Securities Fraud

Stockbroker Negligence

Investment Loss Recovery                                                                                          

                                                                                                             





Office:561-391-1900                                                                                                  BLOG

By Robert H. Rex

Rex Securities Law-StockBroker Fraud & Negligence BLOG

Rex Securities Law Files FINRA Arbitration vs. VSR Financial-Plano, Texas Branch

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

Rex Securities Law has been investigating VSR Financial broker Dennis Van Patter and on April 22, 2014, filed a FINRA arbitration against VSR Financial on behalf of one of Van Patter's former clients. The arbitration is on behalf of a widow who received insurance proceeds of about $750,000  following her husband's death and was sold a large number of unsuitable investments including the following alternative investments: 

  • Atlas Energy Public 17-2008B
  • Atlas Energy Public 18 2009B

  • Boston Capital Series 44

  • Boston Capital Series 47

  • CNL Lifestyle Fund

  • Cole Credit Property Trust  II

  • Cypress Equipment Fund 15

  • Inland American Real Estate Trust

  • KBS Real Estate Investment Trust Inc.

  • MPF Income Fund 25

  • Penneco Oil Company 2008-1

  • United Development Funding III

The arbitration alleges that the investment strategy was unsuitable and that VSR was negligent in the  supervision of their registered representative Dennis Van Patter and breached their fiduciary duty to their customer. Van Patter operates a company called First Financial Services Group in Plano, TX. 

VSR Financial was fined $550,000 in 2013 by FINRA in connection with the sale of private placements and alternative investments. See this for more information

If you believe you were sold unsuitable investments by your broker, call to discuss your legal rights with an experienced securities attorney.

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Inland American REIT-Investors Consider Options

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In a letter dated  March 14,  2014, Inland American Real Estate Trust notified investors that it was offering to buy back about 6% of the outstanding shares. Investors were provided with a form allowing them to elect to offer for sale, all, or some of their shares at prices ranging from $6.10 to $6.50 per share. This is well below the $10 that most investors paid when they bought their shares from the company.

Inland American is a non-publicly traded REIT and as investors now know, illiquid. 

The company is only committing $350 million to this buyback so it is highly likely that the amount of shares investors want to sell at this price will far exceed the amount that investors will offer. This means that many investors will still be stuck owning their shares with the only sales option being one of the privately operated secondary markets where shares of Inland American have been trading for about $6. 

Inland American was the largest REIT offered by Inland Group, Inc. the Oak Brook that formed the REIT in 2004. During 2007, Inland Group was raising $300 million a month. Inland American was their largest REIT, raising about $8 billion between 2005 and 2009, which is purportedly the record amount ever raised by any unlisted REIT. 

Many investors were sold unlisted REITs like Inland American with the promise of regular and dependable distributions of income (like a bond) , an assurance that the value was not likely to decline and with an expectation of making a profit within 5-7 years. Most investors did not understand that they might have trouble liquidating the investment should they need cash. 

Investors who were misled by their broker as to the true nature of non traded REITs may wish to consider filing a FINRA arbitration to recover damages. Call to discuss your legal rights with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation


561 391 1900


Rex Securities Law Investigates Former IPI Broker Jason Miller

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

Rex Securities Law is investigating Jason Todd Miller who previously worked for Investment Professionals, Inc. (IPI), in Ash Flat, Arkansas. Our client is an elderly widow who was anticipates filing a FINRA arbitration alleging that Miller convinced her to invest the bulk of her liquid net worth into unsuitable investments, including Inland American real estate investment trust. In connection with the investment, our client alleges that Miller misrepresented her income level, her liquid net worth, tax bracket and investment experience. 

Miller worked out of an IPI office located within the Horseshoe Bend  branch of FNBC Bank

According to FINRA records, Miller was a registered representative of IPI from 8/2003-3/2009 and he is not currently registered with any broker dealer. His previous registrations include: 

  • American Express Financial Advisors, Little Rock, Arkansas
If you have information you feel would be helpful to this investigation, we would appreciate hearing from you.

