Articles Tagged with Raymond James Associates

Raymond James is in trouble again. The brokerage firm agreed to pay almost $6 million related to charges connected to Jay Peak, a ski resort in northern Vermont. Regulators are saying that the ski resort violated state laws, and that two businessmen misused $200 of $350 million of investor funds. Owner Ariel Quiros and CEO William Stenger, are accused of taking advantage of immigrants seeking permanent residency in the country through a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service program for investors. They were investing in Limited Liability Partnerships, and were told that their investments would be used with Jay Peak. Instead, Quiros and Stenger used $200 million of that money in other ways that were not permitted. Raymond James Financial and Raymond James & Associates were charged with allegedly enabling the scheme through lax supervision.

Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation accused Raymond James of supervisory failures related to the investments. Raymond James also failed to obtain adequate documentation that Quiros had the authority to open at least four margin accounts at the firm. Another registered representative at Raymond James permitted Quiros to transfer $13 million of the funds to purchase Jay Peak “despite written instructions that investor funds were not to be used for that purpose.” Raymond James is forced to pay the receiver $4.5 million in order to reimburse possible claims by investors, another $200,000 to Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation for the investigation cost and $1.25 million to the state as an administrative penalty. The alleged wrongdoing occurred at a Raymond James branch office in Miami, Florida. FINRA claimed that Raymond James was fined a combined $16 million for “widespread failures” in their anti-money laundering program in May. At the time, it was the largest penalty that the regulator has ordered for that type of infraction.

Customers of Raymond James can sue the firm for investment losses sustained through activities like unsuitable investment recommendations, fraud, churning, conversion or theft and other related actions.  A common claim against Raymond James made in FINRA arbitration actions deals with the firms supervision, or lack thereof, of the financial advisor who engaged in the wrongful conduct.  In these cases, what the firm did, or didnt do, is absolutely crucial.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced yesterday that it fined Raymond James & Associates and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. $17 million for widespread failures related to the firms’ anti-money laundering programs. Both firms were accused of failing to establish and implement adequate anti-money laundering procedures, which resulted in the firms’ failure to properly prevent or detect, investigate, and report suspicious activity for several years. Raymond James and Associates’ Compliance Officer, Linda L. Busby, was also fined $25,000 and suspended for three months.

Between 2006 and 2014, both companies’ growth was not matched by the growth in their compliance systems and processes. This was because they were forced to rely on written procedures and systems across different departments to detect suspicious activity. The end result was that certain “red flags” of potentially suspicious activity went undetected or inadequately investigated. Raymond James Financial Services Inc. was sanctioned in 2012 for inadequate anti-money laundering procedures, and as part of that program, had agreed to review its program and procedures, and certify that they were reasonably designed to achieve compliance.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating James Roy, a former investment advisor who was most recently registered with Raymond James & Associates in Houston, Texas. Mr. Roy was accused in multiple customer complaints of committing securities fraud and common law fraud, negligently misrepresenting material facts related to an investment, breaching fiduciary duty, engaging in unjust enrichment and performing fraudulent transfer and conveyance, among other things. All of these are against securities rules and regulations. According to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, Roy was registered with Wachovia Securities in El Paso, Texas from October 2006 until October 2008, Morgan Keegan in Houston, Texas from October 2008 until February 2013 and Raymond James in Houston from February 2013 until June 2013. He is not currently registered with any member firm. He has two customer disputes against him, both of which are currently pending. Did you lose money with James Roy? If so, you might be able to sue his former firm, Raymond James, for your investment losses. They may be liable for them. We sue firms such as Raymond James in the FINRA arbitration process. The call to us to speak to one of our securities attorneys is free with no obligation. Please call soon as time is of the essence with these types of cases.

Stoltmann Law Offices is continuing to investigate Matthew A. Bell, a San Antonio stockbroker, who, last year, was indicted on charges of participating in a $300 million stock-manipulation scheme. In 2014, Bell pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Bell was initially charged in a 10-count indictment with a group of brokers that included A.J. Discala, the ex-husband of actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Discala was accused of allegedly overseen a scheme that involved pumping up the price of penny stocks before dumping their shares, a classic “pump-and-dump” scheme involving four publicly traded companies: CodeSmart Holdings Inc., Cubed Inc., StarStream Entertainment Inc. and The Staffing Group Ltd. A pump-and-dump scheme is a scheme that attempts to boost the price of a stock through recommendations based on false or misleading or greatly exaggerated statements. The perpetrators of the scheme, who already have an established position in the company’s stock, sell their positions after the hype has led to a higher share price. The practice is illegal and is against securities rules and regulations.

In a separate and simultaneous action with the criminal case, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed civil charges against Bell and others seeking the return of profits from the alleged scheme and penalties. CodeSmart was suspended from trading last week. Also last week, a Manhattan lawyer and two brokers were arrested in the case. Separately, Bell allegedly recommended share in Palmaz Scientific Inc., a private placement investment. This is commonly referred to as “selling away” and is when a broker recommends a security that is not held or offered by his member firm. It is a tactic used to generate large commissions for the broker himself, and is against securities rules and regulations. Palmaz Securities had been in financial distress when Bell recommended it. Bell allegedly found his investors through the Oak Hills Church, a mega-church on the north side of San Antonio.

