According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Heather VanLandingham, a former Morgan Stanley representative, has been accused of violating securities laws and internal firm rules. Allegedly, in January 2016, while associated with Morgan Stanley, VanLandingham effected transactions in a firm customer’s account without the customer’s knowledge or authorization, which is in violation of FINRA rules. VanLandingham also misrepresented on firm documents that she had spoken with the customer to confirm wire transfer requests when she had not verbally confirmed them. For this she was fined $5,000 and suspended from the industry for 20 business days. According to public records with BrokerCheck, Heather VanLandingham was previously registered with Morgan Stanley in Palm Harbor, Florida from July 2013 until February 2016 and SunTrust Investment Services in Riverview, Florida from April 2016 until February 2018. She has one regulatory matter against her, and is not currently registered as a broker. Morgan Stanley may be liable for investment losses on a contingency fee basis if you lost money because of VanLandingham’s recommendations or securities sales. The firm had a duty to reasonably supervise her while she was registered there.
Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate former Morgan Stanley broker Daniel Abel, and Morgan Stanley. A federal judge recently ruled in the bank’s favor in its bid to block an exiting Abel from contacting his former clients with the firm. The judge extended a restraining order issued this week against Abel, after Morgan Stanley accused him of breaching his non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements. The case will proceed to arbitration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), possibly as early as next week.
In Morgan Stanley’s initial complaint, the firm argued that Abel had made a “deliberate breach” of his non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements to “misappropriate the plaintiff’s confidential information and trade secrets relating to plaintiff’s clients with over an estimated $18 million in combined assets for the benefit of himself and his own new firm.” Abel disputed Morgan Stanley’s claim and cited in his defense the Broker Protocol rule that states what client information exiting brokers can take with them when they leave. Morgan Stanley stopped following Broker Protocol in November. The judge extended the temporary restraining order against Abel to February 20th. It had been previously set to expire on the 6th of February.
According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former Morgan Stanley registered broker Thomas Niles has broken securities laws and internal firm rules. Allegedly, between July 2012 and December 2014, Niles engaged in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) in 148 customer accounts. UITs are investment companies that offer shares of a fixed portfolio of securities in a one-time public offering, and terminate on a specified maturity date. Niles’ recommendations caused the customers to incur unnecessary sales charges and were unsuitable in view of the frequency and cost of the transactions. For this misconduct, Niles was fined $5,000 and suspended for three months from the industry.
A broker like Thomas Niles has a duty to do his due diligence on every security he recommends or sells to his clients, and to take into account the customer’s age, net worth, investment sophistication and investment risk tolerance, among other factors before doing so. If he does not, Morgan Stanley may be liable for investment losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum.
Thomas Francis Niles was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from September 1992 until November 1995, Salomon Smith Barney in New York from November 1995 until April 2000, Prudential Securities in New York from April 2000 until July 2003, Wachovia Securities in Latham, New York from July 2003 until March 2009, Morgan Stanley in Saratoga Springs, New York from March 2009 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in Saratoga Springs from June 2009 until September 2015. He is currently registered with Janney Montgomery Scott in Saratoga Springs, and has been since September 2015. This is according to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report.
If you were recommended a long term care insurance policy by your financial advisor, and that policy has lapsed, you might be able to recover the premiums paid against the brokerage firm who recommended it. Many brokers recommended long-term care insurance policies with promises and representations that the premiums would not change or fluctuate much. In reality, many of the policies purchased had premiums that have skyrocketed in recent years. This means many of the people who were recommended these policies can no longer afford the payments on the premium. This means despite paying tens of thousands of dollars for years, these policies are now worthless. The brokerage firms who peddled these products had a duty and obligation to disclose all material risks, including the fact that the premiums would skyrocket in price. Some of the major policies pedaled by financial advisors at firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and UBS were Geneworth, Penn Treaty and John Hancock Policies. Many of these policies have now lapsed. In other instances the insurance companies refused to pay out legitimate claims.
If you were recommended long term insurance policies by your financial advisor and these policies have a lapse please contact our Chicago-based securities fraud law firm at 312. 332. 4200 for a no-cost review by an attorney as to whether these losses can be recovered.
Did your broker recommend to you General Electric (GE) stock or structured products benchmarked to general electric? If so the investment losses you sustained might be recoverable through the FINRA arbitration process. Brokers have an obligation to perform reasonable due diligence on securities before they are recommended for clients. Unfortunately many brokers at firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Raymond James, UBS, recommended structured products benchmark to General Electric stock and the results have been cataclysmic for Investors. Investments must also be suitable and appropriate for clients based off of their age, income, net worth, and actual investment objectives. If your broker recommended general electric shares or GE related structured products please call out law firm in Chicago Illinois at 312-332-4200.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Patrick Colligan, a registered broker with Oppenheimer & Company in Stamford, Connecticut. Mr. Colligan allegedly executed detrimentally excessive bond trades, and executed unauthorized transactions, on two separate occasions. These are both against securities laws and internal firm rules. A broker must only make trades that have been authorized by his firm and by the customer, and must not make excessive trades. If he does, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum.
