Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. is an independent producer of high-quality, specialty hydrocarbon products based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The collapse of the share price has exposed fraudulent sales practices used by brokers across many brokerage firms to jam clients into grossly unsuitable concentrations. Calumet was not the conservative income investment clients were represented. In fact, it was a high risk, speculative oil and gas play. For burned clients, the FINRA arbitration claims process can be used to potentially recoup these losses. To learn how, please contact our securities law firm in Chicago at 312.332.4200
According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Richard Graham was accused of making unsuitable investment recommendations regarding the sale of unit investment trusts (UITs) while employed at Huntingont Investment Company. A UIT is a type of investment that represents undivided interests in a relatively fixed portfolio of securities. Many times these consist of common stock of closed-end investment companies (known as closed-end funds). UITs typically are risky and illiquid investments, not suitable for all investors. Many times they are junk bonds and these are subject to very high risk. A broker must take into account a customer’s net worth, investment objectives and age before recommending investments. If he does not, his investment firm can be liable for financial losses because of failure to supervise him.
In Graham’s case, according to his AWC, allegedly, he recommended to a customer couple who did not speak English, that they make two purchases of the Van Kampen Unit Investment Trust Closed End Strategy Master Municipal Income Portfolio Series 30 in November of 2012. The couple invested $149,994.48, and, a month later, $199,993.99. Graham was aware that the couple’s risk tolerance was “conservative” and that they had a “short” investment time horizon. They also had limited investment knowledge and sophistication. In all, the customers lost $79,297.70. On a separate occasion, Graham recommended that a 98-year-old customer invest approximately 42% of her net worth in UITs. This was highly unsuitable for a customer of her age, and she lost money in the transactions. For these transgressions, Graham was fined $10,000 and suspended from the industry for two months.
Richard Graham was registered with Woodbury Financial Services in Oakdale, Minnesota from July 2001 until October 2003, Natcity Investments in Cleveland, Ohio from October 2003 until June 2005, The Huntington Investment Company in Lafayette, Indiana from July 2005 until July 2013 and JP Morgan Securities in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 2013 until August 2016. He has seven customer disputes against him and he is not licensed within the industry, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report. Please call 312-332-4200 to speak to one of our attorneys today if you lost money with Richard Graham. We may be able to help you sue Huntington in the FINRA arbitration process on a contingency fee basis to recover your losses. The call is free.
Recently, UBS stripped the majority of the coal companies it covers, including Walter Energy (WLT), and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) of their Buy ratings. Other impacted stocks include Consol Energy (CNX), Peabody Energy (BTU) and Arch Coal (ACI). The downgrade comes at a time when coal companies are cutting capital spending to maintenance levels and are primarily focused on preserving/enhancing liquidity. Investors are not encouraged to buy coal-levered names such as Walter Energy, Alpha Natural Resources or Arch Coal because of these companies, Walter Energy and Alpha Natural Resources especially, taking the biggest hits. Walter Energy filed for bankruptcy on July 15th, 2015. Shares of Consol Energy and Walter Energy have plunged significantly since then. Investments like coal, and oil and gas, are particularly risky for investors, with the prices of these fuels declining at a rapid rate.
Paul W. Murans, a current broker with UBS in Indianapolis, Indiana, allegedly recommended and sold Walter Energy products to at least one client in May and June of 2012 in an IRA account. The client suffered a total loss on the investment with the coal product. Murans allegedly told the client that the account was considered to be a growth account and that there was no possibility of taking a loss from it. The client stated that she wanted steady growth, income and safety. The investment was not suitable for the client. Murans was registered with UBS Painewebber in Weehawken, New Jersey from October 2000 until April 2003 and is currently registered with UBS in Indianapolis and has been since March 2011.
If you were recommended these investments by Murans, another UBS broker, or any other broker, and suffered losses, please call our Chicago-based securities law firm today to speak to an attorney. Firms such as UBS can be sued in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allowing their brokers to recommend and sell securities such as coal investments with Walter Energy. A broker has a duty to recommend only those investments that are suitable for investors and must take into account an investor’s age, net worth, portfolio objectives and investment sophistication when doing so.
Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate claims against Tom Buck, a former registered broker with Merrill Lynch in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since March of last year, Buck has 27 customer complaints against him, and according to the Indiana Business Journal on Friday, has cost his former firm, Merrill Lynch, more than $4.1 million in settlements to date. He has since been fired and was barred from the industry permanently by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in July. FINRA claimed that Buck “willfully committed fraud” by placing clients in commission accounts when they could have done better in fee-based advisory accounts. He was officially charged with misrepresentation of commissions, unsuitable investments and excessive trading. Many of the customer complaints settled for the full amount requested, with the largest being for $719,000. Two of the complaints are still pending, with the most recent being filed on November 17th. Before that, he was heralded by “Barron’s” as Merrill Lynch’s top broker in Indiana and had been named that every year from 2009 until 2013.