Matthew A. Bell was registered with Kercheville & Co. in San Antonio, Texas from August 1998 until April 2001, Prudential Securities Inc. in New York, New York from April 2001 until March 2003, Raymond James & Associates in San Antonio from March 2003 until August 2009, WFG Investments in San Antonio from July 2009 until June 2013 and Securities America in San Antonio from August 2013 until October 2013. According to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, he has 38 customer disputes against him, 12 of which are currently pending. He also has one civil action against him. He is not licensed within the securities industry.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Mark Andrew Bullivant, a former broker with Raymond James & Associates. Bullivant was recently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from associating with any member firm in any capacity. Bullivant refused to appear for a FINRA-requested on-the-record (OTR) testimony involving an investigation into whether he converted customer funds. Mark Andrew Bullivant was registered with Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York from October 2001 until April 2005, Chase Investment Services Corp in Chicago, Illinois from July 2005 until July 2005, Ameriprise Advisor Services in Fort Meyers, Florida from July 2005 until April 2012 and Raymond James & Associates in Ft. Meyers from April 2012 until December 2013. He has two customer disputes against him. He is not licensed within the industry and FINRA permanently barred him from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. If you invested money with Mark Andrew Bullivant, his former firm, Raymond James, can be held liable for not adequately supervising him. We are a securities law office based in Chicago, Illinois and we sue firms such as Raymond James in the FINRA arbitration forum for not properly supervising their brokers. Our number is 312-332-4200 and the call is free.

Mark-Bullivant-FINRA-AWC

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo Advisors Financial, Raymond James & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services and LPL Financial to pay more than $30 million plus interest to customers of certain charitable organization and retirement plan accounts. The companies are accused of failing to waive mutual fund sales charges for the charities and retirement accounts. Wells Fargo is to pay $15 million, Raymond James will pay $8.7 million, and LPL will pay $6.3 million. Raymond James will also pay restitution to customers who purchased or repurchased mutual funds without an appropriate sales charge waiver from January 1, 2015 through the date the firm fully begins training for systems having to do with the waivers.

According to a Wells Fargo Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA, as well as a recent FINRA press release, some retirement plan and charitable organization customers were charged a front-end sales charge, when they should not have been, in Class A shares of certain mutual funds. On some occasions, they were also sold Class B or C shares and charged back-end sales charges with higher fees and expenses. Class A shares typically charge a front-end charge when purchased, and also have annual fund expenses of .25%. Most of this front-end charge is paid to the broker-dealer. Class B and C shares typically do not charge a front-end fee but have higher service fees and annual expenses of 1%. In Wells Fargo’s, LPL and Raymond James’ charitable organization and retirement plan mutual fund customer case, the Class A up-front fees were to be waived. Wells Fargo, Raymond James and LPL Financial did not waive these fees, thereby violating FINRA rule. Wells Fargo also allegedly did not apply the waivers to Class A mutual fund purchases, and did charge them front-end sales charges. They also charged higher ongoing fees and expenses for Class B and C mutual funds. More than 50,000 retirement accounts and charitable organizations were affected by the egregious fees and charges when purchasing Class A shares of the mutual funds, or when purchasing Class B or C shares that subjected them to unnecessary higher fees.

If you would like to sue Wells Fargo, Raymond James or LPL Financial for failure to supervise, please call our Chicago-based securities law office at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. We sue firms such as these in the FINRA arbitration forum and can help you recover your investment losses.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred Mark A. Bullivant from the securities industry after he allegedly failed to respond to the investigation against him. FINRA was investigating him for stealing funds from clients and converting that money. Bullivant was a registered representative with Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York from October 2001 until April 2005, Chase Investment Services in Chicago, Illinois from July 2005 until July 2005, Ameriprise Advisor Services in Fort Myers, Florida from July 2005 until October 2009, and Raymond James & Associates, also in Ft. Myers from April 2012 until December 2013. He has two customer disputes against him, and has been permanently barred from the industry. You may sue Raymond James & Associates, his former firm, for investment losses you may have suffered with Mark A. Bullivant. They had a duty to reasonably supervise him while he worked for them. 312-332-4200.

Elderly investors can sue brokerage firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley for claims related to the financial abuse of the elderly. A recent case illustrates how firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley can be held liable through the FINRA arbitration process. Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating John Anthony Waszolek, a former broker with UBS Wealth Management, for allegedly attempting to make himself a beneficiary in the will of an 81-year old wealthy client with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, who was also legally blind. Waszolek attempted to inherit more than $1.8 million from the client’s estate. Waszolek allegedly did succeed in becoming a successor trustee of the client’s trust, and he did become healthcare power of attorney over said client. Waszolek did not disclose to his current firm at the time, UBS Wealth Management, that he he became a successor trustee, or that he was healthcare power of attorney. His other former firm, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, provided him with a questionnaire, on which he was supposed to disclose those facts, but did not. The questionnaire also specifically asked whether he had been named a beneficiary of any other non-family member account or whether he functioned as a fiduciary for any firm customer, and he answered no to both questions, which was a false statement.

The client was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, and one month after her diagnosis, Waszolek met with an estate planning attorney to have himself named as her agent and power of attorney, as well as to have her trust be amended to name him as a residual beneficiary. The attorney declined because of his knowledge of the client’s dementia diagnosis and her alleged diminished capacity to have the foresight to allow Waszolek to be a beneficiary of her estate. Upon securing his beneficiary status after contacting another attorney, Waszolek immediately resigned from UBS and went to work for Morgan Stanley.

Mr. Waszolek was registered with Merill Lynch, Security First Financial, Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis Inc., UBS and Morgan Stanley and has been a registered representative within the industry since October 1974. He is currently registered with Raymond James & Associates in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has been since February 2012. He has two customer disputes against him, neither of which is pending.

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