Articles Tagged with Edward Jones

Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago-based securities and investment fraud law firm with offices throughout the Chicago-land area, is investigating claims made by the United States against Ronald T. Molo.  It is important to realize the allegations made by the US Attorney are unproven and Mr. Molo is entitled to a presumption of innocence until provide guilty.  Molo has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud, which means money was transmitted electronically for fraudulent purposes, simply put.  According to the indictment, Mr. Molo was a Financial Advisor for a “national financial services firm,” working from an office in Joliet.

According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Mr. Molo was a licensed financial advisor with Edward Jones & Company from May 2001 to June 2021 when he was terminated for cause. According to Edward Jones, Mr. Molo was terminated because customer funds were transferred to outside accounts in his control after soliciting some purported investment opportunity.  The BrokeCheck Report also shows that Edward Jones has already paid out $875,000 to victims of this alleged fraud to settle claims.  The allegations in the indictment support the contentions made by Edward Jones when it terminated Mr. Molo.  According to the Indictment, Molo, who the grand jury found had fiduciary duties to his clients, falsely advised multiple clients that he had a good investment opportunity for them. The investment allegedly was some sort of tax-exempt, interest-bearing bonds.  He advised these clients that the investment opportunity would pay regular, periodic interest at 5%, that the interest would be tax-exempt, like a municipal bond, and was being offered through reputably investment houses like Lord Abbett, Spire Investment Partners, and Ivory Stone Investment Partners.  None of this was true, alleges the Indictment, and Molo knew his representations were untrue and made with intent to defraud. Molo had his clients, it has been alleged, execute authorizations to transfer funds from their Edward Jones accounts to an outside account, which unbeknownst to the victims, was an account Molo controlled personally.

This case is another example of a Ponzi scheme that lacks one of the most well-known hallmarks of one – the “it sounds too good to be true” concept.  Molo’s alleged scam offered 5% interest per year, not 50% or some other unrealistic on  its face return.  Many Ponzi schemes involve alleged investments that offer outlandish or unrealistic returns.  Bernie Madoff changed this perception and is one of the many reasons why his scheme lasted so long and did so much damage.  Bernie Madoff never provided outlandish returns to his clients, only stable, consistent returns for years.  Brokerage firms like Edward Jones have legal duties and responsibilities to supervise the conduct of their licensed representatives. The securities industry is heavily regulated at both the state and federal level, and many of these regulations have to do with supervision and compliance. Money being sent out of a client account to an unaffiliated 3rd party account is a huge red flag and implicates anti-money laundering rules and regulations, which are very serious issues for brokerage firms like Edward Jones.

AdobeStock_194438920-300x200Former LPL broker Sanders Spangler was barred from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). LPL terminated him for executing unauthorized trades in non-discretionary customer accounts in February 2017. In March 2018, FINRA barred him due to his failure to appear for an on-the-record testimony. Failure to appear for this results in an automatic bar from the industry. In March 2018, Spangler’s ex-wife alleged that he was forging her account documents. This dispute is currently pending. In October 2017, according to Spangler’s FINRA BrokerCheck report within the industry, available online, a customer alleged that he was over-concentrating the customer’s investments in risky energy stocks. He also alleged that Spangler liquidated his account without permission from the customer. This dispute is also currently pending. In June 2017, a customer alleged that Sanders Spangler instigated unsuitable, unauthorized trades in a non-discretionary customer account without the customer’s knowledge or permission. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules.
Advisors must have the full consent and written approval of the customer before placing any trades. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells a security without the proper written consent needed from the investor. An advisor must also take into account a customer’s age, net worth, investment objectives and investment risk tolerance, among other things when recommending and selling an investment. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses. Energy investments, such as the ones Spangler sold to at least one customer, tend to be highly illiquid, unsuitable investments. If investors lose money because of a broker’s recommendation or sale, the brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum, because the firm has a duty to reasonably supervise its employees while they are registered there.
Sanders Spangler, according to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, was previously registered with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri from July 2000 until October 2005 and LPL in San Antonio, Texas from October 2005 until March 2017. He has six customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. They allege suspected forgery, over-concentration in energy stocks, account liquidation without client knowledge, unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, poor performance, and discretion. He has one regulatory matter against him. He has been permanently barred from the securities industry.

