Articles Tagged with New York

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), James Wright allegedly used unapproved personal emails and text messages to communicate with an unregistered administrative assistant regarding firm customers. Allegedly, from August 21st, 2015, through May 26th, 2016, Wright communicated with his unregistered administrative assistant using two personal email addressed and the text message function of his personal smartphone, none of which were networked to the firm’s retention system for electronic communications. The emails included information regarding the customers’ assets, securities holdings, and financial goals. This is against securities laws and internal firm rules. For this, he was suspended from the industry for 10 business days and fined $5,000.

James Wright was previously registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 2000 until July 2006, Ameriprise Financial Services in Garden City, New York from February 1987 until January 2014, and Raymond James in New York, New York from February 2014 until February 2015. He is currently registered with American Portfolios Financial Services in New York, and has been since March 2015. He has three customer disputes against him, alleging delays in transferring mutual funds to a moneymarket fund, a customer not being advised of potential tax consequences from a redemption, and lost money in investments due to the advice of the advisor. These are all against securities laws. This is according to Wright’s BrokerCheck report with FINRA online.

According to a recent InvestmentNews article, Zachary Berkey and Daniel Fischer, two brokers with Four Points Capital Partners, were charged with churning the accounts of 10 customers. The brokers clients allegedly lost a total of $573,867, according to the complaint, while the brokers received $106,000 and $175,000 respectively, in commissions. Mr. Fischer is ordered to return his gains with interest and pay a $160,000 fine. He also agreed to be barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a separate action. He was also ordered to pay $5,000 to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in connection with his trading activity. Mr. Berkey’s litigation with the SEC will go to federal district court in Manhattan.

Churning is when a broker excessively trades a customer’s account in order to generate commissions for himself. This can lead to unnecessary fees for the client and is against securities laws. Four Points Capital can be held liable for investment losses, because the firm had a duty to reasonably supervise its employees while they were registered there. Four Points Capital can be sued in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis.

According to FINRA records, Berkey was previously registered with The J.B. Sutton Group, Woodstock Financial Group, National Securities Corp, and Four Points Capital Partners in Melville, New York from April 2013 until January 2015. He has four customer disputes against him and three judgments/liens. He is not currently registered as a broker. Daniel Terry Fischer was previously registered with Monroe Parker Securities, On-Site Trading, Worldco, Quest Capital Strategies, Hold Brothers On-Line Investment Services, E*Trade Securities Dimension Trading Group, Dimension Securities, WTS Proprietary Trading Group, and Four Points Capital in New York, New York from November 2012 until July 2017. He is not currently registered as a broker.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Donald Devito, a former registered broker with Wells Fargo. Mr. Devito was terminated from the bank in December 2016, after it was revealed the firm had concerns over the level of trading in client accounts. In 2016 through 2017, Devito has had six complaints filed against him concerning the level of trading and fees generated in his accounts. Customers have claimed that Devito violated securities laws by engaging in churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable recommendations among other claims. This means the broker will trade in and out of securities, sometimes the same stock, many times over a short period of time. The account will sometimes “turnover” every month with different securities. This is only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades, and serves no other purpose. Oftentimes, there are unnecessary fees related to the investments, that the client is forced to pay.

Mr. Devito was previously registered with Individual’s Securities from March 1983 until February 1984, Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from March 1984 until January 2000, Morgan Stanley in Albany, New York from January 2000 until February 2007 and Wells Fargo Advisors in Albany from February 2007 until December 2016. He has 10 customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He is not currently registered as a broker within the industry.

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.

Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Wells Fargo broker Scott Wallach $5,000 and suspended him for one month. It also ordered him to pay $873.50, plus interest, in disgorgement of commissions received for allegedly effecting five unauthorized trades in a client account while the client was on vacation. He allegedly sold shares of two securities the client owned and used the proceeds from those sales to purchase a preferred bond in the client’s account. Wallach allegedly sold shares in one security the client owned and used the proceeds to purchase shares in another security. He earned $873.59 in commissions for the five trades. He was also accused of “conducting excessive trading” in an account, unauthorized trading, misrepresentation of commissions, unsuitable investments, and lost opportunity. All of these are against securities laws. Excessive trading, also known as churning, is a particularly egregious violation of securities laws, and is when a broker trades in and out of securities, many times in the same day and of the same security. This can lead to large commissions for the broker, but unnecessary fees for the client.

