Articles Tagged with FINRA

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.” 

Ex-El Paso Financial Advisor Allegedly Took Over $61K From Client Credit Line

On November 29, 2021, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred Jesus Rodriguez. The former Texas broker was accused of taking over $61K from a client credit line for his own use. The sanction came after he refused to cooperate in the self-regulatory organization’s (SRO’s) investigation. Rodriguez is also named in several customer disputes. 

Our broker misconduct attorneys are speaking with former customers of ex-Morgan Stanley financial advisor Jesus Rodriguez that have suffered investment losses. We can help you determine whether you have grounds for a FINRA arbitration claim

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. 

New Customer Dispute Seeks $250K in Damages

Ex-Puerto Rico stockbroker, Jaime Isaac Sanchez Rivera, was recently fired by First Southern Securities. The termination came in the wake of allegations that he didn’t notify the broker-dealer about a customer complaint right away, as well as accusations of copying and modifying documents without permission. Sanchez Rivera also was recently named in a $250K customer complaint. 

In June, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) indefinite suspension of Sanchez Rivera went into effect. The suspended stockbroker also is a former registered investment advisor, most recently with SB Advisory and FSAM, LLC.

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.  

Investment Losses During the Coronavirus Has Investors Scrambling for Answers

If you are like many Americans with investments, you may be struggling to grapple with the massive losses affecting your portfolio as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc on the economy, the markets, the job industry, and people’s lives. 

What you may not realize is that your investment losses may also be a result of broker fraud or negligence on your stockbroker or investment adviser’s part, which is where our investor attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) can help you.

FINRA Orders Oppenheimer To Pay $3.8M

Oppenheimer & Co. (OPY) must pay over $3.8M in restitution to customers who may have had to pay excess sales fees for the early rollovers of their United Investment Trusts (UITs). The order comes from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and includes an $800K fine for not reasonably supervising these early UIT rollovers. 

The self-regulatory organization (SRO) contends that from 1/2011 to 12/2015 of the $6.4B of United Investment Trust transactions that Oppenheimer executed, $753.9M of these were early rollovers. 

Kalos Capital And GPB Capital: What Is Their Connection? 

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) is continuing to investigate and file cases against Kalos Capital and its financial advisors in relation to GPB Capital investments. Kalos Capital is a FINRA licensed broker-dealer which is a subsidiary of Kalos Financial. Both are based our of the same address in Alpharetta, Georgia. 

According to Kalos’s BrokerCheck Report (FINRA’s official record of firms and brokers), Kalos Financial owns 75% or more of Kalos Capital. According to its website, Kalos Financial was founded by David and Carol Wildermuth in 2004. 

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has refused to overturn the US Securities and Exchange Commission ruling that Wedbush Securities Inc. engaged in inadequate supervision of its own regulatory compliance. The appeals court also affirmed the suspension of the brokerage firm’s president and principal Edward W. Wedbush.

The SEC’s 2016 finding had sustained a 2014 ruling by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s National Adjudicatory Council, which ordered Wedbush to pay a $350K fine for either not filing, or filing late, dozens of documents regarding complaints and judgments that had been brought against the investment firm and its financial representatives. Finra found that Wedbush Securities violated the bylaws and rules of the NASD, the NYSE, and the self-regulatory organization itself 158 times and was delinquent in submitting the documents at issue over a five-year period, from 1/2005 to 7/2010.

Wedbush and its president had tried to argue before the SEC that FINRA was wrong in finding that the broker-dealer failed to supervise reporting requirements. The brokerage firm also questioned whether the hearing it received before the SRO was a fair one since a FINRA rule did not specifically note suspension as a sanction.


FINRA Arbitration Panel Awards Allegis Investment Advisors Client $404,482

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel has awarded Mark Watson $404,482 in his unauthorized trading case against Allegis Investment Services, Allegis Investment Advisors, and ex-broker Brandon Curt Stimpson. Watson is accusing Stimpson of placing his life savings in investments that were too risky and complex and of making unauthorized trades involving index put options connected to the Russell 2000 Index even though he had told the broker that he only wanted up to 25% of his portfolio involved in these. Instead, Watson alleges, Stimpson invested way more of his money in the index put options.

In his securities arbitration case, Watson also alleged breach of fiduciary duty. Now, a FINRA panel has awarded him nearly $275K in compensatory damages, nearly $54K in interest, and other costs.

Stimpson was fired by Allegis last year for not abiding by the firm’s ethics code and policies. According to his BrokerCheck records, he has been named in eight other customer disputes.

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