Articles Tagged with Securities America

Former Securities America Broker Is Accused of Unsuitable and Unauthorized Trades

Michael Bastardi, an ex-Securities America broker, is barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he failed to give the regulator the information it requested for an investigation into his alleged conduct. Bastardi was a registered representative with Securities America from 2014 to 2016.

In 2018, the brokerage firm submitted a Form U5 that disclosed that Bastardi had been named in a customer complaint accusing him of unauthorized trading, unsuitable margin trading, forgery, and fraud while at Securities America and previous to that when he was a registered Dalton Strategic Investment Services broker. His alleged misconduct is said to have resulted in about $250K in damages. The investor fraud claim is still pending.

The Jamieson family has filed a broker-dealer fraud lawsuit against Securities America. They are seeking $18M in damages related to the actions of one of the firm’s former brokers, Hector A. May, who late last year pleaded guilty to operating an $11M Ponzi scheme that went on for years. May now faces 25 years in prison. Securities America fired him last year in the wake of the fraud allegations against him.

Last month, the Jamieson family sued May and Securities America. They claim that they lost $18M from working with May, who had been their adviser since 2001. The family contends that the former Securities America broker and his daughter Vania May Bell stole millions of dollars from them. In addition to working as a Securities America broker, May also was president and CCO of Executive Compensation Planners Inc. (ECP), which is no longer in operation. Bell served as ECP’s controller.

The plaintiffs contend that May and Bell advised them in a manner that made it possible for the two of them to keep defrauding the family. The Jamiesons are accusing Securities America of not performing its duties by:

According to parent firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (LTS), the SEC  is scrutinizing Securities America Advisors Inc., which is the registered investment adviser arm of independent broker-deal Securities America Inc., and Triad Advisors Inc., over allegations that the firms sold mutual funds that charged clients yearly marketing fees when there were less costly options available. These marketing fees are referred to as 12b-1 fees. It is paid to advisors yearly for continuing education and service.

Ladenburg Thalmann’s disclosed news that its firms were under investigation in its quarterly earnings report. In the report, the firm said that SEC staff gave Securities America Holdings and Triad reports in May and August contending that the two firms had “acted inconsistently” regarding their fiduciary duty when recommending and choosing mutual fund share classes that paid these marketing fees. The SEC pointed out that there had been less costly share classes available in the same funds. 

Ladenburg Thalmann said that Securities America Advisors and Triad are looking at the SEC’s assessments and they may have to pay restitution to clients. 
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