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Fired Wells Fargo Representative is Barred by FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced this month that it is barring former Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network broker, Leonard Charles Kinsman, from the industry. 

The ban comes after Kinsman refused to testify in the self-regulatory organization’s (SRO’s) probe into his firing by Wells Fargo (WFC) for allegedly “unprofessional conduct.” Kinsman was named last year in an investor fraud claim accusing him of making unsuitable investment recommendations and forging and falsifying business records. That customer dispute has now been settled for $995K.  

Wells Fargo Stockbroker Accused Of Overconcentration & Unsuitable Investments 

Wells Fargo Clearing Services broker, Jeffrey Eiler, has been the subject of 12 customer investment loss disputes, most of which were settled and a few that were denied. If you are an investor who lost money while Eiler was your registered representative, our stockbroker fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) want to offer you a free case assessment. 

The customer disputes against Eiler go back more than twenty years. According to his BrokerCheck record, most of the settlements were paid by the firm where he was a registered representative. 

Wells Fargo Sold Non-Traditional ETFs to Retail Investors 

If you were an investor who suffered losses in non-traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that you feel were unsuitable for you yet were recommended by a Wells Fargo investment advisor or broker, our ETF fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) would like to offer you a free case consultation. 

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and Wells Fargo Clearing Services recently agreed to pay $35M to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims. These claims accused the two Wells Fargo entities of lax supervision of their registered investment advisors (RIAs). As well as the brokers who recommended certain complex non-traditional ETFs to retirees and other retail advisory and brokerage customers. 

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.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced this week that it is barring three former brokers. They are ex-Morgan Stanley broker (MS) Kevin Smith and former Wells Fargo (WFC) brokers Wilfred Rodriquez Jr. and Thomas A. Davis.

According to the self-regulatory authority’s order, the bar against Smith comes after he wouldn’t appear before FINRA to testify regarding allegations involving a structured products trade in a family member’s trust that he may have executed without checking with the client first.

Morgan Stanley fired Smith in 2016 in the wake of the broker fraud allegations.

26-Year Old Mayor is Arrested and Accused of Investor Fraud

Jasiel Correira, who is the mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, has pleaded not guilty to multiple criminal counts of wire fraud and tax fraud. The 26-year-old was arrested this week following allegations that he defrauded investors of over $230K.

Correira maintains that the investor fraud allegations are false. He refuses to step down as city mayor.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred Wells Fargo (WFC) broker Edward O. Daniel, after he failed to participate in a probe into allegations that he made unsuitable investments for one client. Daniel, a Texas-based broker, was with Wells Fargo Advisers for seven years before he stepped down in September 2016. He was a longtime broker of 41 years.

Soon after Daniel resignation two years ago, Wells Fargo disclosed that a customer had filed an arbitration complaint accusing him of making unsuitable investments over a several-year period. The dispute was resolved for $225K. His BrokerCheck record documents that Daniel has been named in eight disclosures, all involving complaints by customers.

Now, FINRA is barring him because he would not cooperate in the self-regulatory authority’s investigation into the unsuitable investment allegations.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred J. Gordon Cloutier, Jr. (Cloutier), a former Wells-Fargo (WFC) broker based in the Dallas area of Frisco, Texas, after he allegedly tried to make an unauthorized trade and requested a loan from a client.  Cloutier, who had worked at the firm for seven years, was fired in 2016.  Previous to working with Wells Fargo, Cloutier was  a Merrill Lynch broker, which is now a division of Bank of America (BAC), from 1996 to 2009.  FINRA ultimately barred Cloutier after he failed to respond to numerous attempts by the self-regulatory organization to interview him for its probe. It is FINRA’s policy to open an investigation after a broker is let go from a firm. It was Cloutier’s lack of response that led to FINRA issuing the  default bar from the industry.

At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas LLP, our Texas broker fraud law firm represents investors in helping them to recoup their losses sustained due to broker misconduct, negligence, or carelessness. Over the years, we have successfully helped thousands of investors from our Houston offices. If you were an investors who worked with Cloutier, our Wells Fargo investor fraud attorneys want to hear from you.

Broker Fraud

According to Yahoo Finance, a number of Wells Fargo (WFC) advisors who used to work for the Private Bank’s wealth management unit are claiming that the firm pushed them to place client funds in investments that charged higher fees to clients. The ex-bank employees contend that they were pressured to cross-sell products and bill clients for fees that they would not have had to pay otherwise.

Yahoo Finance reported that there are internal company documents verifying the former employees’ claims. The media outlet said that it conducted interviews with a number of these former advisors.

The ex-Wells Fargo advisors were reportedly encouraged to place clients’ funds in complex products and separately managed accounts. The advisors claim that they were told that if they did not meet sales quotas for certain products, their compensation would suffer.

The securities lawyers with Shepherd, Smith, Edwards, & Kantas LLP (“SSEK”) are investigating claims of investors and clients of Jeffrey Randolph Wilson (“Wilson”) who works with Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (“Wells Fargo”) in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In the last 18 months, at least three of Mr. Wilson’s clients have filed arbitration claims against Wells Fargo claiming that Wilson and/or Wells Fargo acted improperly regarding those clients’ accounts. These customer claims include allegations that Mr. Wilson excessively traded customer accounts, made unsuitable investment recommendations, and exposed the clients to excessive risk.

All brokers are required to make only suitable recommendations to their clients and manage their clients’ investments appropriately. That means that the brokers, like Mr. Wilson, are supposed to consider a client individually and consider that client’s willingness to take risks, age, and other factors – like whether the client is retired – into account when deciding what investments to recommend. Similarly, some investments which might have been appropriate for a client can become inappropriate, or unsuitable, if they are bought and sold too often in a client’s account. Generally, the more frequent the trading in an account, the higher risk the investment strategy.

In the case with Mr. Wilson’s clients, more than one has complained that Mr. Wilson improperly advised them to invest in energy related investments which led to substantial losses. Recently, a FINRA arbitration panel agreed with that allegation, ordering Wells Fargo Advisors to pay a client $357,000 for losses suffered in unsuitable energy and housing based investments, as well as use of margin trading.

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