Rex Securities Law is a securities litigation & arbitration law firm located in Boca Raton, Fl, representing individuals, trusts, and companies nationwide. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 


561 391 1900

Lawsuit Filed Against Former Southwest Securities Broker Wade Lawrence

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

According to The Sandstorm Scholar an online news and editorial commentary that, according to the website, "favors policy over personality and principle over populism", and serves Lubbock and West Texas, a lawsuit Larry K. Lowe vs. Wade J. Lawrence, has been filed at the Lubbock County Courthouse. Follow this for a link to the Sandstorm Scholar posting on that topic. Here is a link provided by Sandstorm Scholar to the purported actual lawsuit

Lubbockonline reports that there are two suits filed against Lawrence in the 237th District Court alleging that he failed to pay back $1 million in loans from two individuals. In addition to the suit brought by Lowe, James Morris, now deceased loaned Lawrence $850,000 while Lawrence was working for Oppenheimer & Co. FINRA records indicate Lawrence was with Oppenheimer 6/2008-7/2011.

In March 2014, FINRA barred Lawrence, who formerly was registered with Southwest Securities, 8/2011-12/2013, from the industry. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Sagepoint Financial Ordered to Pay $700,000 Restitution

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In December 2013, Missouri securities regulators censured Sagepoint Financial and ordered the company to pay disgorgement and restitution of $700,000 to resolve claims that Sagepoint failed to reasonably supervise Guy F. Weber, a Missouri-registered agent who engaged in dishonest or unethical practices in violation of Missouri law. 

FINRA records indicate that a customer filed an arbitration against Weber seeking damages of $274,477 for fraud, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. In August 2013, the matter was settled for the full amount of the requested damages. 

Brokers have a duty to make suitable recommendations to investors. If you have suffered losses in your brokerage account due to the negligence of fraud of a stockbroker you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900 

FINRA Accuses NSM Securities of Over Trading Accounts of Those of Indian Descent

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In November 2013, in a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, Case No. 2011027667401, Irving Marvin Burstein, Chief Compliance Officer of NSM Securities agreed to a one year suspension from association with any member of FINRA in a principal capacity. Burstein, who has been with 15 different broker-dealers during his career and was a registered principal with NSM from 9/2005-7/2011. 

FINRA alleged that while acting as chief compliance officer, Burstein failed to supervise the activities of NSM's registered representatives and failed to implement the firm's Written Supervisory Procedures (WSP). Moreover, the FINRA filing, which can be viewed here, alleges that: 

"NSM's business model is to solicit customers who are high net worth individuals of Indian descent, and then engage in a highly active trading strategy in their accounts involving only a few securities. During the relevant period, many NSM customer accounts were excessively traded in order to generate large fees for NSM registered representatives and the firm. Burstein's failure to supervise the activities of the firm's registered representatives, coupled with his failure to enforce the firm's WSPs helped to create a culture of noncompliance at NSM that resulted in the rampant churning of customer accounts, unsuitable recommendations, unauthorized trading, and significant customer harm." 

If you had an account at NSM Securities that suffered damages, call to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

FINRA Assesses Some Big $$ Fines to Broker Dealers

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In April 2014, the Investment News published the following "8 big-money FINRA Fines":

  • Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services fined $775,000 to resolve claims that they didn't adequately train or supervise brokers selling alternative investments (REITs, limited partnerships,private placments, etc) and traditional Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • LPL Financial fined $950,000 to resolve allegations related to supervisory deficiencies in connection with the sale of alternative investment products.
  • COR Clearing, LLC(formerly Legent Clearing LLC) censured and fined $1,000,000 by FINRA for several compliance deficiencies including anti-money laundering procedures, financial reporting and supervision. 
  • Triad Advisors fined $650,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $375,000 because of a failure to supervise hundreds of brokers who created and distributed to clients inaccurate consolidated account statements. 
  • State Trust Investments of Miami, FL, fined $1,045,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $353,319 for charging unfair markups and markdowns in corporate bond transactions. 
  • Merrill Lynch fined $900,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $1.1 million for selling mutual funds of floating-rate bank loans during the credit crisis that were not suitable for their clients.
  • Wells Fargo Advisors fined $1.250,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $2 million for same reason as Merrill above, selling mutual funds of floating-rate bank loans during the credit crisis. 
  • LPL Financial fined $7.5 million and ordered to pay restitution of $1.5 million, for a total of $9 million in what is alleged to be the largest FINRA fine ever, for significant failures of their email system. 
Stockbrokers and broker dealers have a duty to make suitable recommendations to their customers. If you believe you are the victim of broker negligence or fraud, call to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Texas Residents Charged by SEC for Sale of Fraudulent Oil & Gas Investments

