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Articles Posted in Securities America

SEC Said Firm Didn’t Implement Proper Safeguards To Prevent Misappropriation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Securities America Advisors $1.75M for allegedly not doing enough to protect customers from having their money stolen by a former registered representative who misappropriated $8M from at least 15 client accounts. Hector May has pleaded guilty to investment advisor fraud.

Securities America Advisors is the RIA arm of Securities America, Inc.,  which is owned by Advisor Group Holdings Inc.’s Securities America Financial Corporation. Securities America has been the introducing broker for Securities America Advisors customers.

Integration Instigated After Advisor Group’s Acquisition of Ladenburg Thalman 

Securities America, which is a broker-dealer of the Advisor Group network, has completed integrating brokerage firms Investacorp, KMS Financial Securities, and Securities Services Network into its fold. All four were Ladenburg Thalman broker-dealers until Advisor Group acquired Ladenburg and its firms last year for $1.3B. 

Triad Advisors, another former Ladenburg Thalman broker-dealer, will stay a standalone firm. The other Advisor Group broker-dealers include Woodbury Financial Services, FSC Securities, SagePoint Financial, Royal Alliance Associates, and FSC Securities Corporation. 

Michigan Stockbroker Was Fired By Securities America

Jaime Michael Westenbarger, a former Securities America registered representative in Michigan, is currently named in three pending customer complaints accusing him of negligence and stockbroker fraud. Westenbarger, who was fired by the broker-dealer last year, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

He worked 16 years in the securities industry. Our securities fraud lawyers at SSEK Law Firm are offering free case consultations to former customers of Jaime Westenbarger who’ve suffered significant investment losses. You may have grounds for a FINRA arbitration claim to recover damages. 

Ex-Securities America Broker Investigated For Ponzi Scam Involvement

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it has permanently barred ex-Securities America broker, Ronald Roach, in the wake of his involvement in a $909M Ponzi fraud. 

Ronald Roach pleaded guilty last month to criminal fraud charges and is facing up to 10 years behind bars. According to InvestmentNews, Securities America fired him the day after he entered his plea. The SEC contends that Roach and Joseph Bayliss, a general building and electrical contractor, operated an alternative energy tax credit Ponzi scam associated with the company DC Solar. 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has suspended former Securities America broker Michael D. Jackson for six months following allegations that he traded options in one client’s account without telling the brokerage firm. Securities America has since fired Jackson.

According to the self-regulatory authority (SRO), in 2016, the ex-Securities America broker recommended that one customer set up an account at different firm to trade options. The customer followed his instructions. Over several months, Jackson allegedly:

  • Put in orders for over 42 options transactions sets—that’s over 100 orders—in the new account.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is charging Securities America with inadequate supervision of a broker who is accused of using a “grossly deceptive” radio ad campaign to target older investors. The state regulator said that the financial firm shouldn’t have approved the spots that Barry Armstrong ran on his AM radio show. His show, which airs on WRKO-AM, is syndicated on different stations.

The broker purportedly ran ads asking listeners to call for information related to Alzheimer’s Disease when what Armstrong really was doing was collecting their contact information so he could offer to sell them financial advice. Galvin’s office said that the broker engaged in ‘bait and switch’ by falsely advertising one service when he was really selling another type of service.

The regulator contends that Securities America failed to identify or prevent Armstrong’s unethical conduct by neglecting to ask even one question about the content of the ads or attendant mailing materials. Now, the state wants a censure, a cease-and-desist order, and a fine imposed against the firm.
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The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities is looking into the sales of nontraded REITs by Securities America employees. Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., which owns the broker-dealer and two other independent brokerage firms, said in its yearly report that the state regulator wants the brokerage firm to provide data about nontraded REITs that Pennsylvania residents have been buying since 2007. The request was made in October.

According to InvestmentNews, it is not known at this time if Pennsylvania regulators are just looking at nontraded REIT sales at Securities America or the investigation extends to other firms. It was just last year that Securities America, along with other independent brokerage firms, settled with the Massachusetts Securities Division over nontraded REIT sales.

Securities America paid $8.4 million in restitution to clients in that state along with a $150,000 fine. According to that probe, firms had difficulties abiding by their own policies as well as to the Massachusetts rule that an investor’s purchase of REITs cannot go beyond his/her liquid net worth.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is fining Securities America and Triad Advisors $625,000 and $650,000, respectively, for not properly supervising the way consolidated reporting systems were used. Triad must also pay $375,00 in restitution. Even though they are settling, the two firms are not denying or admitting to wrongdoing.

The self-regulatory organization said this inadequate supervision led to statements containing inaccurate valuations that were sent to customers. The two firms are also accused of disobeying securities laws by not keeping appropriate consolidated reports.

A consolidated report is a document that includes information about the bulk of a customer’s financial holdings. The report is a supplement to official account statements.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin just announced that independent broker-dealers Ameriprise Financial Services (AMP), Securities America Inc., Commonwealth Financial Network, Lincoln Financial Advisors, and Royal Alliance Associates have consented to pay another $10.75 million in restitution over non-traded REITs that were sold to clients between 2005 and now. The added charge comes four months after the five independent brokerage firms consented to pay $6.1 million in restitution and $975,000 in fines. It was investors’ complaints that spurred the regulator’s investigation into the REITs.

Along with LPL Financial (LPLA) consenting to pay $4.8 million in restitution to clients for its sale of non-traded REITs, that’s a total of $21.6 million in restitution and fines of nearly $1.5 million from the six IBDs. In a statement, Galvin acknowledged the popularity of these risky investments. The regulator noted that the state’s probe discovered problems pertaining to firms adhering to their own policies and that this was a widespread matter. He also said that there appeared to be issues related to brokerage firms abiding by the state rule that investors cannot buy REITs that are over 10% of an individual’s liquid net worth.

Our REIT lawyers represent investors that have sustained huge losses because of the negligence of brokerage firms, investment advisors, and their representatives. Contact our securities fraud law firm today. We work with clients throughout the US, as well as investors based abroad with claims against firms based in the country.


Securities America Stops Selling Nontraded REIT ARC V

Securities America Inc. has severed ties with American Realty Capital Trust V Inc., a top-selling nontraded REIT. The independent broker-dealer blamed this on an overconcentration risk and its own exposure to real estate programs that AR Capital, a brokerage firm, distributes.

The nontraded real estate investment trust, known as ARC V, was the number one seller last month with about $10.8 million in daily sales. Already, between April, when the REIT launched, through the end of June, brokers have sold $406 million of them.

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