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Articles Posted in Broker Misconduct

Fired Cetera Advisors Broker Accused Of Unauthorized Securities Sales

Our stockbroker fraud attorneys are speaking to former clients of former Cetera Advisors LLC broker, Roger Lee Owens that sustained substantial investment losses while working with him. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) today to schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation. 

Cetera Advisors fired Roger Owens last year for allegedly taking part in unapproved private securities transactions. A few months later, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended Owens for a year, through August 2020, for the same reasons. 

In a recent award, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel has decided that Merrill Lynch must pay a former professional baseball player and his wife $1.7 million in compensatory damages, plus $88,758 in costs, for losses they sustained from investing in Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end bond funds. The retired MLB player is Angel Pagan and his wife is Windy Pagan, a former Ms. Puerto Rico. Angel was an outfielder for the NY Mets, the Chicago Cubs, and the San Francisco Giants before retiring to live on the island.

The couple invested $3.3M in the Puerto Rico bonds at the recommendation of their Merrill Lynch broker, Alex Jose Gierbolini (Gierbolini), who previously worked at UBS Financial Services of Puerto Rico (UBS). UBS has been the subject of thousands of investor claims for losses sustained when the Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end bond funds plunged in value beginning in 2013. It was while Gierbolini was a UBS financial representative that he sold to the Pagans the majority of their bonds.

Gierbolini continued to work with the couple when he moved to Merrill Lynch in 2012. They contend that Merrill Lynch and Gierbolini disregarded red flags indicating that the Puerto Rico bonds were headed downward. This left the Pagans’ portfolio overexposed.

Barred Broker Named In Almost 50 Customer Complaints 

Anthony Diaz, a former Pennsylvania stockbroker and investment advisor who has been the subject of dozens of customer complaints, is finally on trial for fraud. Jury selection is slated to start this week. 

Our investor lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are speaking with former investors who worked with Diaz at one of the 11 brokerage firms where he was registered including Edward Jones, Raymond James and First Allied Securities to help determine if they have grounds for a broker fraud claim. 

National Planning Ordered to pay $2.6M to Older Investor

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel is ordering National Planning Corp. to pay a customer, who is in her eighties, $2.6M after her former stockbroker, William August Glaser, sold her unsuitable investments. The investments including fraudulent promissory notes and non-traded REITs (real estate investment trusts). $1M of the award is for punitive damages.

William Glaser, who was fired by National Planning and barred by FINRA in 2017, is currently in prison for wire fraud.

Collateral Yield Enhancement Strategy (CYES) Damages: SSEK Investigating Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor 

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas (SSEK), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors is looking into allegations against Gordon Harper, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch out of Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Prior to that, he worked at Banc of America and Edward Jones. 

According to allegations in a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) claim, Gordon Harper recommended something called Harvest Volatility Management CYES (also known as collateral yield enhancement strategy). Harvest is a money manager which, as the name implies, attempts to manage volatility. 

Ex-Royal Alliance Broker Stole Money From Older Women With Disabilities

If you suffered losses while working with former Royal Alliance Associates broker, Gary Basralian, our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) want to talk to you. 

Gary Basralian, whom the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred in 2018, is currently in prison for fraud, including bilking older women who suffered from disabilities. Recently, Royal Alliance, an Advisor Group firm, agreed to pay $250K to settle a related regulatory case brought by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities for not properly supervising Basralian. 

SSEK Law Firm investigates Martin David Batstone and Newbridge Securities Corp.

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK Law Firm”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations against Martin David Batstone, formerly employed by Newbridge Securities Corp. out of San Diego, California. Prior to that he worked at Crown Capital Securities and Independent Financial Group, LLC.  According to allegations, Batstone used his position as a financial advisor to solicit investments in an outside business activity.  It is unclear if this outside operation was approved by Newbridge Securities or his prior employers. It is further alleged Batstone utilized a portion of the funds for his own use.  The practice of soliciting firm clients to invest in outside business activities is referred to as “selling away” and is prohibited by most firms.  Often times it turns out these unapproved outside investments are controlled by the financial advisor, or at the very least there is renumeration of some sort.

Perhaps due to the above conduct, Batstone is no longer in the business.  However, a formal complaint has been filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) against Batstone. Therein it is alleged that Batstone solicited $75,000 from clients to invest in a small limited liability company which claimed to provide brand management and product placement services for entertainers and athletes.  According to the complaint, the company was owned by a former rapper and DJ.  Batstone claimed in his sales pitch that the proceeds would be used for operating expenses and marketing of a sports energy drink.  At some point in time, it is alleged, that Batstone transferred some assets to his personal bank account.  The complaint further states that Batstone never advised his clients of that fact.  The FINRA complaint is still pending.

Barred Woodbury Financial Services Broker Accused of Misrepresentations and Fraud

If you are an investor who lost money while Robert Hayes Hoffman was your financial representative, our broker misconduct lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) would like to talk to you. Hoffman was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2017 and the Indiana Securities Division in 2018. He was a Woodbury Financial Services broker from 2006 and 2017. After that, for less than a year, he was a Thurston, Springer, Miller, Herd & Titak broker until the FINRA bar.

Hoffman’s BrokerCheck History notes that he has already been the subject of at least three customer disputes. One claim, alleging unsuitability, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, and selling away, was settled for $250K. Another customer dispute, which made similar allegations, including churning, was settled for over $1M. A third dispute, which accused Hoffman of recommending a variable annuity that was not only unsuitable for the claimant but also resulted in tax consequences for her, was settled for nearly $48K.

Former Pruco Securities Broker Accused of Borrowing Customers’ Money

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it is barring Joseph Viet Duy Phan, an ex-Pruco Securities broker, after he did not appear at a hearing in the self-regulatory organization’s (SRO) probe into why he was fired by the broker-dealer. Phan was let go by Pruco for allegedly borrowing money from two clients’ accounts without firm approval. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) is currently looking into potential investor claims against the former Pruco broker and his firm. If you lost money while working with Phan as your registered representative, contact our broker fraud lawyers today.

Phan was a Pruco broker from 2007 into 2018. Aside from allegedly borrowing money from clients’ accounts without authorization, he is also accused of trying to deposit one client’s insurance premium check into an account that was in his name.

NYPPEX Private Equity Fund Manager Accused Of $13M Investor Fraud 

Laurence G. Allen, the CEO of New York-based broker-dealer, NYPPEX Holdings LLC, is accused of defrauding investors of over $13M. New York Attorney General, Leticia James, filed a securities fraud lawsuit suing Allen, a private equity manager who is also a registered broker and a former investment advisor. 

If you were one of these investors that suffered losses from working with Laurence Allen, contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. 

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