Articles Posted in LPL Financial

Cleveland, Ohio

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking at allegations by FINRA into former Linsco Private Ledger (LPL) financial advisor, Jeffery Vasiloff (“Vasiloff”).  Vasiloff worked at LPL in 2018 and was not employed very long.  Vasiloff was fired, according to FINRA,  due to allegations of utilizing discretion without obtaining the proper written authority.  As a result, he was also suspended from acting as a financial advisor by FINRA.  He previously worked at Invest Financial Corporation and appears to be based out of Vermilion, Ohio.  After serving his suspension, Vasiloff became employed by JW Cole Financial.

Vasiloff never admitted nor denied FINRA’s finding.  However, he consented to the sanctions imposed and accepted the findings that he acted improperly by refusing to obtain prior consent, in writing, from the client before acting on that client’s behalf.  LPL simply reported to FINRA that Vasiloff was discharged for “use of discretion without prior written authorization.”

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations made by FINRA in a recent AWC filing against Booth.   In February 2018 LPL acquired INVEST.  Booth had been working at INVEST since 2005 and has been a broker since 1988.  In the AWC it is alleged that Booth received client assets with the promise of investing said assets on behalf of the clients.  Booth instead used client assets for his own personal use and never actually invested the assets.

According to Booth’s official record or CRD, he has 25 disclosures or claims against him.  This is an unusually high number, and generally indicates poor supervision.  Almost all of the complaints are on the violative conduct listed above.  According to the FINRA CRD report, most of his former clients complain of a “Ponzi scheme using multiple shell companies.”

LPL fired Booth, and according to LPL this was done after Booth admitted to misappropriation of multiple client’s assets for his own use. It should be noted that FINRA has also barred Booth from the industry and can no longer act as a stockbroker or advisor under FINRA.

In an agreement reached with the North American State Securities Administrators Association, LPL Financial (LPLA) will pay $26M in fines to a number of US states and jurisdictions over unregistered securities sales going back more than a decade. NASAA reports that the settlement comes after a task force was set up last summer to probe LPL’s sales of unregistered, non-exempt  securities to clients.  Now, LPL will pay $499K to each state securities regulator.  It also must buy back certain securities that it sold to investors going as far back as October 2006.

Details of the LPL Settlement for the Sale of Unregistered Securities 

Per the settlement, LPL will offer to repurchase securities in the brokerage firm’s accounts that were found to have been unregistered, fixed-income or non-exempt equity securities. Every buyback offer will come with 3% simple interest annually. Requirements were also put in place for investors with “affected securities” that were moved or sold from an LPL account.

LPL Financial Holdings (LPLA) brokers and investment advisers will now be able to offer their clients securities lending services through Goldman Sachs (GS). Under the new arrangement, LPL clients can borrow anywhere from $75,000 to $25 million against the securities held in their accounts.

In a press release, Goldman Sachs spoke about how through its Goldman Sachs Private Bank Select, LPL clients would be able to borrow these funds for “life events,” including travel or education, without having to sell their investments. However, the money borrowed cannot be used to purchase more investments. Goldman noted that its “high-tech platform” would be able to reduce wait time for a non-purpose securities- based loan from weeks to days, with no fees charged.

Over 15,000 LPL financial advisors will now be able to offer clients access to Goldman’s securities lending capabilities. The independent investment advisory firm joins 40 other such firms and broker-dealers on Goldman’s GS Select platform.

Securities Lending Comes with Significant Risks

The ability to borrow against securities is often touted as a benefit to investors. However, securities lending may not be the best choice in the long run for many investors. While such loans allow clients to borrow against what is in their accounts, certain risks come with this advantage, including forced liquidation of accounts during bad market moves.

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Beaumont, TX Investment Adviser is Suspended for 90 Days
In a Disciplinary Order, the Texas State Securities Board suspended former LPL Financial LLC (LPLA) investment adviser Jason N. Anderson for 90 days. The state contends that while registered with that firm, Anderson touted an active-trading program to clients that charged them unreasonable fees, which included commissions to Anderson, as well as trading costs.

