Articles Tagged with Investor Fraud

SSEK Investigating Ex-Raymond James Advisor, Stuart Nichols 

Another former Raymond James advisor has gotten into trouble over fraud allegations. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred Stuart Nichols, a former broker with the firm, after he failed to participate in the self-regulatory authority’s probe into churning allegations made against him. 

Churning involves engaging in excessive trading in a brokerage account for the purposes of making commissions. 

SSEK Investigating The Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker, Ami Forte

Earlier this year, our investor lawyers reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had filed a lawsuit against former Morgan Stanley broker, Ami Forte. She allegedly made unauthorized trades in the now-deceased Home Shopping Network co-founder, Roy Speer’s, account while he was afflicted with dementia. 

The self-regulatory authority has now announced that it is barring Forte. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are currently investigating complaints and concerns by former customers of Ami Forte who are suspecting that their losses may be due to fraud. 

SSEK Investigating Stephen Klinger, ex-Wells Fargo Advisor

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas (“SSEK”), a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations against ex-broker Stephen Klinger for trading options for a client in his own account.

He then proceeded to lose the client’s money.  Klinger was fired earlier this year by Wells Fargo. The client then sued Klinger and Wells Fargo. According to the broker’s CRD, his official record, Klinger then settled the lawsuit without telling Wells Fargo.

SSEK Investigating David Fagenson, A Former UBS Brokerage Investment Advisor 

If you are an investor who worked with former UBS broker, David Fagenson, and suffered substantial losses or suspect you may have been charged excessive fees and commissions, please contact our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. 

David Fagenson was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) last year after he allegedly engaged in unsuitable trading in the accounts of three senior investors ranging in age from their 70s to mid-90s. However, this is not the first fraud allegation in which Fagenson has been involved. 

With already $1.8B in investor funds, GPB Capital Holdings is now placing a pause on raising more funds while it concentrates on putting in order the accounting and financial statements of two of its biggest funds, the GPB Automotive Portfolio and the GPB Holdings II. Both, collectively have raised nearly $1.3B in investor money. To date, the two funds have paid brokers $100.1M in sales commissions.

The halt comes after GPB Capital, which is a top seller of risky private placements and concentrates on purchasing auto dealerships, missed its April deadline to file financial statements for the two funds with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. According to GPB Capital CEO David Gentile, in a letter that InvestmentNews was able to get a copy of, the delay in filing is a result of having to deal with accounting standards that mandate the two funds generate yearly audited financial statements that must be in compliance with SEC regulations, as well as with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s standards.

Gentile, who headed up his own accounting and advisory firm before launching GPB in 2013, said that “best practices and efficient reporting are a top priority”— hence the temporary halt in accepting money from new investors. Meantime, fund redemptions have been suspended and reportedly will resume after the financial statements and public filings are submitted.

In a settlement reached with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Ameriprise Financial Services (AMP) will pay $4.5M over allegations that it did not protect retail investors from five of their financial representatives, who stole over $1.5M. Three of these individuals had previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving investor fraud.

The Commission charged Ameriprise, a registered investment adviser and brokerage firm, with inadequate supervision of the representatives and for not having policies and procedures that were “reasonably designed” enough to stop them from misappropriating clients’ monies.

Ameriprise, despite setting, is not denying or admitting to the regulator’s findings. However, it consented to a censure.


$34M Illegal Stock Scam Leads to New Charges

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges in an alleged nearly $34M illegal stock sale involving Biozoom Inc. stock that caused serious financial losses for retail investors. Biozoom was previously called Entertainment Art Inc..

It was in 2013 that the regulator was able to get a court order freezing proceeds made from the allegedly illegal stock sales. The SEC contends that from March to June 2013, ten people received over 20 million Entertainment Art shares. A number of these individuals then sold over 14 million of these shares in a month-long period. This resulted in around $34M in sales.

SEC Accused Investment Adviser of Profiting from Cherry Picking

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a civil fraud case against Strong Investment Management, which is a California-based investment adviser, and its president/owner Joseph B. Bronson. The regulator is accusing them of running a cherry picking scam that defrauded the firm’s clients.

The Commission contends that Bronson used Strong’s omnibus account to trade securities but would wait to see how they performed during the day before distributing them to certain client accounts. Meantime, Bronson purportedly made healthy profits at cost to clients by cherry picking the trades. He is accused of giving himself trades that were profitable while sending unprofitable ones to firm clients.

The SEC’s complaint contends that in Forms ADV, Bronson and Strong misrepresented trading and allocation practices by falsely stating that every trade would be allocated according to the terms of pre-trade allocation statements with no preference granted to any account. Bronson’s brother, ex-Strong chief compliance officer John B. Engebreston, is accused of not fulfilling his job by failing to make sure that Strong’s policies and procedures for trade allocation were followed. He also is accused of “repeatedly” ignoring “red flags” when it came to Strong’s allocation practices.

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