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

On March 28, 2014, The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Jason A. Halek of Southlake, TX, and Patrick J. Booths of Forth Worth with securities fraud in a case filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, Texas. SEC v Jason A. Halek, Joshua D. Spivey, Patrick J. Booths and Steven J. Little, Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-01106-D (NDTX).

In the complaint the SEC alleges that from September 2009 to June 2010, Halek and Booths fraudulently conducted unregistered securities offerings of working interests in oil and gas projects owned and operated by Halek Energy, LLC. 

The projects were offered to investors by  Joshua Spivey of Morristown, Tennessee and Steven Little of Southlake, TX. 

The complaint alleges that Halek conceived a straw man scheme to avoid the scrutiny of the SEC which was already investigating a prior scheme. See this for the SEC press release

In August 2013, the Dallas Observer reported that Halek had lost an appeal on the earlier SEC case and was found liable for $26 million. 

If you lost money as a result of investing in any of these projects and if you made your investment with the assistance of a registered broker or brokerage firm you may be able to recover losses through FINRA arbitration. Contact us to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900


Securities America Under Investigation (again) Over Sale of Non-Traded REITs

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

Securities America, a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann is under scrutiny by securities regulators again. This time it is the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and the investment product is non-publicly-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs)

Here is a listing of some of Securities America's recent regulatory issues: 

MARCH 2014 UPDATE-PENNSYLVANIA REGULATORS INQUIRE RE: NON-TRADED REITS- Investment News reports that Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities has requested information from Securities America, Inc. concerning sales of non-traded REITs to residents of Pennsylvania since 2007.

Securities America settled with the Massachusetts Securities Division and paid $8.4 million in restitution to clients over the sale of non-traded REITs from 2005-2013. There are rules at the state level governing the amount of alternative investments like non-traded REITs that brokers are permitted to sell to clients. This is generally computed as a percentage of the investor's liquid net worth. 

See this for listing of some of the most popular non-traded REITs. 



UPDATE MARCH 2014-FINRA Fines Securities America $625,000- To resolve allegations that Securities America issued statements to customers with inaccurate valuations and failure to supervise brokers, FINRA assessed a fine of $625,000. To read the entire FINRA News Release,see this. 

UPDATE JANUARY 2013--Kenneth R. Miller- To resolve FINRA allegations that broker Kenneth R. Miller made material misrepresentations and ommissions in connection with the purchase and sale of limited partnerships, Miller was fined and suspended for a period of six months. FINRA alleged that Miller sold $1,375,000 of limited partnership interests by misrepresenting to customers the risk associated with these investments. FINRA records indicate that Miller was registered with these firms on the dates indicated: 
  • Prospera Financial Services, Inc.                 7/2011-9/2012
  • Securities America, Inc.                            11/2009-6/2011
  • NFP Securities, Inc.                                 12/2003-11/2009


UPDATE MARCH 2013-AZIM NAKHOODA- In March 2013, to resolve FINRA allegations that Securities America broker Azim Nakhooda sent emails to customers in connection with their purchase of IMH Secured Loan Fund and Medical Provider Funding Corp. V notes that contained false and misleading statements, Nakhooda agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and was suspended for nine months. Nakhooda's misrepresented the liquidity and safety of these investments. 

In 2011, Securities America, along with other broker/dealers was slapped with a $250,000 fine by FINRA for selling two private placements , Provident Royalties and Medical Capital Holdings. That same year a FINRA arbitration panel ordered Securities America to pay over a million dollars for selling one of the private placements to an elderly client. For more information regarding Securities America's disciplinary history, see this link

If you have questions about your brokerage account, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Nationwide representation


561 391 1900

Rex Securities Law Investigates Former Broker David A. Duhn

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

Rex Securities Law is investigating former registered representative David A. Duhn of Staples, Minnesota, on behalf of a retired Minnesota investor who was sold a very large concentration of Wells REIT II (now known as Columbia Property Trust).

