Articles Posted in Merrill Lynch

Two Merrill Lynch Brokers Stole More Than $6M from 13 Clients 

In December 2021, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Merrill Lynch in two separate matters. 

One fine, of $950K,  is because the firm allegedly failed to detect that two of its financial advisors had stolen more than $6M from 13 customers in schemes that occurred over several years. This purportedly involved the transmission of funds through automated clearing house (ACH) transfers that were “externally initiated.” 

Former Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Has Been Named in Nine Customer Disputes

Peter Edward Eckerline, a longtime Merrill Lynch broker who spent his entire 37 years industry with the firm until August 2021, has been named in nine customer disputes by claimants. These claimants are seeking to recover damages for losses they sustained. 

Eckerline, who worked out of Wayzata, Minnesota for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, is no longer a registered broker or investment advisor. 

COVID Relief Loans Involved Undisclosed Business Outside Their Brokerage Firms 

According to InvestmentNews, ex-J.P. Morgan Securities broker Gloria Willis, former Merrill Lynch stockbroker Evelyn Batista, and ex-Wells Fargo financial advisor Kenric Sexton have either been barred or suspended from the securities industry.

These Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctions were imposed after the self-regulatory organization (SRO) found that all three of them either inappropriately or incorrectly applied for federal COVID-relief loan programs geared towards small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Former Chicago Stockbroker Defrauded Customers To Fund Luxury Lifestyle

Marcus E. Boggs, an ex-Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith registered representative, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the federal criminal case accusing him of defrauding former customers of $3M. The ex-Chicago financial advisor admitted to using the money to fund his lavish lifestyle. He faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in June.

Boggs spent his entire 12 years in the industry working for Merrill Lynch. Also a former registered investment advisor, he has 13 disclosures on his BrokerCheck, including bars from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2019 and 2020, respectively. 

Former Kentucky-Based Merrill Lynch Broker Gets Eight Years in Prison

Christopher Lee Hibbard, a former stockbroker for Merrill Lynch and Pierce, Fenner & Smith is sentenced to eight years in prison. The ex-Kentucky stockbroker pleaded guilty to investment fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud earlier this year. 

Hibbard, who worked 18 years in the industry, has 14 disclosures on his BrokerCheck record, including several pending customer disputes. All of them, including the regulator and criminal cases, were filed over the last two years. 

Ex-New Hampshire Governor is Suing For Damages 

The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation is looking into allegations brought by the state’s former governor, Craig Benson, who is accusing ex-Merrill Lynch brokers Dermod Cavanaugh and Charles Kenahan of churning his account and causing over $50M in damages that with market adjustments, he claims, is now over $100M. Benson filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against the broker-dealer and the two men.

Merrill Lynch is a Bank of America (BAC) subsidiary. Churning is when a broker makes excessive trades in a customer’s account in order to earn commissions.

Fired Merrill Lynch Broker Barred By FINRA Indefinitely 

If you were an investor who sustained losses while working with Ma Rosa Linan Abrego, contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. Our brokerage firm misconduct lawyers work with clients who have suffered financial losses due to the negligent, fraudulent or other wrongful actions of their financial representatives. 

Ma Rosa Linan Abrego, based out of McAllen, Texas, was terminated by Merrill Lynch and recently barred indefinitely by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from working as a financial advisor/stockbroker. 

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. 

Merrill Lynch Sold Strategic Return Notes To Retail Investors 

If you are an investor who lost money from Strategic Return Notes (SRNs) that were sold by Bank of America’s (BAC) Merrill Lynch, please contact our investment fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. 

The investment raised about $150M from their sales and caused substantial losses from many. SSEK Law Firm is committed to helping Strategic Return Notes investors to recoup their losses. 

Earlier this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission barred ex-RBC broker Thomas Buck from the industry. The action came less than four months after the regulator filed a civil case accusing Buck of investor fraud. He allegedly made material misrepresentations and omissions to investment advisory clients and certain customers while he was a Merrill Lynch financial adviser in order to get get paid excess fees and commissions.

As a result, more than 50 customers and clients under Buck ended up paying over $2.5M unnecessarily.

Buck also allegedly did not tell clients that they could have saved money if only they’d opted for a fee-based payment structure instead of the commission model. Meantime, he’d told Merrill Lynch compliance staff on several occasions that the clients knew about the less costly options.

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