Articles Tagged with Transamerica Financial Advisors

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices has represented investors who’ve suffered losses from dealing with broker-advisors who’ve sold their clients variable annuities. One thing we see constantly in our practice is older investors who’ve been sold variable annuities that are onerously expensive and nearly always fail to live up to expectations. Variable annuities are investment products that offer restrictive access to mutual funds with an insurance wrapper. They are expensive to buy and carry ongoing fees and expenses that eat away at investor return. They also offer a tax incentive that brokers love to use as a sales point that in reality provides no benefit to most investors.

The main reason why variable annuities are usually poor investments is that they charge several layers of fees to investors. Everyone gets a cut from the insurance company to mutual fund managers. It’s very difficult for anyone outside of the middlemen to make money. Brokers and their advisory firms, however, sell them aggressively because the insurance companies that pilfer annuities pay out huge commissions to the salesmen who sell them.

Broker-advisors are perennially being cited for variable annuity marketing abuses. Transamerica Financial Advisors was recently fined $8.8 million by FINRA for “failing to supervise its registered representatives’ (brokers) recommendations for three different products,” which included annuities. The firm was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution.  The FINRA settlement cited Transamerica’s failure to monitor transactions that involved clients switching from other investments to annuities, which generated millions in commissions and fees for the firms. This is an egregious practice in the brokerage industry that mostly focuses on older and retired investors.

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating claims made by the Securities and Exchange Commission that financial advisor Scott Fries of Piqua, Ohio engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme , defrauding investors of nearly $200,000.  According to the complaint filed by the SEC last week, Fries raised approximately $178,000 from investors and used that money to pay personal expenses like his mortgage, payday loans, and credit cards. The SEC further alleges that Fries attempted to fraudulently conceal his activities by creating fake account statements which he delivered to his clients that purported to show their money invested in legitimate investments. The SEC alleges Fries’ misconduct violated several federal securities laws including Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a), and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 80b-6(1) and 80b-6(2).

Before the SEC took action, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred Fries from the securities industry in November 2019 for violating FINRA Rule 8210. In response to being terminated for cause by his broker/dealer firm TransAmerica, FINRA launched an investigation into the allegations which led to Fries’ termination. If a broker/advisor fails to respond to these requests for information under FINRA Rule 8210, they can be barred for life from the securities industry. In many instances, brokers refuse to answer Rule 8210 requests because doing so would put them in the untenable position of having to answer question under oath.  It is likely, given the SEC’s allegations, that Fries chose not to answer FINRA Rule 8210 requests because it was not in his best interest for their to be a record of whatever this scheme actually was.

Investors who were caught up in this scheme run by Fries have legal options to attempt to recover their losses.  First and foremost, at all times relevant, Fries was a registered, licensed, representative of TransAmerica. This means victims – even those that were not contractual customers of TransAmerica – can file an arbitration action against TransAmerica to seek recovery of their losses. As a FINRA registered broker/dealer firm, TransAmerica is legally obligated to supervise the conduct of its financial advisors. This supervision requirement is rooted in the Securities Act and all applicable state laws, including myriad FINRA Rules and regulations, including FINRA Rule 3110.  Case law also supports the proposition that even non-customers of the firm can sue for the firm’s role in facilitating or failing to supervise their advisors. See McGraw v. Wachovia Securities, 756 F. Supp. 2d 1053 (N.D. Iowa 2010). When “red flags”of misconduct present themselves, firms like TransAmerica have a duty to act and to take steps to protect investors.

Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C. is investigating allegations made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that Jose Yniguez sold clients approximately $99,000 worth of investments in an outside company. Fortunately for defrauded investors, TransAmerica Advisors, the company with whom Mr. Yniguez was licensed and registered, could ultimately be liable for any losses in connection with these illicit investment recommendation. Victims of investment fraud can file claims through the FINRA Arbitration process to recover investment losses.