Wells REIT II is a non publicly traded real estate trust that was initially sold for $10 per share. Our client was not advised that the investment was illiquid. In October 2013 in an initial public offering shares of Wells REIT II were  converted to Columbia Property Trust in a reverse four-to-one split. Investors in Wells REIT II have suffered losses of up to 40% of the original purchase price. 

FINRA records indicate that Duhn was registered with Crown Capital Securities from 10/2003-12/2010. As of March 2014, Duhn is not currently registered with any FINRA broker dealer. 

Non publicly traded REITs were sold to investors with the promise of regular and dependable distributions and with representations that the principal value of the investment was protected. 

If you have information related to this investigation, we would appreciate hearing from you. If you suffered losses as a result of investing David Duhn, you may be able to recover all or a part of those losses through FINRA arbitration. Contact us to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Sagepoint Financial Broker Keith Pasternak Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

Keith M. Pasternak, a broker in the Brick, New Jersey office of Sage Financial, Inc. was suspended by FINRA for 12 months beginning 1/6/2014 and ordered to pay restitution to a customer of the firm. 

Pasternak told the customer he was a victim of identity theft and asked the customer to loan him money so he could straighten out his finances.  The customer loaned him $9,000 and Pasternak did not advise nor seek permission of the firm to make the loan. 

Pasternak did not repay the loan and failed to timely respond to FINRA's request for information resulting in the stated sanctions. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation


561 391 1900

Investment News Announces Most Profitable Independent Broker Dealers

By Robert H. Rex 

The Investment News recently (March 2014) announced the most profitable independent broker-dealers, ranked by Pre-Tax Earnings. See this for complete list. 



Independent Broker Dealer PreTax Earnings
1 LPL Financial LLC $385,900,000
2 Cambridge Investment Research Inc. $25,287,365
3 AXA Advisors LLC $22,600,000
4 CUNA Brokerage Services Inc. $9,244,000
5 Princor Financial Services Corp. $6,461,785
6 Investacorp Inc. $4,415,574
7 Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. $3,500,000
8 Allstate Financial Services LLC $2,674,035
9 The O.N. Equity Sales Co. $2,349,581
10 VSR Financial Services Inc. $2,338,051
11 Signator Investors Inc. $2,310,447
12 Kovack Securities Inc. $2,280,475
13 Prospera Financial Services Inc. $1,963,764
14 M Holdings Securities Inc. (M Securities) $1,900,000
15 Cadaret Grant & Co. Inc. $1,800,000
16 SWS Financial Services $1,738,576
17 American Portfolios Financial Services Inc. $1,578,496
18 Financial Telesis Inc. $1,500,000
19 Ameritas Investment Corp. $1,418,490
20 United Planners Financial Services $1,257,723
21 Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services Inc. $1,184,429
22 National Securities Corp. $1,184,000
23 LaSalle St. Securities LLC $1,133,986
24 The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. $1,067,097
25 Ausdal Financial Partners $891,000

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide consultation.


561 391 1900

Investment News Announces Most Profitable Independent Broker Dealers

By Robert H. Rex 

The Investment News recently (March 2014) announced the most profitable independent broker-dealers, ranked by Pre-Tax Earnings. See this for complete list. 