For example, one client paid costs that were approximately 30% of “the value of the average equity securities” in the client’s account. The Texas regulator said that the trading program would have had to make “extraordinary returns” for investors to “offset” such fees or even, in some cases, allow them to merely “break-even.”

The order called the commissions and trading costs “inequitable practices” that violated the Texas Securities Act. The state accused Anderson of not having reasonable grounds for believing that the trading program would be appropriate for these clients.

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Former LPL Broker is Barred For Not Disclosing Private Securities Sales

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced a bar against Leslie Koonce, an ex-LPL(LPLA) broker. According to the self-regulatory organization, Koonce lied when he failed to disclose that he had engaged in private securities sales. Koonce allegedly pitched a private company’s convertible promissory notes to at least 30 potential investors.

The FINRA case contends that not only did Koonce help facilitate the transfer of $175K to at least three LPL customers so they could invest in the private securities, but also, he invested $50K of his own funds. All the while, said the SRO, Koonce failed to notify LPL in writing of his involvement in these transactions. When he filed out compliance questionnaires twice in 2012, Koonce denied any involvement in these types of transactions.

LPL fired Koonce in 2015. He later went to work with Cetera and then EK Riley Investments. The ex-broker no longer works in the securities industry.

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Former LPL Broker Indicted for $850K Securities Fraud and Theft
Sonya Camarco, an ex-LPL (LPLA) financial broker, has been indicted in Colorado on seven counts of theft and six counts of securities fraud. She is accused of taking over $850K in client funds for her own use between 1/2013 and 5/2017.

Camarco was fired by LPL last month. Her BrokerCheck record on the FINRA database indicate that she was let go for depositing third-party checks for clients into an account she controlled. Camarco is accused of failing to disclose to clients, including one elderly investor who had dementia, that she was depositing the funds in this manner. If this is true then not only is this a matter of financial fraud but also this would be a case of senior financial fraud.

Securities Fraud Involving Earth Energy Exploration Bilks Investors of $3M
In Indiana, fifteen people were convicted and ordered to prison in a securities fraud case involving Earth Energy Exploration Inc. Investors in Texas and other states lost $3M.

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The office of Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has fined LPL Financial (LPLA) $1M because the firm’s financial advisers allegedly made misrepresentations to consumers. According to the state regulator, the brokerage firm, which is based in Boston, failed to properly supervise its advisers located at Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) branches.

LPL financial advisers are allowed to work out of the DCU in return for part of the concessions. However, noted Galvin’s office, the problem was that LPL’s advisers conducted their business as DCU Financial, a reference that could have cause customers to think that they worked for the credit union.

The Massachusetts regulator said that an undercover sting operation was put into place, during which time one LPL adviser allegedly claimed to work for DCU and said that he was not paid commissions for offering investment advice, which was a false statement. Also, DCU paid these advisers bonuses in a sales contest that LPL never authorized.

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Former UBS Broker is Barred form the Securities Industry

Ronald Broadstone, an ex-UBS (UBS) broker, has agreed to be barred from the securities industry. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is the one that brought the ban, accusing him of misusing and misappropriating customer monies, settling a customer case without telling his firm, and taking part in unauthorized trading.

According to the self-regulatory organization, Broadstone’s attorney testified that the former broker would not respond to more questions. His refusal to speak violated FINRA rule 8210.

Former Wells Fargo and LPL Financial Broker Receives 41-Month Prison Term for Elder Financial Fraud
Robert N. Tricarico, an ex-broker for both Wells Fargo Advisors (WFC) and LPL Financial (LPLA), will serve 41 months behind bars and pay restitution of over $1.2M after he pleaded guilty to elder financial fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought a civil case against Tricarico, has barred him from the securities industry.

Court documents note that from 1/2010 to 6/2013, Tricarico was the financial adviser for a sick and elderly investor. He misappropriated over $1.1M from her by writing a number of checks to himself without the client’s consent, misappropriated checks written to her, liquidated her coin collection, and used her funds for his own expenses.

He has also admitted to bilking two other victims of $20K when he falsely represented that their money would go toward a business venture. He kept their money for himself.

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