The allegations against Yniguez were unveiled just this week through FINRA regulatory filing called an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC).  In this document, which is signed by Yniguez, FINRA Department of Enforcement alleges that on November 19, 2018, TransAmerica reported in a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry (Form U-5) that Yniguez was terminated for “engaging in undisclosed activities with and referring firm and non-firm customers to investment with an outside entity without TransAmerica’s approval.” That Form U-5 spurred FINRA Department of Enforcement’s interest and it launched an investigation into Mr. Yniguez pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210.  FINRA concluded that Yniguez violated FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010 by failing to disclose his involvement with an outside company to TransAmerica. He also solicited eight firm customer to invest in the entity, which is a violation of FINRA Rule 3280.

Just because this activity was undisclosed, does not mean TransAmerica is off the hook. FINRA Rule 3110 requires TransAmerica to adequately supervise its financial advisors. Further, to the extent “red-flags” existed that Mr. Yniguez was engaging in this unauthorized activity, that creates an obligation to “peel the onion” and act. TransAmerica, for example, cannot just ignore emails sent by Yniguez discussing this outside company. It must act and protect both its clients and its own business interests. By failing to reasonable supervise Yniguez, TransAmerica can be liable for negligence to the investors in this scheme. Likewise, due to the fact that outside investments were securities; were sold by a securities broker; to clients of a securities brokerage firm; regardless of whether Yniguez disclosed it to the firm, TransAmerica can be liable for damages due to apparent agency or Respondeat Superior.

According to a plea agreement filed January 9th, 2018 in U.S. District Court, Daniel Glick was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, wire fraud. He could potentially be facing up to 10 to 15 years in prison. These criminal charges were filed against him on November 15th, 2017. Glick, a former Orland Park, Illinois investment advisor, allegedly stole more than $5 million from clients, including his elderly in-laws, in order to use it to fund personal expenses. As stated in his plea agreement filed in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Glick defrauded several clients and financial institutions by misappropriating at least $5.2 million from them during a six-year period, from 2011 until 2017. During this time, Mr. Glick owned and operated Financial Management Strategies Inc., Glick Accounting Services Inc., and Glick & Associates Ltd, which purported to provide investment and financial services to clients, as well as accounting and tax services.

Glick allegedly forged checks and other documents to financial institutions and falsely told his clients, which included his elderly mother and father in-law, and an individual in a nursing home, that their investments were safe and useful ones. Glick also allegedly obtained power of attorney from at least one of the clients. He used the ill-gotten gains to pay a home mortgage, two business loans and to purchase a Mercedes-Benz.

According to the charges, Glick forged signatures on letters and checks, including those of his in-laws, in order to make transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars from their checking account to his company’s own. Another family allegedly paid him $700,000 in fees, even though he had already misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of theirs, unbeknownst to them. Glick then used inflated interest and overstated the amount of the investments in account statements that he sent to investors, in order to perpetrate the scheme. He also allegedly made ponzi-like payments to clients, taking newly acquired money and giving it to original investors.

Did you lose money with Daniel Glick? If so, the attorneys at Stoltmann Law Offices are interested in speaking with you. According to a complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Glick was accused of taking advantage of senior citizens who entrusted him with their retirement savings and exploited members of their families. Glick and his firm, Transamerica, took millions of dollars from victims. He gained control over millions of dollars of investor funds with the understanding that he would invest them. He and his company then diverted investor funds for improper purposes and misappropriated money from the investors. He spent some of the money on himself. Glick then used inflated interest and overstated the amount of the investments in account statements that he sent to investors.

According to his public records, Glick was registered with Terra Securities Corp, Long Grove Trading, WMA Securities, World Group Securities, World Equity Group and Transamerica Financial Advisors in Orland Park, Illinois from January 2012 until March 2014. He has been permanently barred from the industry. We are Chicago and Barrington, Illinois-based securities attorneys who may be able to help you recover any investment losses you may have sustained with Mr. Glick and his former firm, Transamerica. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only. The call is free with no obligation. 312–332–4200.