Independent Broker Dealer PreTax Earnings
1 LPL Financial LLC $385,900,000
2 Cambridge Investment Research Inc. $25,287,365
3 AXA Advisors LLC $22,600,000
4 CUNA Brokerage Services Inc. $9,244,000
5 Princor Financial Services Corp. $6,461,785
6 Investacorp Inc. $4,415,574
7 Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. $3,500,000
8 Allstate Financial Services LLC $2,674,035
9 The O.N. Equity Sales Co. $2,349,581
10 VSR Financial Services Inc. $2,338,051
11 Signator Investors Inc. $2,310,447
12 Kovack Securities Inc. $2,280,475
13 Prospera Financial Services Inc. $1,963,764
14 M Holdings Securities Inc. (M Securities) $1,900,000
15 Cadaret Grant & Co. Inc. $1,800,000
16 SWS Financial Services $1,738,576
17 American Portfolios Financial Services Inc. $1,578,496
18 Financial Telesis Inc. $1,500,000
19 Ameritas Investment Corp. $1,418,490
20 United Planners Financial Services $1,257,723
21 Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services Inc. $1,184,429
22 National Securities Corp. $1,184,000
23 LaSalle St. Securities LLC $1,133,986
24 The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. $1,067,097
25 Ausdal Financial Partners $891,000

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide consultation.


561 391 1900

Florida Certified Financial Planners Disciplined by CFP Board-MARCH 2014

Florida Certified Financial Planners Disciplined by CFP Board-Updated March 2014

According to their website, the "Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP. "

The CFP Board can discipline those holding the CFP title in one of three ways: 
  • Public Letter of Admonition
  • Temporary Suspension of CFP certification
  • Revocation of individual's CFP certification

The list below, taken from the CFP board disciplinary page of their website in September 2013, is the currently published record of  Florida individuals who have been disciplined by CFP Board and does not imply that any listed discipline is currently in force. To verify an individual's current certification status visit the CFP website here. 

Revocations
Carol M. Allen (Deland)
Kenneth W. Brown (Ocean Ridge/Boca Raton)
Scott Browning (Tampa)
Richard N. Davis (Tampa)
Charles E. Foy (Saint Augustine)
Gregory L. Fuhrman (Englewood)
Jay J. Gelfenbaum (Coral Springs)
Robert N. Gest Jr. (Lighthouse Point)
Joseph E. Giewartowski (Orlando)
Thomas J. Gregory (Maitland)
Gail G. Griseuk (Saint Petersburg)
Robert Gutner (Boynton Beach)
Robert Hedges (Deerfield Beach)
Kirk F. Henderson (North Palm Beach)
Thomas S. Jackman (Cape Coral)
Robert C. Jensen (Miami Lakes)
Mark P. Koestner (Naples)
David J. Kury (Coral Springs/Lake Butler)
Richard J. Lanigan (Laurel/Port Charlotte)
Thomas R. Lomas (Longwood)
Ramona V. MacKinnon (Naples/Tallahassee)
Clifford W. Maher (Fort Lauderdale)
Marcus R. Michles (Winter Park)
Allen R. Montgomery (Lakeland)
Blake S. Murray (Deland/Lake Mary)
Robert J. Nies (Saint Petersburg)
Mark E. Nichols (Naples)
Carl W. Nolting (Fort Lauderdale)
Robert J. Papolos (Tallahassee)
Bruce Pivar (Naples)
Nicholas J. Ruggeri (Clearwater)
Craig P. Scanlon (Madeira Beach)
Brenda M. Scott (Belleair/Clearwater)
David E. Sears (Nokomis)
C. Douglas Sedlak (Boca Raton)
Brian J. Sheen (Boca Raton)
Neal S. Smalbach (Palm Harbor)
Donald C. Smith (University Park)
Sandee G. Tanner (Brooksville)
Steven W. Taylor (Stuart)
Frederic W. Tokars (Palm Beach)
David E. Trotter, Sr. (Windermere)
Glen R. Walker (Pinellas Park/Tampa)
Pearlena Wallace (West Palm Beach)
Michael J. Wells (Winter Park)
Richard I. Weise (Naples)
Samuel L. Williams (Lake Worth/Boca Raton)

Denial of CFP® Certification
Christopher V. Eardley (Ocala)

