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Articles Posted in Securities Fraud

Customers Claim That Northstar Financial Services Products Were Touted As Low Risk & Safe 

If you are an investor who suffered losses while investing in Northstar Financial Services products that were recommended to you by a SunTrust Investment Services stockbroker, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm investorlawyers.com) today so that we can help you explore your legal options. 

Unfortunately, there are financial advisors who may have marketed Northstar Financial Services’ investments as stable, safe, low risk, and liquid – like a CD or a money market account – even when that has proven to be far from the case.  Now, Northstar Financial Services is in bankruptcy and undergoing liquidation proceedings. It is very likely that investors have lost most of, if not their entire, investment.  

Lax Oversight Purportedly Allowed An LPL Broker to Continue Defrauding Customers in Ponzi Scam

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has fined LPL Financial Holdings (LPLA) $6.5M due to purported supervisory inadequacies related to recordkeeping, fingerprinting employees that were non-registered representatives, and its financial advisers’ consolidated reports. The self-regulatory organization (SRO) found that due to weak oversight of these consolidated reports, an ex-broker was enabled to continue committing a $5M Ponzi scheme. 

The former registered investment advisor, identified by Advisors Hub as ex-Norwalk, Connecticut broker James Thomas Booth,  pleaded guilty to securities fraud in November. He was sentenced to 42 months behind bars. Booth has been named in 36 customer disputes.  

FINRA Settlement Includes Restitution to More than 2,400 Customers

In an agreement reached with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Transamerica Financial Advisors consented to pay $8.8M over the unsuitable sales of mutual funds, variable annuities (VAs) and 529 savings plans to customers. 

$4.4M of this is a fine and $4.4M is restitution to about 2,400 customers who were financially harmed. The firm settled with FINRA but without denying or admitting to its findings. 

Broker-Dealer’s RIA Accused of Violating Fiduciary Duty 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Voya Financial Advisors have arrived at a $22.9M settlement, including $13.9M in restitution and interest to customers that were harmed. Voya Financial Advisors is an independent brokerage firm that is run as both a broker-dealer and a registered investment advisor (RIA). 

As a brokerage firm, Voya Financial Advisors charges commissions.  As an RIA, it charges fees. The regulator contends that conflicts at Voya’s registered investment advisor arm caused the firm to violate and breach its fiduciary obligation to advisory clients. Voya’s RIA oversees nearly $16B in assets for customers. 

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. 

Coastal Equities Has Been The Subject of $3M in Investor Arbitration Claims

Coastal Equities, a mid-sized broker-dealer, recently arrived at a settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which it agreed to give $280K in restitution to several customers. The firm is accused of failing to reasonably supervise one of its registered representatives, who recommended trades that were allegedly excessive and unsuitable. Those who were harmed were retirees and senior investors.

It was just last year that Coastal Equities said in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that investors had submitted $3M in arbitration claims against the firm. 

Customer Seeks $1M Over Harvest Volatility Management, Put Writing Strategy 

Matthew Donald Babrick and James W. Wilcox, both First Republic Securities stockbrokers, have been named in a $1M Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against the firm over alleged losses from the Harvest Volatility Management Put Writing Strategy (Harvest PWS). 

Wilcox, who is based out of Jackson, Wyoming, and Babrick, who is in Los Angeles, California, are also registered investment advisors with First Republic Investment Management, Inc. 

New York Stockbroker is Named in Multiple Customer Disputes

If you suffered substantial losses from investments recommended to you by Spartan Capital Securities broker Joseph Kelly, you may have grounds for filing a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim to recover your losses. 

Kelly, who is based in New York, is the subject of three pending customer complaints seeking damages. He has been with Spartan Capital Securities since 2017 and before that from 2013 to 2016. At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm), our New York securities fraud attorneys would be happy to offer you a free case assessment. Contact us at (716) 261-3529 today.

Risky, Illiquid Business Development Company Was Not Suitable for Many Investors

If you are someone who invested in the Sierra Income Corporation, you may have lost money. This business development company (BDC) is a non-traded investment. 

Earlier this year, Sierra Income suffered losses after its announced merger with Medley Capital Corp. and Medley Management Inc. was terminated because of the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Not long after that, the company announced that it was suspending monthly redistributions.

Investors May Have Been Subject to Unsuitable Recommendations & Misrepresentations

If you are a UBS customer whose broker persuaded you to invest in Noble Corporation, you likely have lost money. The offshore drilling company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 31 in Houston, Texas. 

Noble Corp. took a huge financial hit this year as COVID-19 caused oil and gas prices to plunge in value, making oil wells below the sea too costly. However, the company’s financial woes did not stop UBS Financial Group from recommending Noble stock shares to investors all the way leading up to its bankruptcy filing.

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