Articles Posted in Broker-Dealers

SSEK Investigating The Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker, Ami Forte

Earlier this year, our investor lawyers reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had filed a lawsuit against former Morgan Stanley broker, Ami Forte. She allegedly made unauthorized trades in the now-deceased Home Shopping Network co-founder, Roy Speer’s, account while he was afflicted with dementia. 

The self-regulatory authority has now announced that it is barring Forte. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are currently investigating complaints and concerns by former customers of Ami Forte who are suspecting that their losses may be due to fraud. 

Former Raymond James (RJF) broker John Charles Wyshak is under scrutiny by our investor lawyers at SSEK Law Firm. If you are someone who previously worked with Wyshak as your financial representative while he was registered with Raymond James or any other broker-dealer, and you suffered substantial losses, your first consultation with us is a free, no obligation case assessment.

After over thirty years in the securities industry, Wyshak is no longer a registered broker or investment adviser. Recently, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel ruled against Wyshak and in favor of Raymond James, ordering him to pay the firm nearly $1M for previous investor fraud claims involving his allegedly fraudulent actions and for breaching an agreement with the broker-dealer.

Wyshak left Raymond James last year. Now, the FINRA arbitrators want him to pay the firm more than $932K in compensatory damages, in addition to 10% interest and thousands of dollars in other fees.

Our investor fraud lawyers at SSEK Law Firm are looking into claims involving former Wells Fargo (WFC) broker Leonard Kinsman (Kinsman). Kinsman currently still faces at least two customer complaints that were brought before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), one claim involves a New Jersey widow and mother of three who is accusing him of defrauding her family of their life savings.

Until July 2019, Kinsman belonged to the Wells Fargo Financial Network of brokers that operate independently, even as they use the bank’s compliance software and investment systems. No details have been provided into how or why he is no longer affiliated with the firm’s broker network.

According to the New York Post, the widow began working with Kinsman in 2012 when he was still a Merrill Lynch broker and after her husband had passed away. She requested that Kinsman place her money, a $2.27M life insurance settlement, in conservative, diversified investments that promoted long-term growth so she could support her family off the interest.

Misconduct Accusations Against Ex-Morgan Stanley Brokers

Broker Misconduct Case #1: John Tillotson

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has suspended ex-Morgan Stanley broker, John Tillotson, for 15 days and ordered him to pay a $5K fine after finding that he impersonated five clients during phone calls to a mutual fund company. This was so he could move their retirement money to the firm. 

Three Raymond James entities — Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (RJF) — have agreed to pay $15M to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges accusing the brokerage firm of charging excess commissions to customers that invested in certain united investment trusts (UITs) and, also, of improperly charging advisory fees to retail client accounts that were no longer active. As part of the settlement, the Raymond James entities will issue distributions to investors who were affected.

According to the SEC’s cease-and-desist order, from at least 1/2013 through 5/2018, Raymond James & Associates and Raymond James Financial Services Advisors:

  • Didn’t not perform suitability reviews as promised.

If you are an investor who suffered financial losses while working with former Voya Financial Advisors (VOYA) broker James T. Flynn, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. 

Our broker fraud lawyers are investigating claims brought by the former clients of Mr. Flynn while he was a registered broker with Voya Financial from 2013 to 2017 and previous to that while he worked with other financial firms. Voya fired him in 2017. 

With 18 years of experience in the industry, Flynn, who was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2018 after he failed to respond to the self-regulatory organization (SRO)’s request for more information in a probe involving him, has forty disclosures on his BrokerCheck record

UBS Financial Services (UBS) brokers Matthew Buchsbaum and Scott Rosenberg are currently the subjects of multiple investor fraud claims by firm clients who blame them for losses they sustained from the UBS YES Strategy. This Yield Enhancement Strategy (YES) is a complex investment strategy and it is not suitable for every investor.

Involving an options overlay strategy, the UBS YES Strategy uses four options having the same expiration date but different strike prices. It employs the strategic buying and selling of SPX options spreads.

UBS YES Strategy investors were told to expect “incremental returns” along with the chance to earn income through low yield assets. 

Three non-US citizens, Raz Beserglik, Gil Beserglik, and Kai Christian Peterson, are now facing US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges accusing them of causing investors, including retirees, of losing tens of millions of dollars through the sale of fraudulent binary options via their binary options brokers Morton Finance, Bloombex Options, and Starling Capital. The brokerage firm are also defendants in the regulator’s case.

According to SEC Enforcement Davison Associate Director Melissa Hodgman, investors were promised fast profits. Instead, most of them lost money, with some of them losing all of their life savings.

The regulator’s complaint said that through call centers that were run like boiler rooms in Italy and Germany, salespeople contacted prospective clients and used high pressure tactics to get them to buy speculative binary options. As a result, from 2012 through 2016, investors from the US and elsewhere gave Bloombex Options over $80M to invest. Morton Finance, meantime, had gotten over 8,000 investors to deposit more than $14.75M by 2016. Over 2,700 investors deposited almost three million through Starling Capital. The brokers continued to accept investor funds at least through 2017.

JP Morgan Securities (JPM) agreed to pay $14M to a claimant who accused its former broker Antoine Souma of misconduct that allegedly led to $20M in net losses. According to Advisor Hub, Souma, who is based in Los Angeles, was named in Barron’s 2016 Top 100 Financial Adviser list. He is currently a Morgan Stanley (MS) broker. He “vehemently denies” the allegations made in this investor fraud claim.

The claimant, Ziad Gandour, is the founder of industrial construction management company TI Capital. He accused Souma of the following:

  • Fraud

A Tennessee investor is pursuing a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against Kalos Capital, Inc. and its broker Martin Hunter McFarlin for the more than $100K in losses that he sustained from investing in non-traded real estate investment trusts (non-traded REITs) and the GPB Capital Automotive Portfolio. Now, the claimant is alleging omissions, misrepresentations, gross lack of supervision, unsuitable recommendations, and due diligence failures. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) is representing this individual in his case against Kalos and McFarlin.

Our client is a divorced dad, a small business owner, and an unsophisticated investor, which is why he turned to McFarlin and Kalos several years ago to help him invest his retirement money for him and his family. During seminars and company Christmas parties, the claimant was told that private placements were safe alternative investments.

Private Placements Are Risky Investments

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