Suspensions
Fred J. Anderson (Lehigh Acres)
Juan Jose Barberis (Jacksonville)
W. Steve Brown (Jacksonville)
Jeffrey Cimbal (Parkland)
Melvyn D. Cohen (Lake Worth)
James B. Evans (Clearwater)
Mario J. Ferrari (Boca Raton)
Kenneth A. Friedman (Jasksonville)
Michael C. Gainer (Jacksonville Beach)
Larry L. Galantis (Saint Petersburg)
Frederick G. Gartz (Naples)
Henry T. Goode (Melbourne)
Michael Hanke (Lutz)
Larry C. Hill (Boca Raton)
Scott D. Krause (Windemere)
Robert D. Lovett (Coral Springs)
Andrew W. MacGill (Tampa)
Bernard E. Ribordy (Seminole)
T. "Jerry" Royer (Altamonte Springs)
Jason E. Stephens (Naples)
Lewis N. Waltzer (Sanibel)
Mark N. Wright (Sarasota)
Herman W. Yurman (Saint Petersburg)

Interim Suspensions
Diane L. Barriga (Parkland)
Brian G. Doherty (Naples)
Neal S. Smalbach (Palm Harbor)

Letters of Admonition
James A. Barry, Jr. (Highland Beach)
Robin S. Davis (Stuart)
Kirk L. Gravelle (Jacksonville) 
William R. Hutchisson, Jr. (Palm Harbor/Clearwater)
Matthew E. Marone (St. Petersburg)
William F. Perkins (Tarpon Springs)
Richard T. Salter (Boynton Beach/Juno Beach)
C. Douglas Sedlak (Boca Raton)
Russell Bruce Simmons (Tampa)
Christopher F. Wendland (Fort Myers)
Robert G. Yarbrough (Ormond Beach)
William P. Yurkovac (Naples) - See more at: www.cfp.net/about-cfp-board/ethics-enforcement/disciplined-individuals-by-state#Florida
Revocations
Carol M. Allen (Deland)
Diane L. Barriga (Parkland)
Kenneth W. Brown (Ocean Ridge/Boca Raton)
Scott Browning (Tampa)
Richard N. Davis (Tampa)
Charles E. Foy (Saint Augustine)
Gregory L. Fuhrman (Englewood)
Jay J. Gelfenbaum (Coral Springs)
Robert N. Gest Jr. (Lighthouse Point)
Joseph E. Giewartowski (Orlando)
Thomas J. Gregory (Maitland)
Gail G. Griseuk (Saint Petersburg)
Robert Gutner (Boynton Beach)
Robert Hedges (Deerfield Beach)
Kirk F. Henderson (North Palm Beach)
Thomas S. Jackman (Cape Coral)
Robert C. Jensen (Miami Lakes)
Mark P. Koestner (Naples)
David J. Kury (Coral Springs/Lake Butler)
Richard J. Lanigan (Laurel/Port Charlotte)
Thomas R. Lomas (Longwood)
Ramona V. MacKinnon (Naples/Tallahassee)
Clifford W. Maher (Fort Lauderdale)
Marcus R. Michles (Winter Park)
Allen R. Montgomery (Lakeland)
Blake S. Murray (Deland/Lake Mary)
Robert J. Nies (Saint Petersburg)
Mark E. Nichols (Naples)
Carl W. Nolting (Fort Lauderdale)
Robert J. Papolos (Tallahassee)
Bruce Pivar (Naples)
Nicholas J. Ruggeri (Clearwater)
Craig P. Scanlon (Madeira Beach)
Brenda M. Scott (Belleair/Clearwater)
David E. Sears (Nokomis)
C. Douglas Sedlak (Boca Raton)
Brian J. Sheen (Boca Raton)
Neal S. Smalbach (Palm Harbor)
Donald C. Smith (University Park)
Sandee G. Tanner (Brooksville)
Steven W. Taylor (Stuart)
Frederic W. Tokars (Palm Beach)
David E. Trotter, Sr. (Windermere)
Glen R. Walker (Pinellas Park/Tampa)
Pearlena Wallace (West Palm Beach)
Michael J. Wells (Winter Park)
Richard I. Weise (Naples)
Samuel L. Williams (Lake Worth/Boca Raton)


Denial of CFP® Certification
Christopher V. Eardley (Ocala)

