events that financial advisors like Mr. Carver are obligated to report within thirty days or they are violating FINRA By-Laws along with FINRA Rule 1122 and FINRA Rule 2010.

AdobeStock_41845221-300x212Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating former Cetera Advisors broker Craig Blattner, who was recently fined and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Blattner was fined $5,000 and suspended from the industry for 15 business days. FINRA found that the value of a joint account of two clients served by Blattner allegedly declined by $75,000. One of his clients complained to him via email about his management of their account and the losses they suffered. Blattner did not disclose the client’s complaint to the firm, and it was never reported on his Form U4. Instead, Blattner wrote the client a $15,000 check from his personal checking account, which is against securities laws.
Previously, Craig Blattner was registered with The Stuart-James Company, National Securities Corp, First Montauk Securities Corp, Gunnallen Financial, Investors Captial Corp in Longwood, Florida from May 2006 until October 2016, and Cetera Advisors in Longwood, from September 2016 until February 2018. He has three customer disputes against him, and one regulatory matter. He is not currently registered as a broker within the industry, according to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report.

According to a recent InvestmentNews article, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), ordered five Cetera Financial Group broker-dealers to pay $3.3 million for failing to supervise the application of mutual fund sales charge waivers to eligible clients in retirement plans and at charitable organizations. The five firms are Cetera Investment Services, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Summit Brokerage Services and Girard Securities Inc. The firms allegedly overcharged client from July 2009 until July 2017. In May, FINRA reached a settlement with Cetera Advisor Networks for overcharging retirement plan and charitable organization clients to $1.7 million since 2009. According to FINRA, the Cetera firms “failed to reasonably supervise the application of sales charge waivers to eligible mutual fund sales. The firm relied on its financial advisers to determine the applicability of sale charge waivers, but failed to maintain adequate written policies or procedures to assist financial advisers in making this determination.” Cetera Investment Services will pay $1.4 million in restitution to clients, while Cetera Financial Specialists will pay $572,000. First Allied and Summit Brokerage Services will pay $877,000 and $357,000, respectively. Girard Securities will pay $103,000. Please call our Chicago-based law firm today to find out how you may be able to recover your losses with Cetera on a contingency fee basis.

 

AdobeStock_17723177-1-300x175George C. Merhoff, a Cetera Advisors broker in Klamath Falls, Oregon, allegedly recommended numerous oil and gas and energy investments which were high-risk and illiquid. These included Linn Energy, Pengrowth Energy, and Amerigas Partners. Merhoff also allegedly recommended illiquid alternative investments including Cypress Income Funds and ICON 12, when he was registered with Pacific West Securities. Merhoff also allegedly made a number of unsuitable investment recommendations to a client, and he and Cetera had previously been the subject of of a regulatory action by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation, which alleged that Merhoff inappropriately concentrated his clients’ investments in oil and energy stocks. Oil and gas and energy investments tend to be risky and illiquid ones, that are not suitable for all investors, since the price of oil and significantly declined. A broker must take into account a customer’s age, net worth, investment objectives and risk, as well as sophistication. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be responsible for losses on a contingency fee basis.
According to public record, Merhoff was registered with AAG Securities in Cincinnati, Ohio from September 1997 until March 1998, and Pacific West Securities in Klamath Falls, Oregon from June 1998 until February 2012. He is currently registered with Cetera Advisors in Klamath Falls and Monroe, Oregon, and has been since February 2012. He has two criminal final dispositions against him and has 14 customer disputes against him, 10 of which are currently pending. Please call our Chicago and Barrington, Illinois-based securities law firm at 312-332-4200 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only.

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Christopher R. Hickman was terminated from Cetera Advisors for “frequent short-term fixed-income securities trading in customer accounts under firm review.” Allegedly, between May 2011 and April 2014, Hickman engaged in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of UITs or unit investment trusts in six customer accounts. For this, he was fined $5,000 and suspended from the industry for five months. According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Mr. Hickman was previously registered with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, Missouri from March 2001 until July 2005, Raymond James in Boynton Beach, Florida from June 2005 until March 2006, Banc of America Investment Services in Boca Raton, Florida from March 2006 until August 2009 and Cetera Advisors in Delray Beach, Florida from September 2009 until July 2015. He has seven customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He is currently not registered within the industry. If you or someone you know suffered losses with Hickman, you may be able to sue Cetera Advisors. Cetera has an ironclad obligation to reasonably supervise Mr. Hickman, and, if it does not, can be held liable for losses. Please call our Chicago-based law firm today at 312-332-4200 to find out how you may be able to recover your losses on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid if you recover money.