According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Buck was registered with Merrill Lynch in Indianapolis, Indiana from December 1981 until April 2015 and RBC Capital Markets in Indianapolis from April 2015 until July 2015. He is not currently registered with any firm or licensed within the industry. FINRA has permanently barred him from the industry. Please call our securities law offices in Chicago if you or someone you know lost money with Thomas Buck. Merrill Lynch can be held responsible for your investment losses because they had a duty to reasonably supervise him while he was employed there. We sue firms in the FINRA arbitration process. The call is free with no obligation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Barbara D. Fife, a former employee of LPL Financial in Indianapolis, Indiana and John W. Ruggles, a former employee of City Securities, also in Indianapolis. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred Fife from the brokerage industry for life, and suspended Ruggles for 14 months and fined him $5,000. Ruggles was accused of falsifying emails and trade reports. Fife was accused by a customer of never investing checks into his or her account which were made out for the purpose of investing.
According to her online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Barbara D. Fife was registered with MML Investors in Springfield, Massachusetts from May 1993 until July 1993, Essex National Securities in Napa, California from July 1993 until March 1996, First Chicago NBD Investment Services in Chicago, Illinois from March 1996 until August 1996, Independent Financial Securities Inc. from September 1996 until January 1997, NatCity Investments in Cleveland, Ohio from August 1996 until February 1997, Banc One Securities Corp in Chicago from February 1999 until April 1999, UBS Financial Services in Weehawken, New Jersey from April 1999 until July 2003, Fifth Third Securities in Cincinnati, Ohio from July 2003 until November 2005, City Securities Corp in Indianapolis, Indiana from November 2005 until July 2007 and LPL Financial in Fishers, Indiana from September 2007 until June 2014. She has five customer disputes against her. She is not licensed and has been permanently barred from the industry.
John W. Ruggles was registered with Raffensperger, Hughes & Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 1993 until July 1995, NatCity Investments in Cleveland, Ohio from July 1995 until March 1997, Independent Financial Securities from January 1997 until March 1997, Charles Schwab & Co. in San Francisco, California from April 1997 until June 2005, Edward Jones in Avon, Indiana from June 2005 until March 2006, Charles Schwab in Indianapolis, Indiana from September 2006 until April 2013 and City Securities Corp in Indianapolis from May 2014 until April 2015. He has one customer dispute against him. He is not currently licensed within the industry.
Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate Thomas J. Buck, who entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). According to the AWC, Buck engaged in misrepresentations and other misconduct in the handling of customer accounts. Since 2009, he pursued unethical and improper business practices which generated increased commissions and revenues and enhanced his status as a top-producing broker. He held customer assets in commission-based accounts instead of fee-based accounts in order to generate higher revenues, although he knew that some customers would have paid substantially lower fees by using fee-based accounts. He also exercised discretion in customer accounts without written or oral authorization and made unauthorized trades in certain customer accounts. He was recently barred from the industry.
Buck was registered with Merrill Lynch in Indianapolis, Indiana from December 1981 until April 2015, and RBC Capital Markets in Indianapolis from April 2015 until recently. He has 12 customer disputes against him, five of which are currently pending. He is not registered with any member firm and has been barred from the industry. If you lost money with Thomas J. Buck, please call our securities law firm at 312-332-4200. We sue firms such as RBC Capital Markets and Merrill Lynch for failure to properly supervise Buck while he was employed with them. These firms can be held liable for financial losses for this reason.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Leonard Tanner, formerly of PNC Investments. Tanner is accused of allegedly executing discretionary transactions in 90 accounts of customers under a verbal authorization, but not a written one. His current firm, City Securities Corporation, requires a written authorization. Unauthorized trading is a violation of securities rules and regulations. Leonard Tanner was registered with Raffensperger, Hughes & Co in Indianapolis, Indiana from August 1969 until July 1995, Natcity Investments in Indianapolis, from July 1995 until November 2009 and PNC Investments in Indianapolis from November 2009 until October 2010. He is currently registered with City Securities Corporation in Indianapolis and has been since October 2010. He has one customer dispute against him. If you invested money with Leonard Tanner, please call our securities law office in Chicago at 312-332-4200 to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. We sue firms such as PNC Investments and City Securities Corporation for not reasonably supervising their brokers.
The former CFO of Ovation Audio-Visual Solutions was arrested and charged with more than 20 counts of theft last week. Alfred Talons allegedly misappropriated $600,000 in company funds for his own use. He faces charges of tax evasion, corrupt business influence and money laundering. He has been the CFO of the company since 2011. Since then, he used company money for personal appliances, technology and home improvement materials, as well as a sports club membership, airline tickets and sports tickets and cars. Talens was also a partner at Ascension Wealth Management LLC in Indianapolis. He allegedly talked an Ascension client into loaning Ovation $400,000 from his retirement account. The client was promised 7 percent annual interest over 3 years. The client never received payments on the loan and Talens used the money for personal use.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating John Cody Miller, a City Securities broker. Miller is accused of executing discretionary transactions in the accounts of 90 customers without verbal authorization to exercise discretion in their accounts. His firm did not approve these accounts for discretionary trading. These actions occurred from May 4th through June 1st 2010. For this, he was suspended from the industry for 20 days and fined $10,000. Miller was registered with Charles Schwab & Co. in San Francisco, California from June 1998 until July 1998, Natcity Investments in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 1998 until November 2009 and PNC Investments, also in Indianapolis from November 2009 until October 2010. He is currently registered with City Securities in Indianapolis and has been since 2010. He has one customer dispute against him. If you lost money with John Cody Miller, his firm, City Securities, can be sued in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration process to recover finances. City Securities can be held liable for not properly supervising Miller during his employment there. Please call our law offices at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. The call is free.