FINRA public, online records state that Mr. Colligan was previously registered with Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, New York from July 1992 until May 1995, Merrill Lynch in New York from April 1995 until October 1999, Citigroup Global Markets in New York from October 1999 until January 2008, Morgan Stanley in Greenwich, Connecticut from December 2007 until June 2009, Morgan Stanley in Greenwich from June 2009 until May 2012 and UBS in Stamford, Connecticut from May 2012 until April 2013. He is currently registered with Oppenheimer in Stamford, and has been since March 2013. He has two customer disputes against him.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Wells Fargo broker Jeffrey Wilson, who was accused of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks that likely include master limited partnerships (MLPs). In August 2017, a customer alleged that Wilson recommended the purchase of unsuitable energy securities in or around August 2014. The claim is currently pending. In May 2016, another client alleged that Wilson, from June 2014 through November 2015, made unsuitable investments in oil and energy investments. This was settled for $250,000. Oil and gas investments can be risky and highly illiquid ones that are not suitable for every investor because of the decline in the price of oil. Many investors lost significant amounts of money because of these investments. A broker must take into account a client’s age, net worth, investment objectives and investment risk tolerance before recommending or selling any investment. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
According to FINRA records, Mr. Wilson was previously registered with New York Life Securities Corp from October 1983 until August 1985, Merrill Lynch in Las Cruces, Mexico from September 1985 until October 2007, Morgan Stanley in Las Cruces from October 2007 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in Las Cruces from June 2009 until June 2014. He is currently registered with Wells Fargo in Las Cruces and has been since May 2014. He has four customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending.
Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Stuart Pearl, a former registered representative with Ameriprise. According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Pearl allegedly effected securities transactions in a customer’s account on several occasions on a discretionary basis without prior written authority and approval to use discretion. He also allegedly made unsuitable recommendations in a second customer’s account when he recommended the customer use margin to effect several trades. This is in violation of securities rules and regulations. In June 2010, two customers of Pearl’s who were retired and in their 70s, opened a joint brokerage account with him at Ameriprise. Their risk was “conservative” and their objective was “growth and income.” Between September 2011 and March 2012, Pearl recommended that the customers purchase four securities valued at $122,000 on margin. As a result of these purchases, the customers experienced a significant increase in their margin debt balances in relation to their available funds and their account was subject to margin calls during this period.
A broker’s duty is to only recommend and sell those securities that are suitable for every customer based on his net worth, investment objective, risk tolerance and age, among other factors. If he does not recommend and sell suitable investments, his brokerage firms may be liable for losses. Stuart L. Pearl was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from May 1986 until April 2001, Citigroup in Deerfield, Illinois from April 2001 until June 2009, Morgan Stanley in Deerfield from June 2009 until June 2010 and Ameriprise Financial in Deerfield from June 2010 until July 2015. He is currently registered with David A. Noyes in Chicago, Illinois, and has been since July 2015. He has three customer disputes against him, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, unauthorized trading and use of margin borrowing, among other things.
Elaine LaCerte, a former Morgan Stanley broker in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was suspended from the industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Ms. LaCerte was accused of engaging in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) in over 100 customer accounts. “In connection with these accounts, LaCerte repeatedly recommended that the customers purchase UITs and then sell these products well before their maturity dates. In addition, on more than 100 occasions, LaCerte recommended that her customers use the proceeds from the short-term sale of a UIT to purchase another UIT with identical investment objectives. LaCerte’s recommendations caused the customers to incur unnecessary sales charges, and were unsuitable in view of the frequency and cost of the transactions.” This was according to her complaint. LaCerte was banned from the industry for six months and fined $5,000 because of this misconduct. This was against securities laws and internal firm rules.
Elaine LaCerte, also known as Elaine Diones and Elaine Diones Helzer, was previously registered with Diones & Company from July 1986 until March 1987, F&G Securities from February 1987 until December 1987, Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from December 1987 until March 1995, Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York from March 1995 until January 2005, Citigroup Global Markets in Colorado Springs, Colorado from January 2005 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in Colorado Springs from June 2009 until August 2016. She has four customer disputes against him, alleging misrepresentation with respect to the purchase of a municipal bond, and misrepresentation with respect to an investment risk, among other things. She has been suspended and is not currently registered as a broker. This is according to her online record with FINRA.
Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate former Morgan Stanley broker Peter Doyle, who was terminated from the firm in June 2016. Allegedly, Mr. Doyle failed to adhere to industry rules and firm policies with regard to the use of trading discretion. Before he was terminated, Morgan Stanley was ordered to pay over $8 million in damages in a customer dispute concerning allegations that Doyle made unauthorized trades, failed to disclose fees, and engaged in the financial abuse of an elderly customer. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules. Another customer alleged that Mr. Doyle made an unsuitable investment recommendation to him from 2008 until 2016. The dispute was settled for $600,000.
Firms like Morgan Stanley have an obligation to reasonably supervise their brokers, and, if they do not, can be held liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum.
Peter J. Doyle, according to his FINRA public records, was previously registered with Prudential in New York, New York from January 1995 until July 2003, Wachovia Securities in Washington D.C. from July 2003 until July 2008, Morgan Stanley in Washington D.C. from July 2008 until June 2009, Morgan Stanley in Washington D.C. from June 2009 until July 2016 and H. Beck in Bethesda, Maryland from September 2016 until February 2017. He has three customer disputes against him, and has been permanently barred from the industry.