Articles Tagged with selling Away

If you lost money with Puerto Rico financial advisor Pedro Gonzalez-Seijo, Stoltmann Law Offices may be able to help you recover these losses. Gonzalez-Seijo, a registered representative of Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. from September 1991 through May 2016, solicited clients to purchase variable annuities, but instead deposited their money into his personal bank account. The Securities and Exchange Commission barred Gonzalez-Seijo from the securities industry on July 5, 2019. Through its investigation, the SEC found that he stole $480,813.15 from five clients between 2013 and 2016. He pled guilty to one count of bank fraud in the criminal action that was pending against him in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico on January 31, 2019.

Rather than terminate Gonzalez-Seijo, Transamerica gave him a slap on the wrist when they discovered “unauthorized check withdrawals” in client accounts and permitted him to resign. He did not register with any other broker dealer after resigning from Transamerica in May 2016 and, given the bar imposed by the SEC last week, he will no longer be allowed to work in the securities industry in any capacity. According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Gonzalez-Seijo also sold life insurance and annuities through PGS Insurance, Inc. There are two client complaints disclosed on his BrokerCheck report for this scheme, one has been closed and one is pending.

Stoltmann Law Offices is highly experienced in representing investors who lost money in similar theft and selling away, or “Ponzi” schemes. You can find information on just a few of those cases in which Stoltmann Law Offices successfully recovered their clients’ stolen assets, and in some cases attorney’s fees, costs, interest and punitive damages on our website. “Selling away” is when a broker sells an investment to clients that is either unregistered, or not approved by the brokerage firm. Common forms of these alleged investments are promissory notes, bonds, and limited partnerships. Often times the advisor uses a shell company to misappropriate client funds. In some cases the advisor will even represent that he is investing the money in publicly traded stocks and mutual funds and will go as far as creating phony account statements to hide the theft. If the broker is not properly supervised by his firm, he can engage in this scheme for a long enough time period to abscond with the money, leaving their clients with nothing by the time they discover that the investment was fake.

Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C is investigating recent filings by both FINRA and Ameritas Investment Corp. regarding the sales practices of James F. Anderson of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. Mr. Anderson also serviced clients through offices in Iowa and Nebraska. According to Mr. Anderson’s publicly-available FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Mr. Anderson was registered with Ameritas Investment Corp. from July 2004 until he was terminated by the firm for cause in February 2019. According to Ameritas, Mr. Anderson was discharged after the conclusion of an internal investigation which determined he had sold clients indexed annuities and promissory notes without authorization from the firm.  Not surprisingly, about two months later the first customer complaint appeared on Mr. Anderson’s BrokerCheck report, alleged that he sold $400,000 in promissory notes to the investor. Just this past week, on June 3, 2019, FINRA finally stepped in and barred Mr. Anderson from the securities industry for life. Mr. Anderson was technically barred for failing to respond to requests for information and to provide on-the-record (OTR) testimony pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210. Although the FINRA Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent does not reference his selling away activities, it does not take a grand leap of faith to conclude that his termination and the customer complaint specifically referencing selling away and selling promissory notes to clients was the crux of the investigation by FINRA. By refusing to show up and provide testimony, Mr. Anderson’s silence about his misconduct is deafening indeed.

Promissory notes are an all too common tool used by brokers and financial advisors to lure investor money into their pockets. First, it is important to understand that in almost all circumstances, promissory notes are securities, which means in order to be legal in your state, they must either be registered with the state securities department, or they must be exempt from registration. The exemption is still something that must be filed with the state. So, if your financial advisor wants to sell you a promissory note, or a loan agreement, or a “memorandum of indebtedness”, it does not really matter what they call it, functionally its the same: its a promissory note. Do yourself a favor and decline the offer and call your state securities department.  Stoltmann Law Offices has prosecuted dozens of cases involving “promissory notes”, many of which turned out to be Ponzi Schemes. Just recently, we have been litigating on behalf of investors who were sold promissory notes – called “Memorandum of Indebtedness” – in now bankruptcy 1 Global Capital.

