Articles Posted in Lincoln Financial Advisors

SSEK Investigate Lincoln Investment Planning Broker, Lester Burroughs

If Lincoln Investment Planning investment advisor and broker, Lester Burroughs, worked with you as an investor and you suffered financial losses that you suspect may be due to fraud or negligence, please contact our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. 

Burroughs, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the criminal case against him, is currently at the center of a parallel US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint accusing him of defrauding retail investors. Now, the regulator is seeking a jury trial in its civil lawsuit against the Lincoln Investment Planning broker, who had been based out of Connecticut.  

Ex-Newbridge Securities Broker Involved in $131M Fraud Pleads Guilty 
Gerald Cocuzzo, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud related to his involvement in a $131M market manipulation scam involving Forcefield Energy Inc. (FNRG). According to the U.S. Justice Department, between 1/2009 and 4/2015, Cocuzzo and others sought to bilk investors in the publicly traded company that globally distributes and provides LED lighting products. They did this by artificially manipulating the volume and price of the shares that were traded.

Meantime, Cocuzzo received kickbacks for buying Forcefield stock in his clients’ brokerage accounts. He did not tell the customers that he was receiving these payments. Instead, he and several others sought to hide their involvement.

Newbridge Securities fired Cocuzzo earlier this year following the federal indictment. Before working at Newbridge, he was registered with IAA Financial, previously called CBG Financial Group Inc.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Credit Suisse (CS), and fourteen other big banks have agreed to changes that will be made to swaps contracts. The modifications are designed to assist in the unwinding of firms that have failed.

Under the plan, which was announced by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, banks’ counterparties that are in resolution proceedings will postpone contract termination rights and collateral demands. According to ISDA CEO Scott O’Malia, the industry initiative seeks to deal with the too-big-to-fail issue while lowing systemic risks.

Regulators have pressed for a pause in swaps collateral collection. They believe this could allow banks the time they need to recapitalize and prevent the panic that ensued after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. failed in 2008. Regulators can then move the assets of a failing firm, as well as its other obligations, into a “bridge” company so that derivatives contracts won’t need to be unwound and asset sales won’t have to be conducted when the company is in trouble. Delaying when firms can terminate swaps after a company gets into trouble prevents assets from disappearing and payments from being sent out in disorderly, too swift fashion as a bank is dismantled.

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin announced today that the state has reached a $9.6M securities settlement with five independent brokerage dealers-Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. (AMP), Commonwealth Financial Network, Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., Royal Alliance Associates Inc., & Securities America Inc.-over the allegedly inappropriate sale of nontraded real estate investment trusts to investors. $8.6M of this is restitution to them.

Galvin says that the investigation, which was triggered by complaints from customers, led to the discovery of a “pattern of impropriety” in the sale of these securities by independent broker-dealers where supervision has been hard to “maintain.” As part of the nontraded REIT settlement, Ameriprise will pay $2.6 in restitution and a $400K fine, Securities America will pay $778K in restitution and a $150K fine, Royal Alliance will pay $59K in restitution and a $25K fine, Commonwealth Financial Network will pay a $2.1M restitution and a $300K fine, and Lincoln Financial will pay a $504K restitution and a $100K fine.

The non-traded REIT agreement with these independent brokerage firms comes just three months after Galvin settled a similar securities fraud case with LPL Financial Holdings Inc. accusing that financial firm of inadequately supervising their brokers tasked with selling the financial instruments. LPL Financial agreed to pay $2.5M in restitution and a $500K administrative fee over seven nontraded REITs that were sold.

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel says that Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation must pay the Wright Family Trust $1.6M over securities claims related to investments that were made in a number of funds. Andrew and Blenda Wright, the claimants, alleged fraud, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, failure to supervise, elder abuse, unauthorized and unsuitable transactions, and breach of contract. Other respondents named in the claim are Rollance Vekennis and John Marshall.

The claims are related to the investments made in:
• Rye Select Broad Market Fund, which is a Bernard L. Madoff Investment Services LLC feeder fund
• Johnston Asset Management International Equity Fund
• Mount Yale Large Cap Growth Fund
• Mount Yale Mid Cap Growth Qualified Fund
• Mount Yale Large Cap Value Qualified Fund
• Mount Yale Small Cap Qualified Fund
• Kinetics Advisers Institutional Partners Fund

The claimants had sought $1.5 million in compensatory damages.

The FINRA panel has ordered the respondents to pay $1.17 million in compensatory damages, including 10% annual interest between the date of the award and the time it is paid. Lincoln Financial must also pay another $590,000 in compensatory damages (also with 10% yearly interest until paid), the $600 initial filing fee, $22,800 in hearing session fees, and $8,550 in member fees.

Related Web Resources:
FINRA Panel Awards $1.76M For Madoff and Other Fund Investments, OnWallStreet, April 29, 2011

FINRA

More Blog Posts:
SEC Approves FINRA’s Proposal to Give Investors an All-Public Arbitration Panel Option, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 12, 2011

Raymond James Must Pay $925,000 Over Auction-Rate Securities Dispute, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, September 1, 2010

Linsco Private Ledger Clients File FINRA Arbitration Claims Accusing Former Financial Adviser Raymond Londo of Running Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scam, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 13, 2010

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