AdobeStock_112465076-1-300x164Certain 401k plan participants with Edward Jones have challenged the firm’s recommendations. The participants filed a lawsuit against the firm, claiming that the retirement classes of mutual funds should have been replaced with lower-cost classes that were less risky. It was also alleged that Edward Jones breached its fiduciary duty by neglecting to negotiate a lower-cost fee arrangement with Mercer HR Services for its administrative costs. Edward Jones then filed a lawsuit to dismiss, and claimed that the plan participants failed to properly state a claim, and failed to show that the fiduciary’s decision was based on making a profit, rather than a legitimate claim. District Judge Ross stated that the plan participants included plenty of details to claim the company used risky and costly funds in the plan, and so denied Edward Jones’ Motion to Dismiss in the pending lawsuit. The judge also claimed that the firm failed to prudently monitor and control compensation to Mercer when its fees tripled.

Recently, an arbitration claim was filed in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Steven Knuttila. The claim was filed by two retirees, alleges that Knuttila overconcentrated client accounts in unsuitable and illiquid investments. These products were high-risk, nontraded securities. These typically guarantee brokerage firms and the brokers who recommend them, larger commissions, while harming investors who are not aware that they cannot easily liquidate these securities. A broker must take into account a client’s net worth, age, investment objectives and sophistication before recommending or selling a security. If he does not, his investment firm may be responsible for losses on a contingency fee basis. We are securities attorneys who sue firms in the FINRA arbitration forum. Please call 312-332-4200 today to find out how to sue Knuttila’s firm, Capital Financial Services for losses.
According to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Knuttila was registered with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri from May 1998 until May 2002, Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida from May 2002 until October 2005, Usallianz Securities in Perham, Minnesota from October 2005 until December 2016 and Questar Capital Corp in Perham from December 2006 until June 2012. He is currently registered with Capital Financial Services in Perham and Long Prairie, Minnesota since June 2012. He has 20 customer disputes against him, three of which are currently pending.

AdobeStock_78306447-1-300x199According to a Disciplinary Proceeding with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Brant Ray improperly borrowed $50,000 from a customer in March 2014. He then falsely certified in an annual compliance questionnaire that he was in compliance with his firm’s prohibition against borrowing from customers. He then provided false information about the customer loan in response to questions raised by FINRA staff. This is against securities rules and regulations. Mr. Ray was previously registered with Edward Jones in Southaven, Mississippi from March 2004 until February 2010, Wells Fargo Advisors in Germantown, Tennessee from February 2010 until May 2013, Commonwealth Financial Network in Southaven from May 2013 until April 2014 and Cetera Advisors in Southaven from April 2014 until December 2016. He is currently not registered within the industry, according to his FINRA BrokerCheck report. Please call 312-332-4200 today if you suffered losses with Mr. Ray. We may be able to help you file an arbitration claim against his former firm, Cetera Advisors, in the FINRA forum on a contingency fee basis. The call is free with no obligation.

AdobeStock_99700100-2-300x200Did you lose money with Jarred Lawson, a former Merrill Lynch broker in Jacksonville, Florida? If so, the attorneys at Stoltmann Law Offices are interested in speaking with you about your losses. Mr. Lawson was fined $10,000 and suspended for one year by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he allegedly made negligent misrepresentations regarding fees associated with a managed account. He also allegedly made misstatements saying that he had discussed all share classes and the fees associated with them, when he had not. These are against securities rules and regulations. According to his FINRA online BrokerCheck report, Mr. Lawson was registered with Edward Jones in Jacksonville, Florida from August 2012 until November 2012 and Merrill Lynch in Jacksonville from November 2012 until February 2016. He has a criminal final disposition against him. He is suspended from the industry and currently not registered. If you or someone you know suffered losses with Mr. Lawson, please call our securities law firm today to find out how you may be able to sue Merrill Lynch for not properly supervising him. The call is free with no obligation.

