According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Matthew Kerby, a former registered representative with Edward Jones, violated securities laws. FINRA was investigating Kerby regarding allegations that he converted his elderly customer’s funds. Kerby also refused to give documents to FINRA concerning the allegations, so he was barred from the industry. Mr. Kerby was previously registered with Edward Jones in Paoli, Indiana from August 2007 until November 2017. He is not currently registered as a broker, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report.
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.
Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who may have invested financially with Christopher Hermann, who was most recently registered as a broker with Key Investment Services in Greenwood, Indiana. Hermann was alleged by customers and former customers to have engaged in misrepresentation in the switching of $50,000 from Victory Diversified Stock Fund Class A to Putnam Capital Spectrum Fund Class A. He was also terminated from his position at Key after the firm received a complaint saying that he “identified transactions that were processed outside of the firm’s switch disclosure policy.” He also “recommended the sale of two fixed annuity contracts instead of a 1035 exchange in facilitating the purchase of a $450,000 variable annuity contract.” Hermann was also accused of misrepresenting the risk of an investment in RIBCX, misrepresenting material facts and recommending unsuitable mutual fund investments. He also allegedly breached fiduciary duty and recommended an unsuitable mutual fund. Please call our securities law office in Chicago to speak to an attorney about your options if you invested money with Christopher Hermann. We may be able to sue his former firm, Key Investment Services, in the FINRA arbitration forum for not properly supervising him while he was employed there.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Ronald W. Nichter, a former investment advisor from Pendleton, Indiana, who was sentenced to one year in federal prison for his role in a scheme that defrauded investors out of $160,000. He was convicted on eight counts of mail fraud. Nichter allegedly withdrew client funds from their accounts for his personal use. Beginning in October 2009, Nichter allegedly created false documents with forged client signatures requesting that the funds be withdrawn from their investment accounts. The checks were then sent to Nichter and he deposited them into his own bank account.
According to his online Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, he was registered with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri from December 1998 until November 2004, A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis from November 2004 until February 2006 and Cantella & Co. in Pendleton, Indiana from February 2006 until April 2013. He is not currently registered with any member firm and he has two customer disputes against him. He is not licensed within the industry and FINRA has permanently barred him from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against the brokerage firm for allegedly failing to adequately supervise the sales of a hedge fund that were offered as a sub-account for a private placement variable annuity. The hedge fund engaged in complex options trading, which was risky for customers. The investments of at least 25 customers totaled over $11.7 million. The hedge fund was offered between October 2008 and April 2009. Investors lost millions in the particular hedge fund. Lincoln Financial failed to provide adequate training to their representatives who sold the fund, and failed to supervise customer-specific suitability determinations in connection with the sale of the hedge fund. Lincoln Financial was fined $150,000.
If you invested money with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, please contact our securities law offices in Chicago at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. You may be able to bring a claim against Lincoln Financial Advisors for failing to provide adequate training to their registered representatives. They could be liable for financial losses in this way. The call is free with no obligation. Please call as soon as possible because there is a statute of limitations on most cases.
Adrian S. Lauer, a former Securities America broker entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Lauer was accused of failing to disclose outside business activities to his member firm. Allegedly, from April 2011 until March 2014, he participated in an advisory business and worked as a webmaster for a college alumni club, at the same time being employed with Securities America. According to his AWC, Mr. Lauer failed to disclose his participation in these businesses. For this, he was suspended for 60 days and fined $5,000.
Mr. Lauer was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, America Express Financial Advisors in Minneapolis, The O.N. Equity Sales Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Cambridge Investment Research Inc. in Fort Wayne and Securities America in Fort Wayne. He is not currently registered with any firm. If you invested money with Adrian S. Lauer, please call our securities law firm based in Chicago at 312-332-4200. We can help you discuss your options of suing Securities America for not reasonably supervising Mr. Lauer while he was employed there. The call is free.