COVID-19 UPDATE: We're Open and Ready to Serve Our ClientsLearn More Here

Articles Tagged with Wells Fargo

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.  

Wells Fargo Stockbroker Accused Of Overconcentration & Unsuitable Investments 

Wells Fargo Clearing Services broker, Jeffrey Eiler, has been the subject of 12 customer investment loss disputes, most of which were settled and a few that were denied. If you are an investor who lost money while Eiler was your registered representative, our stockbroker fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) want to offer you a free case assessment. 

The customer disputes against Eiler go back more than twenty years. According to his BrokerCheck record, most of the settlements were paid by the firm where he was a registered representative. 

Wells Fargo Sold Non-Traditional ETFs to Retail Investors 

If you were an investor who suffered losses in non-traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that you feel were unsuitable for you yet were recommended by a Wells Fargo investment advisor or broker, our ETF fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) would like to offer you a free case consultation. 

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and Wells Fargo Clearing Services recently agreed to pay $35M to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims. These claims accused the two Wells Fargo entities of lax supervision of their registered investment advisors (RIAs). As well as the brokers who recommended certain complex non-traditional ETFs to retirees and other retail advisory and brokerage customers. 

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.

Our investor fraud lawyers at SSEK Law Firm are looking into claims involving former Wells Fargo (WFC) broker Leonard Kinsman (Kinsman). Kinsman currently still faces at least two customer complaints that were brought before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), one claim involves a New Jersey widow and mother of three who is accusing him of defrauding her family of their life savings.

Until July 2019, Kinsman belonged to the Wells Fargo Financial Network of brokers that operate independently, even as they use the bank’s compliance software and investment systems. No details have been provided into how or why he is no longer affiliated with the firm’s broker network.

According to the New York Post, the widow began working with Kinsman in 2012 when he was still a Merrill Lynch broker and after her husband had passed away. She requested that Kinsman place her money, a $2.27M life insurance settlement, in conservative, diversified investments that promoted long-term growth so she could support her family off the interest.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has taken action against two former Wells Fargo (WFC) representatives. Ex-broker Michael Garris has been suspended for a year after the self-regulatory organization found that he made 26 unauthorized trades in the account of a client who he knew had died.

Garris was fired by Wells Fargo over a year ago. According to FINRA, he made more than $9K in commissions from the unauthorized transactions in late 2017, several months after the client’s nephew had notified him of the death. Garris failed to tell the brokerage firm of the client’s passing.

Wells Fargo has since refunded the commissions that Garris made from the transactions, reversed the transactions that were not authorized, and placed the account back to its former positions from before the customer died.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has filed a more than $1B residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) fraud lawsuit against Wells Fargo (WFC) on behalf of Freddie Mac. The government-owned mortgage company had invested in over $1B in RMBSs backed by NovaStar loans prior to the 2008 financial crisis. NovaStar, once a subprime lender, is no longer in operation.

While several banks underwrote the securities, the investor fraud case is targeting Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC, an ex-Wachovia brokerage firm, that is now Wells Fargo Securities, LLC. Wachovia was a Wells Fargo acquisition in 2008.

According to the RMBS fraud case, FHFA claims that offering documents sent to Freddie about the quality of the loans backing the RMBSs were misleading. The independent federal agency contends that Wachovia, which played a part in packaging these securities, put out registration statements that were also allegedly misleading and included misrepresentations that eventually resulted in Freddie Mac sustaining huge financial losses.

Just a few weeks after former Wells Fargo (WFC) broker John Gregory Schmidt consented to a final judgment in the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) investor fraud case against him, the regulator announced that it has barred Schmidt for misappropriating more than $1.3M from clients, most of them elderly retired investors. Schmidt, who also ran Schmitt Investment Strategies Group in Ohio and was already barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra), was fired by Wells Fargo in 2017. In a parallel criminal case, he is also charged with 128 felony counts over the same fraud allegations.

The SEC’s complaint notes that at the time that Wells Fargo fired Schmidt, he had about 325 retail brokerage customers. At least half of them had worked with him for over a decade, and a “significant percentage” were retirees who depended on regular withdrawals from their brokerage accounts to cover their living expenses. Many of them were unsophisticated, inexperienced investors, some of whom were suffering from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Schmidt’s scam purportedly involved making unauthorized sales and withdrawals involving variable annuities from certain customers’ accounts and then using fraudulent authorization letters to move the money to the other clients’ accounts. According to the Commission’s complaint, between ’03 and ’17, Schmidt took money out of seven clients’ accounts and moved the funds to the accounts of other clients to conceal shortfalls there.

The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is suing Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Barclays Plc (BAR), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for allegedly rigging rates for variable-rate demand obligations (VRDOs). Philadelphia had issued over $1.6B of these bonds.

VRDOs are tax-exempt municipal securities that can be redeemed by investors early because they are tendered to banks. The banks can then remarket the bonds to other investors while charging issuers a fee.

According to InvestmentNews, the city is looking to represent a number of hospitals, municipalities, and universities with its lawsuit. The complaint contends that the banks worked with each other to manipulate the VRDO rates in secret so they could make hundreds of millions of dollars in unearned fees. The alleged rigging occurred between 2/2008 and 6/2016. The collusion purportedly involved the banks agreeing not to compete against each other for re-marketing services.

John G. Schmidt, an ex-Wells Fargo (WFC) broker, is now facing 128 felony counts over his alleged running of a $1M Ponzi scam. Criminal charges include:

  • 124 counts of forgery
  • 1 count of telecommunications fraud
Contact Information