Articles Posted in Broker Misconduct

UBS Group Fined $51M By Hong Kong Securities Regulator

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is ordering UBS Group AG (UBS) to pay a $51M fine for overcharging clients between 2008 and 2017. It is also ordering the Swiss banking giant to pay more than $25M in compensation to customers that were harmed. 

According to the Hong Kong regulator, about 5,000 clients paid more than they should have in approximately 28,700 transactions. This happened after UBS advisors and assistants added padding to spreads involving bonds, as well as structured note trades and charging extra fees. UBS Group is accused of not disclosing to clients that they were paying these fees. 

The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has revoked the registration license of First Standard Financial Company, a broker-dealer based in Red Bank, NJ. The move comes in the wake of allegations that First Standard and its representatives engaged in improper short-term trading, causing them to illegally make over $28.7M in sales charges and commissions.

Meantime, there have reportedly been an increase in customer complaints and a “mass exodus” of First Standard representatives from the firm. The state’s securities regulator is accusing the brokerage firm of “pervasive unauthorized, unsuitable, and excessive trading” that cost customers money while “unjustly enriching First Standard and its agents.”

Our brokerage firm misconduct lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) are investigating claims of current and former customers of First Standard Financial Company and its brokers, including former licensed agents Philip Sparacino and Gabriel Block. Please contact us today so that we can help you explore your legal options.

SSEK Investigating Ex-Raymond James Advisor, Stuart Nichols 

Another former Raymond James advisor has gotten into trouble over fraud allegations. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred Stuart Nichols, a former broker with the firm, after he failed to participate in the self-regulatory authority’s probe into churning allegations made against him. 

Churning involves engaging in excessive trading in a brokerage account for the purposes of making commissions. 

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has fined former Texas broker Steven Yellen $25K for allegedly making unauthorized trades while he was a registered representative for both Ameriprise (AMP) and Morgan Stanley (MS). The self-regulatory authority (SRO) notes at least 30 instances in which Yellen executed trades without customer authorization.

After more than 30 years in the industry, he is no longer affiliated with any broker-dealer after Ameriprise fired him last year. According to FINRA, from 3/2013 to 12/2015, Yellen  made 14 unauthorized trades while he was a Morgan Stanley broker, exercising unauthorized discretion in a client’s account. Meantime, when filling out compliance questionnaires, he neglected to disclose these activities.

In 2016, after 32 years with Morgan Stanley, Steven Yellen became an Ameriprise broker. During this time, he allegedly made 16 unauthorized trades in 10 customer accounts. These trades went beyond these customers’ risk levels that they’d authorized.

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations against Financial West Group and its broker Daniel Gordon Maughan.

It is alleged that Maughan excessively traded and churned a client’s Trust Account at his member firm. A arbitration complaint has already been filed!  According to his brokercheck, Maughan has also been banned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA).

The complaint alleges that by churning the customer’s trust account, Maughan willfully:

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.

SSEK Investigates Richard Cagle

If you are an investor who suffered losses while working with former Hilltop Securities Independent Network broker Richard Earl Cagle, please contact our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. With 28 years in the industry, Cagle, who was a Texas broker, was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) a few months ago after he refused to appear and testify in the self-regulatory authority’s probe into allegations that he made unsuitable investment recommendations and mismarked customer order tickets.

It was just earlier this year that Hilltop Securities fired Cagle. His BrokerCheck record shows two settled customer disputes, both alleging unsuitable recommendations. One case was settled for $20K. The other broker fraud case was settled for $230K.

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. 

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

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