The good news for investors who get swindled into investing in promissory notes, including those who bought them from Mr. Anderson, regardless of whether Ameritas says these were approved, Ameritas is legally bound to supervise the activities of all of its registered representatives.  Further, because a promissory note is a security, and because Mr. Anderson’s job through Ameritas was to provide financial advice and sell securities, Ameritas can be liable for Mr. Anderson’s conduct through what is called Respondeat Superior. This legal theory means that the principal (Ameritas) is responsible for the conduct if its agent (Anderson) performed within the scope of his employment (selling securities and providing investment advice).  So, for investors who purchased promissory notes through Mr. Anderson, you have two avenues of recovery against Ameritas and Stoltmann Law Offices urges you to call our Chicago-based law firm at 312-332-4200 to discuss filing a FINRA Arbitration claim to recover your losses.

Bruce Page Barber, a former financial advisor with Securities America in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was barred from the securities industry. Barber allegedly solicited 15 firm customers to purchase an unapproved securities product in ABC, LLC, a company for which he served on the Board of Directors. Barber was terminated from Securities America in February 2017 after being investigated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for this misconduct. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your options of recovering your losses with the firm on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum, please call our Chicago-based law offices today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Attorneys are standing by.
According to online, public records with FINRA, Mr. Barber was previously registered with Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania from August 1998 until December 2000, and Securities America in Colorado Springs, Colorado from December 2000 until February 2017. He is currently not registered within the industry, and was barred by FINRA in September 2017.

Donald K. Gross, a former registered broker with Summit Equities, was accused of participating in a private securities transaction for compensation by selling approximately $6.2 million in limited partnership interests in a hedge fund that traded options, without providing proper notice to the firm. The hedge fund ultimately collapsed and the investors lost 95% of their investments. This is commonly referred to as “selling away,” and is when a broker recommends or sells a security that is not held or offered by his member firm. It is a tactic used by brokers so they do not have to share commissions with the member firm, and it is against securities rules and regulations. Gross’ former firm, Summit Equities, may be responsible for losses you may have sustained with Donald Gross, because of the firm’s inability to properly supervise him while he was registered there. Please call our securities law firm at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about your options. The call is free with no obligation.

Gross was registered with Global Equity Holdings in Lebanon, New Jersey from July 2001 until January 2014 and Summit Equities in Parsippany, New Jersey from November 1989 until November 2016. He has one customer dispute against him. He is not currently licensed within the industry.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Jamie Aguilar, a former broker with Morgan Stanley. Aguilar has been accused of allegedly conducting business in an outside financial transaction that he did not disclose to his firm. This is commonly referred to as “selling away,” and is against securities rules and regulations. Selling away is particularly egregious because it oftentimes provides the broker with high commissions that he does not have to share with his member firm, and typically results in high fees for the client. Oftentimes, the broker sells a promissory note or security through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers or insurance agents to clients of those side practices. Aguilar allegedly listed Events Magnificent Inc. as his selling away vehicle. In many cases of selling away, the investor is unaware that the broker’s actions are improper. We, as securities attorneys, represent investors who may have been victims of selling away on a contingency fee basis in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum. Oftentimes, the broker’s firm is responsible for the actions of the broker, as they have a duty to reasonably supervise them. Please call our Chicago-based securities law firm today to speak to one of our attorneys for free. We may be able to help you recover your financial losses with Jamie Aguilar by bringing a claim against Morgan Stanley.

According to a disciplinary proceeding by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Stuart G. Dickinson, a broker with WFG Investments, sold limited partnership interests in ATMA, LP, a private placement securities offering that offered investors the opportunity to acquire an income stream derived from the acquisition and operation of automated teller machines (ATMs) to seven customers. He is accused of not conducting due diligence on ATMA, and as a result, his seven customers suffered a total loss of over $1 million dollars, when the underlying business scheme of the offering was a fraud. The ATMs were fictional. Private placement sales are often referred to as “selling away” and are when an advisor sells a security not offered by his brokerage firm. Selling Away is against rules and regulations in the securities industry. Investment firms can be sued if their brokers sell away.

Dickinson was registered with GEO Securities from May 1982 until October 1982, Merill Lynch in New York, New York from January 1987 until April 1992, Bear, Stearns & Co in New York from April 1992 until May 2005, Linsco/Private Ledger in Boston, Massachusetts from June 2005 until November 2005 and WFG Investments in Highland Park, Texas from October 2005 until September 2013. He has two customer disputes against him. He is not licensed within the industry.

If you invested money with Stuart G. Dickinson, please call our securities law firm at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. His former firm, WFG Investments, may be held responsible for investment losses because they did not properly supervise him while he was employed there. The call is free with no obligation. We sue firms such as WFG Investments in the FINRA arbitration forum to recover money for investors.

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