Suspensions
Fred J. Anderson (Lehigh Acres)
Juan Jose Barberis (Jacksonville)
W. Steve Brown (Jacksonville)
Jeffrey Cimbal (Parkland)
Melvyn D. Cohen (Lake Worth)
Adam S. Deane (Naples)
James B. Evans (Clearwater)
Mario J. Ferrari (Boca Raton)
Kenneth A. Friedman (Jasksonville)
Michael C. Gainer (Jacksonville Beach)
Larry L. Galantis (Saint Petersburg)
Frederick G. Gartz (Naples)
Henry T. Goode (Melbourne)
Michael Hanke (Lutz)
Larry C. Hill (Boca Raton)
Scott D. Krause (Windemere)
Robert D. Lovett (Coral Springs)
Andrew W. MacGill (Tampa)
Bernard E. Ribordy (Seminole)
T. "Jerry" Royer (Altamonte Springs)
Riad Shanawany (Tamarac)
Jason E. Stephens (Naples)
Lewis N. Waltzer (Sanibel)
Bruce E. Winter (Boca Raton)
Mark N. Wright (Sarasota)
Herman W. Yurman (Saint Petersburg)


Interim Suspensions
Diane L. Barriga (Parkland)
Brian G. Doherty (Naples)
Neal S. Smalbach (Palm Harbor)
William G. Whitcomb (Fort Myers)
 
Letters of Admonition
James A. Barry, Jr. (Highland Beach)
Robin S. Davis (Stuart)
Kirk L. Gravelle (Jacksonville) 
William R. Hutchisson, Jr. (Palm Harbor/Clearwater)
Robert R. Liggero (Atlantic Beach)
Matthew E. Marone (St. Petersburg)
William F. Perkins (Tarpon Springs)

Richard T. Salter (Boynton Beach/Juno Beach)
C. Douglas Sedlak (Boca Raton)
Russell Bruce Simmons (Tampa)
Christopher F. Wendland (Fort Myers)
Robert G. Yarbrough (Ormond Beach)
William P. Yurkovac (Naples) 

Investors who have suffered damages as a result of the negligence or fraud of their stock broker, investment adviser or brokerage firm may be able to recover all or a part of those losses through arbitration.

If you have questions about losses you have suffered or advice that you have been given in connection with your stock brokerage account, contact us for a no charge consultation. 

Nationwide representation


Rex Securities Law

561 391 1900

Securities America Fined by FINRA for Misleading Statements

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In March 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and fined Securities America $625,000 for failing to supervise use of their consolidated reporting systems which resulted in statements being sent to customers that contained inaccurate valuations and for failing to retain consolidated reports in accordance with securities laws. 

The consolidated reporting system combined information regarding customer's holdings and included assets held both at the firm as well as away from the firm. The system allowed brokers to enter values for assets held away from the firm. 

It is common for many firms to exclude from monthly statements, values or alternative assets like REITs, oil and gas partnerships, hedge funds and business development companies. 

FINRA Executive VP and Chief of Enforcement  Brad Bennett said "Firms must ensure that consolidated reports send to customers are clear, accurate and not misleading. Absent proper supervision, consolidated reports can be used by unscrupulous representatives to conceal fraud and theft".

For more than two years, according to FINRAs news release, Securities America failed to supervise hundreds of brokers, some of whom were creating and sending false and inaccurate consolidated reports to customers. Many contained inflated values for investments, some of which were in default or receivership. 

If you have questions about your account with Securities America, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to explore your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Triad Advisors Fined $650,000 by FINRA-Inaccurate Statements

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

In March 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and fined Triad Advisors $650,000 for failing to supervise use of their consolidated reporting systems which resulted in statements being sent to customers that contained inaccurate valuations and for failing to retain consolidated reports in accordance with securities laws. 

Triad was also ordered to pay $375,000 in restitution to customers. 

The consolidated reporting system combined information regarding customer's holdings and included assets held both at the firm as well as away from the firm. The system allowed brokers to enter values for assets held away from the firm. 

It is common for many firms to exclude from monthly statements, values or alternative assets like REITs, oil and gas partnerships, hedge funds and business development companies. 

FINRA Executive VP and Chief of Enforcement  Brad Bennett said "Firms must ensure that consolidated reports send to customers are clear, accurate and not misleading. Absent proper supervision, consolidated reports can be used by unscrupulous representatives to conceal fraud and theft".