Former Puerto Rico-based TransAmerica Financial Investors broker Pedro G. Seijo recently resigned from the firm while being under “internal review.” There were allegations that he was involved with “unauthorized check withdrawals” from two clients’ variable annuity contracts and subsequent deposits into “an unauthorized account.” Another customer alleged that he executed “unauthorized withdrawals and subsequent check deposits” in relation to a variable annuity investment. Seijo was registered with Transamerica Financial Advisors in San Juan, Puerto Rico from December 1991 until May 2016. He has two customer disputes against him, both of which are currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry. The attorneys at Stoltmann Law Offices are interested in speaking with those investors who may have lost money with Seijo, as we may be able to help them recover their losses on a contingency fee basis. We bring arbitration claims against firms such as Transamerica in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum. Please call today.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred three advisors from the industry for allegedly stealing from clients. The first broker was Nahuel Rodriguez, a former advisor with Primerica Financial Services, who allegedly stole $26,144 from investors, three of whom were self-employed housekeepers. He allegedly told one of the customers to liquidate her IRA by falsely telling her that he would transfer money to a new account that would produce greater returns. He also impersonated one of the customers when he directed his firm to liquidate the customer’s joint account at the firm. Once the firm had, he told the joint account customers that the firm mistakenly had wired money from his account into theirs. It was then that he took the money for himself.

The second broker was Lori Hermanson, who worked as a treasurer for a non-profit and allegedly stole $26,000 between January 2012 and November 2015. Hermanson was a contract broker with Transamerica Financial Advisors at the time.

The third broker was William Roldan, a JP Morgan Chase bank employee, who stole $26,000 from clients via ATM withdrawals between July and November of 2015. Roldan was immediately terminated. If you lost money with any of the above brokers, please call our securities law firm in Chicago to speak to an attorney about your options of recovering. The call is free.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Voya Financial Advisors, Transamerica Financial Advisors, Investacorp Inc., J.P. Turner, National Planning Corp and Cetera Investment Services, all broker-dealers fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for failing to give clients appropriate breakpoint discounts on large sales of nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business development companies. The fines were as follows:

Voya Financial: $325,000

Transamerica: $51,000

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Tracy Wengert, who is not licensed to act as a broker or investment adviser, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). His BrokerCheck report states that he allegedly misrepresented material facts related to an investment, place unsuitable and high-risk trades, managed client accounts on a discretionary basis without approval or oversight through another broker-dealer, breached fiduciary duty, mischaracterized losses and attempted to settle away from his member firm, among other transgressions. These are all against securities rules and regulations.

Tracy Neal Wengert was registered with WMA Securities in Duluth, Georgia from February 1999 until April 2002, World Group Securities in Mesa, Arizona from April 2002 until January 2012 and Transamerica Financial Advisors in Mesa from January 2012 until February 2015. He has four customer disputes against him, three of which are currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry. If you suffered losses with Tracy Wengert, his former firm, Transamerica, may be responsible for your losses. Please call our securities law firm at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney. We may be able to Transamerica in the FINRA arbitration process to recover your money losses. The call is free with no obligation.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Emily S. Pao, a former registered representative with HSBC Securities. She entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA alleged that Pao converted funds from a retail bank customer, which is against securities rules and regulations. FINRA subsequently barred her from the industry. Pao was registered with WMA Securities in Duluth, Georgia from September 1996 until April 2002, World Group Securities in San Gabriel, California from April 2002 until January 2012, Transamerica Financial Advisors in San Gabriel from January 2012 until December 2012 and HSBC Securities in San Gabriel from October 2012 until June 2015. She is not currently licensed and FINRA permanently barred her from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.

If you or someone you know invested money with Emily S. Pao, please call our Chicago-based securities law firm at 312-332-4200 for a free consultation with an attorney. There is no obligation. We sue firms such as her former firm, HSBC, in the FINRA arbitration forum in order to recover money for investors. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only, so we only receive money if you recover your losses.

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