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Kevin Paul Hudak violated securities laws. Hudak allegedly used non-authentic signatures on at least 25 forms required by his firm. He also allegedly provided false and misleading testimony regarding the forms. These are both against securities rules and regulations. Hudak had the customers sign blank forms, which he then photocopied and reused for future low-priced securities transactions. For this, he was barred from the securities industry.

Hudak was registered with PFS Investments in Duluth, Georgia from November 2001 until September 2005, Cetera Advisor Networks in Albuquerque, New Mexico from February 2006 until June 2014 and Foothill Securities in Albuquerque from June 2014 until October 2015. He is not licensed and has been permanently barred from the industry, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report.

Please call our law offices today if you suffered losses with Mr. Hudak. We may be able to recover those losses for you in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis. The call to us is free with no obligation. 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 investigating Cetera Advisors in connection with their sales of non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business development companies (BDCs). The scope of our investigation includes whether Cetera Advisors made suitable recommendations related to non-traded REITs and BDCs, whether adequate disclosures were made of the fees, costs and risks of these investments and whether the high commissions paid to Cetera Advisors resulted in conflicts of interest. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is investigating Cetera, and this comes after new regulations related to valuation disclosure requirements go into effect April 11 of this year. Those regulations will require firms to be more transparent through greater disclosure concerning non-traded REITs and BDCs on account statements, specifically. BDCs and non-traded REITs tend to be extremely speculative and risky investments and are not suitable for all investors. A broker must take into account an investor’s age, net worth, portfolio and investment objectives before recommending a security. If he does not, his investment firm can be held liable for losses because the firm did not supervise him properly. The REITs and BDC investments Cetera allegedly sold include:

America Realty Capital Properties (Vereit);

Cole Capital REITs;

Do you have complaints against Gerald “Jerry” Tagge, a broker registered with Cetera Advisors out of Omaha, Nebraska? Tagge allegedly sold $125,000 in promissory notes, which constitutes as “selling away,” and is against securities rules and regulations. Selling away is a tactic used by brokers to generate large commissions and fees for themselves, and they do this by offering investments that are not sold or offered by their member firm. Firms such as Cetera Advisors can be sued for failing to supervise their brokers and allowing them to sell away. We sue firms such as Cetera in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration process on a contingency fee basis to help clients recover their losses. The call to us is free. 312-332-4200. Please call us for a consultation to see if you may be able to bring a claim against Cetera Advisors.

Tagge was registered with NYLife Securities in New York, New York from August 1991 until December 1993, The O.N. Equity Sales Company in Cincinnati, Ohio from January 1994 until May 1995, Royal Alliance Associates in New York from May 1995 until January 1998, Vestax Securities Corp in Hudson, Ohio from January 1998 until June 2001, and Royal Alliance Associates in Omaha, Nebraska from June 2001 until August 2006. He is currently associated with Cetera Advisors in Omaha, Nebraska and has been since August 2006. He has three customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending.

Do you have complaints against Gerald “Jerry” Tagge, a broker registered with Cetera Advisors out of Omaha, Nebraska? Tagge allegedly sold $125,000 in promissory notes, which constitutes as “selling away,” and is against securities rules and regulations. Selling away is a tactic used by brokers to generate large commissions and fees for themselves, and they do this by offering investments that are not sold or offered by their member firm. Firms such as Cetera Advisors can be sued for failing to supervise their brokers and allowing them to sell away. We sue firms such as Cetera in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration process on a contingency fee basis to help clients recover their losses. The call to us is free. 312-332-4200. Please call us for a consultation to see if you may be able to bring a claim against Cetera Advisors.

Tagge was registered with NYLife Securities in New York, New York from August 1991 until December 1993, The O.N. Equity Sales Company in Cincinnati, Ohio from January 1994 until May 1995, Royal Alliance Associates in New York from May 1995 until January 1998, Vestax Securities Corp in Hudson, Ohio from January 1998 until June 2001, and Royal Alliance Associates in Omaha, Nebraska from June 2001 until August 2006. He is currently associated with Cetera Advisors in Omaha, Nebraska and has been since August 2006. He has three customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending.

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