Did you lose money because of your Edward Jones broker? If so, the attorneys of Stoltmann Law Offices are interested in speaking with you about your losses. Recently, Edward Jones lost a claim for a restraining order against a former broker, D. John Dupuis Jr. Edward Jones accused Mr. Dupuis of breaching client privacy by soliciting them from Wells Fargo’s Florence, Alabama branch. A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel dismissed all of the company’s claims earlier this month. Edward Jones was seeking a petition for a permanent injunction against him, plus punitive damages, but Dupuis and his legal team won the argument that Edward Jones could not block him from making calls to clients or mailing tombstone announcements about the fact that he was switching firms. Edward Jones accused Dupuis of sharing trade secrets, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment and other misconduct. Edward Jones also alleged that Wells Fargo aided and abetted his breach of fiduciary duty. In Alabama, however, the non-solicitation covenant in Dupuis’ contract is unenforceable in the state due to the laws against restraining the exercise of a profession. If you suffered losses with Edward Jones, please call our law offices today at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about how you may be able to reclaim your investment losses on a contingency fee basis.

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According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Jetmir Ahmeti was accused of opening 14 new accounts without the knowledge or authorization of the account owners. This occurred between March 16, 2015 and April 8, 2015 and is against securities laws. Ahmeti was registered with Edward Jones at the time of the transgressions and the firm may be responsible for any losses you may have suffered because it had a duty to reasonably supervise Mr. Ahmeti while he was registered there. Please call 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about your losses. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only so we only get paid if you recover. Jetmir Ahmeti was previously registered with AXA Advisors in Plano, Texas from September 2008 until January 2009 and Edward Jones in Dallas, Texas from September 2009 until May 2015. He has one criminal disposition against him and is currently not registered within the industry.

AdobeStock_49363801-1-300x200According to a recent InvestmentNews article, Adrienne M. Mennemeyer, a former broker, won $1.5 million in punitive damages and $300,000 in compensatory damages after she was terminated from PNC in December 2013. Ms. Mennemeyer was “terminated for dishonesty and a violation of PNC Bank policy,” after she closed a pending checking account application and resubmitted it to “avoid further internal risk review of the application.” Ms. Mennemeyer claimed that she did not act dishonestly. A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel said that “PNC Investments failed to produce any evidence whatsoever that Adrienne M. Mennemeyer had violated any PNC Investments policy. Her discharge was pre-textual, arbitrary and unreasonable. She, at all times, acted in a manner public policy would encourage.” The FINRA panel determined that the allegations against her had nothing to do with the securities business.

Ms. Mennemeyer was registered with Edward Jones in St. Peters, Missouri from December 2009 until January 2012, PNC Investments in Wentzville, Missouri from January 2012 until December 2013 and SagePoint Financial in Phoenix, Arizona from October 2015 until November 2015. She is currently not registered within the industry. Please call our Chicago-based law firm today if you suffered losses with Ms. Mennemeyer. We may be able to help you bring a claim against PNC for not reasonably supervising her while she was employed there. The call is free with no obligation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only. 312-332-4200.

AdobeStock_762441-1-300x225Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Michael Mason, a former representative with Edward Jones in Millington, Tennessee (38053). He was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he failed to respond to an investigation regarding him falsifying client information to open new accounts with Edward Jones. Brokerage firms have an ironclad obligation to oversee their advisors in order to make sure that they don’t break securities rules. If they do, the brokerage firm can be liable for losses. Please call our securities law firm based in Chicago, Illinois if you suffered losses with Mr. Mason. The call is free with no obligation. 312-332-4200.

Michael John-Paul Mason was registered with Northwestern Mutual Investment Services in Memphis, Tennessee from February 2009 until November 2009 and Edward Jones in Millington, Tennessee from November 2009 until January 2015. He is currently not registered within the industry according to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report.

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