According to public records with FINRA, Scott Jason Wallach was previously registered with Continental Broker-Dealer Corp in Carle Place, New York from August 1998 until December 1998, Painewebber Inc. in Weehawken, New Jersey from January 1999 until December 1999, Prudential Securities Inc. in New York, New York from December 1999 until July 2003, and Wells Fargo Clearing Services in Paramus, New Jersey from July 2003 until October 2017. He is currently registered with Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing in Parsippany, New Jersey, and has been since November 2017. He has two customer disputes against him.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Richard Fichter, a registered representative with Securities America in Williamsville, New York. Mr. Fichter allegedly acted negligently in connection to alleged improper sales practices employed by the account’s previous representative, made unsuitable recommendations and trades, failed to follow instructions, executed unauthorized trades, placed trades for the primary purpose of generating commissions, failed to follow instructions, engaged in deceptive acts and practices and did not cancel a trade as requested, among other things. These are all against securities laws. Mr. Fichter was previously registered with First Investors Corp from June 1983 until November 1983, William Cadden from October 1983 until September 1985 and Dean Witter Reynolds in Purchase, New York from September 1985 until February 1991. He is currently registered with Securities America in Williamsville, New York and has been since March 1991. He has four customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending.

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 is interested in speaking to those investors who may have lost money with Caroline Korn, a former advisor with Brighton Securities Corp. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleged that Brighton Securities Corp failed to adequately supervise Caroline Korn when she made unsuitable recommendations to her customers to switch from Class “A” shares of one mutual fund to another. They typically have upfront commissions of 2% to 5% and Korn was recommending that six of her clients exchange these shares between March 2013 and March 2014. These clients were paying 2% to 5% commissions on a short-term basis, and FINRA alleged that this was excessive and unsuitable. FINRA also previously brought a separate regulatory action against Korn for the same conduct. Brighton Securities was ordered to pay restitution of $19,453 to six customers, and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for her misconduct.

According to her online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Ms. Korn was previously registered with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, Missouri from November 2003 until December 2005 and Brighton Securities Corp in Rochester, New York from December 2005 until March 2014. She is currently registered with Pinnacle Investments in Rochester, New York and has been since April 2014. She has three customer disputes against her, alleging unsuitable securities recommendations, unsuitable stock purchases, and abuse of discretionary authority , providing unsuitable investment advice, charging excessive commissions and engaging in churning activity. She has one criminal disposition against her.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Sonya Camarco, a former LPL broker. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained an emergency court order to freeze her assets in order to prevent her from further dissipating funds she stole from her clients. Allegedly, during a 13-year period, Camarco stole money from her clients’ accounts. She allegedly forged client signatures on checks made out to an entity called “C Investments,” and had the checks sent to a private post office box. She then deposited the checks into a bank account in the name of “Camarco Investments Inc.” an entity of which she was the sole registered agent and which she shares an address with her office. She also allegedly liquidated securities in her clients’ accounts to make unauthorized payments to her own accounts. She then claimed that the C Investments were an outside investment that she made on their behalf and said she had no affiliation with C Investments. This was untrue. The SEC alleges that Camarco used the stolen client funds to pay her personal credit card bills and mortgages.

Camarco was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from December 1993 until July 2000, Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York from July 2000 until March 2004 and LPL in Colorado Springs, Colorado from February 2004 until August 2017. She is currently not registered within the industry. Please call us today if you suffered losses with Ms. Camarco. We may be able to help you recover those losses on a contingency fee basis.

Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who have invested with Merrill Lynch broker Charles Friedlander. A recent lawsuit alleges that, clients of Friedlander’s, a retired couple were looking to generate a stable income stream to sustain them through retirement and relied upon Friedlander and the research of Merrill Lynch to select suitable investments that would preserve their capital while producing income. The lawsuit alleges that Friedlander was pushing oil and gas investments in master limited partnerships (MLPs) and allegedly represented them as safe and secure. By 2014, the concentration into energy in their accounts was over 70%. Even though the clients lost money in those investments, Friedlander continued to advise them to invest more money into the oil and gas sector, even though it was not suitable for them based on their age, net worth, risk tolerance and investment objectives. A broker must take these factors into account before recommending or selling any investments, and, if he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses. Oil and gas and energy investments tend to be high-risk and illiquid ones, which, in this case, caused the retired couple to lose over $350,000 of their irreplaceable retirement savings. The lawsuit alleges negligence, negligent supervision, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.

Mr. Friedlander was previously registered with Lehman Brothers in New York, New York from November 1987 until July 1993, Citigroup in Garden City, New York from July 1993 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in Garden City from June 2009 until March 2013. He is currently registered with Merrill Lynch in Garden City and has been since February 2013. He has one customer dispute against him. This is according to his online BrokerCheck report with FINRA.

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