Articles Posted in Broker Misconduct

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

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.

SSEK Investigates Eddie Lyons Of Raymond James & Associates

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations against Eddie Lyons as noted by FINRA.  Lyons was a financial advisor registered with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. He was terminated, in part, due to allegations by his clients that he engaged in unauthorized trading of accounts.

FINRA then initiated an investigation in November 2017.  The inquiry was based on several complaints from customers.  The allegations ran the gambit of bad acts. These include, but may not be limited to, unauthorized trading. 

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

An investor who filed an arbitration claim against Arkadios Capital for selling her GPB Capital Holdings private placements now has a hearing date set before a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel: April 20, 2020. This is one of the first GPB investor fraud case brought against a brokerage firm to get a hearing scheduled before one of the self-regulatory authority’s (SRO) arbitrators. Our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) are representing this claimant.

The investor, who is a woman from the greater Atlanta, Georgia area, is claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement fund losses after her financial adviser, an Arkadios broker, recommended the GPB securities to her. While with the broker-dealer, her portfolio became especially concentrated in private placements, including the GPB Holdings II Limited Partnership. Now, the claimant is contending that this GPB investment, in particular, was an extremely unsuitable recommendation for her, especially since it involved her IRA from which no losses can be offset.

Our client maintains that she was not aware of the risks involved in the investment strategy used by her Arkadios broker. She is alleging unsuitable recommendations, omissions, misrepresentations, gross negligence, due diligence failures, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and inadequate supervision. The investor is seeking damages, interest, and costs.

If former Cetera Advisers broker James Christopher Hayne has handled your investments  and you suffered investment losses that you suspect were due to fraud or negligence, you should speak with an experienced stockbroker fraud law firm right away. Over the years, Hayne, a Texas broker, has been named in numerous customer arbitration claims brought  before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

With 17 years in the industry, Hayne, previously was a registered broker with Questar Capital, First Allied Securities, Edward Jones, and Morgan Stanley. His BrokerCheck record shows nine customer disputes, five of which were settled.

Most recently, there was the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority claim brought against Hayne by a customer that was resolved for $325K. The former client had requested $100K in damages. In that investor fraud case, Hayne  was accused of violating both the Texas Securities Act and California Corporate Securities Law, breaching contractual duties to the claimant, negligence in the way he handled the latter’s account, and causing the customer to suffer investment losses.

Dawn Bennett, an ex-financial advisor and broker, is sentenced to 20 years in prison for operating a $20M Ponzi scam that involved 46 investors. She also must pay $14.5M in restitution and forfeit another $14M.

Many of Bennett’s victims were retirees who heard about her because she hosted a radio show. In 2018, Bennett was convicted by a jury on federal charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements on a loan application.

According to evidence given at trial, Bennett solicited investors for her online clothing business DJB Holdings, LLC, also known as DJBennett.com, touting a 15% yearly interest rate through promissory and convertible notes.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has taken action against two former Wells Fargo (WFC) representatives. Ex-broker Michael Garris has been suspended for a year after the self-regulatory organization found that he made 26 unauthorized trades in the account of a client who he knew had died.

Garris was fired by Wells Fargo over a year ago. According to FINRA, he made more than $9K in commissions from the unauthorized transactions in late 2017, several months after the client’s nephew had notified him of the death. Garris failed to tell the brokerage firm of the client’s passing.

Wells Fargo has since refunded the commissions that Garris made from the transactions, reversed the transactions that were not authorized, and placed the account back to its former positions from before the customer died.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that because of its mutual fund waiver initiative, it has arrived at a settlement with 56 broker-dealers that will provide almost 110,000 retirement and charitable accounts with $89M in restitution. Two of the firms, Western International Securities and Park Avenue Securities, settled on the same day that the self-regulatory organization (SRO) announced the multi-firm resolution. According to FINRA, the brokerage firms neglected to wave mutual fund sales charges for accounts that were eligible and they did not properly supervise the  sales.

FINRA’s Mutual Fund Waiver Initiative

FINRA launched its mutual fund waiver initiative in 2016 after arriving at a settlements with 10 member firms that self-reported how, going as far back as 2009, their registered representatives did not always apply sales waivers when warranted to the accounts of charitable and retirement plan accounts that bought mutual fund shares. While mutual funds are offered in different share classes and usually charge a sales fee upfront, a lot of the funds will waive the upfront fee on the more expensive Class A shares for certain retirement accounts and charities. The SRO also found that the firms had failed to adequately supervise these transactions, which could have helped to ensure that the mutual fund sales waivers were granted.

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