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Articles Posted in Broker Fraud

Former Kentucky-Based Merrill Lynch Broker Gets Eight Years in Prison

Christopher Lee Hibbard, a former stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and Pierce, Fenner & Smith is sentenced to eight years in prison. The ex-Kentucky stockbroker pleaded guilty to investment fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud earlier this year. 

Hibbard, who worked 18 years in the industry, has 14 disclosures on his BrokerCheck record, including several pending customer disputes. All of them, including the regulator and criminal cases, were filed over the last two years. 

Seeking Greater Yield and Safety, Muni Bond Customers Encounter Defaults 

Despite the fact that the coronavirus has taken a toll on city and state finances, this isn’t stopping investors from buying municipal debt in a bid for greater yield and more safety than the markets can provide at this time. Unfortunately, because many municipalities don’t have the money to pay interest on the bonds, these muni bonds are defaulting. This is bad news for investors. 

If you suffered losses from the municipal bonds that your broker recommended to you, you may have grounds for an investor claim to recover your losses. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at investorlawyers.com) represents municipal bond fraud investors nationwide. We can help you explore your legal options. 

FINRA Suspended New York Broker After Senior Investor Lost More Than $69K

Mack Leon Miller, a Spartan Capital Securities broker in New York, was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) earlier this year. The self-regulatory organization (SRO) found that Miller excessively traded in an older investor’s account while he was with Spartan and before that while registered as a broker with Dawson James Securities. 

Miller consented to the sanctions but without admitting to or denying the findings. In addition to the suspension, which lasted from May 4 to October 3, 2020, Miller was ordered to pay $2500 in restitution. According to his BrokerCheck record, now that his suspension is over, Mack Miller remains a registered Spartan Capital Securities stockbroker. 

Florida-Based Financial Management Company Employee Allegedly Stole Money 

Albertín Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz, the star relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, has filed an investment fraud lawsuit against Pro Management Resources and several individuals. The financial management and tax planning company reportedly has also been serving as Chapman’s business manager for almost a decade. Now, the MLB pitcher is accusing the company of stealing $3M.

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at investorlawyers.com) represent investors in Florida that have suffered investment losses due to broker and financial fraud or negligence. Contact us at (813) 560-2992 or by using our online contact form so that we can help you explore your legal options.

Investors Who Were Sold Telecommunication Company’s Bonds Grapple with Losses 

In its second sale in two months, Frontier Communications Corp. wants to sell $2.8B in junk bonds to help pay for its exit from bankruptcy. 

According to sources that spoke with Bloomberg, this includes new $1.8B first-lien bonds at an about 5.25% yield and another $1B of second-lien notes at a 7 – 7.25% yield. The new bonds, along with an increase to an existing term loan, are meant to allow Frontier to pay back debt it owes that will mature in 2024 and 2026.

Retail Investors Were Allegedly Told To Hold Exchange-Traded Products for Too Long 

In separate settlements reached with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Royal Alliance Associates, Securities America Advisors, Summit Financial Group, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., and American Portfolio Financial Services / American Portfolio Advisers will pay over $3M in penalties and restitution for their allegedly unsuitable sales of exchange-traded products (ETPs) to customers between January 2016 and April 2020. The firms did not deny or admit to the findings. 

All of the respondents recommended and sold iPath S&P 500 VIX Short–Term Futures ETNs (VXX), which utilize short-terms futures contracts to try tracking the S&P 500 Index’s implied volatility. It also is considered one of the largest and most volatile ETPs and among the worst-performing from last year.

Banned Woodbury Financial Broker Allegedly Sold Fake Investments, Converted Client Monies

Ronald Walter Hannes, a Spokane, Washington-based investment advisor and former Woodbury Financial Services broker, is accused by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions of defrauding 19 clients of over $2.9M. 

Hannes had operated out of Hannes Financial Services and he was also a registered Woodbury Financial Services broker for 25 years until 2019. He has 33 years of experience working in the industry. Hannes was fired by Woodbury Financial Services last December. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred him in February.

Scottsdale, Arizona Investment Advisor Was Fired By Broker-Dealer Coastal Securities

Luke Michael Johnson, currently Managing Director for Prime Capital Investment Advisors in Paradise Valley in the Scottsdale area, is named in over a dozen pending disputes by investors seeking damages for losses they allegedly suffered while working with him. Johnson was also the president of Legend Capital Group and a former Capital Securities broker where he worked for seven years. 

There are 19 disclosures on his BrokerCheck record. The majority of these are investor claims, with a number of them requesting damages that are in the six- or seven-figures.

Investor Contends Insigneo Securities Broker Unsuitably Handled Account

A former customer of Felipe Henao Vargas, an Insigneo Securities stockbroker, is pursuing a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against the brokerage firm for $1.3M in damages related to the iPath Series B S & P 500 Short Term Futures ETN (VXX). Henao is also a registered investment advisor with Global Investor Advisory Services, LLC in Miami, Florida. 

The investor said that Henao had placed a short-term trade for 20,000 of the Barclays exchange-traded note (ETN) in late February 2020 in the investor’s account and then made another trade a few weeks later to cover the short. The claimant reportedly wrote an email expressing concerns over the brokerage account’s performance, which had depreciated in value, and Henao’s lack of communication.

High Net Worth Individual Investor Alleges That UBS Group AG Persuaded Him To Buy On Margin 

Guo Wengui, a rich Chinese businessman exiled in New York, has filed a lawsuit against UBS Financial Group after losing $500M. 

Wengui contends that the bank pressured him into borrowing funds to invest in shares of Haitong Securities, Co., a brokerage firm in China. This high net worth institutional investor alleges that in 2015, UBS forced the stock’s sale during both a 45% drop in Haitong’s shares, which were traded in Hong Kong and a market route. Guo said that he lost his entire investment.

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