For more than two years, according to FINRAs news release, Triad failed to supervise hundreds of brokers, some of whom were creating and sending false and inaccurate consolidated reports to customers. Many contained inflated values for investments and some reflected fictitious promissory notes and investments. 

If you have questions about your account with Triad Advisors, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to explore your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Delray Beach Broker David E. Macias Suspended/Fined by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In December 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended Delray Beach, FL, broker David E. Macias for three months and fined him $15,000 to resolve allegations that he placed trades in an outside securities account and failed to notify his firm. FINRA also alleged that Macias exercised discretionary power in a customer account and placed discretionary trades in the customer's account without written authorization and without his firm's written approval. 

Macias utilized text messaging and a non firm, personal email account to communicate with a customer and conduct securities business. Use of these methods of communication was not approved by his firm and violative of firm policy. 

The suspension is in effect from December 16. 2013- March 15, 2014. 

According to FINRA records Macias was registered with R.M. Stark & Co. from 11/2009-10/2012. As of March 2014, FINRA records indicate that he is not currently registered with FINRA. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled, contact us to discuss your legal rights. No charge for initial consultation. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

LPL Financial Fined--Again--Over Alternative Investments

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined LPL Financial $950,000 for supervisory deficiencies in connection with the sales of various alternative investments including: 

  • Non Traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  • Oil & Gas Partnerships
  • Business Development Companies (BDCs)
  • Hedge Funds
  • Managed Futures
Most alternative investments specify the appropriate concentration limit for investors in the documentation provided to investors in the offering. Brokers are charged with making "suitable recommendations" to investors given their age, health and level of financial sophistication. In addition, many states have their own specified concentration levels for these investments. 

What is a concentration level? It generally relates to the percentage of an investor's liquid net worth (stocks, bonds, cash, etc...) that is invested in alternative investments. For example, if an investor has total liquid net worth of $750,000 and is sold alternative investments worth $50,000, the concentration level is 50,000/750,000, which is 6.7%. In most cases, after taking into consideration the age, health, etc of the investor, that may be an acceptable level of concentration. If however the amount of alternative investments was $150,000, 20% of liquid net worth, that could be a problem. 

Alternative investments generally pay significantly higher commissions, to the broker and the brokerage firm, making them a tempting target for brokers to sell to often times very unsophisticated investors. 

In  this recent FINRA investigation, which LPL neither admitted or denied charges, FINRA found that from Jan 1, 2008- July 1,  2012, LPL Financial failed to adequately supervise its brokers selling alternative investments in violation of concentration limits. 

LPL Financial's has had many similar issues  with securities regulators over its supervisory and compliance deficiencies. In December 2012,  LPL paid $4.8 million in restitution to settle sales practice claims with William Galvin,  Secretary of Commonwealth, Massachusetts Securities Division, over sales practices. 

In March 2013, FINRA fined LPL Financial $7.5 million for failures related to their email system. 

If you or one of your loved ones has losses related to alternative investments purchased from LPL Financial, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal rights. No charge for initial consultation. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

AXA Equitable Hit with $20 Million Fine Over Annuities

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014, the New York Department of Financial Services fined Axa Equitable Life Insurance Co. $20 million after the regulator accused AXA of limiting returns for legacy variable annuity clients without providing proper notice to the annuity holders. 

The regulator found that the changes AXA made to older annuity polices limited gains that a client would have received prior to the change and lowered the value of certain guaranteed benefits. 

If you purchased an annuity from AXA or any other brokerage firm and feel that you were misled as to the nature of the investment, call to discuss your legal rights. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Jack R. Kelly, Millington, Tennessee, Barred by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Millington, Tennessee, broker Jack Richard Kelly from the industry upon findings that he converted $85,000 from customers.

Findings state that a customer gave Kelly checks for a total of $40,000 to be invested in a fund that Kelly had represented would earn 7% interest. The $40,000 came from a trust account held at Kelly's member firm that was intended to provide for the customer's disabled sister. Instead of investing the funds, Kelly converted them to his own use.

Findings also state that an elderly customer gave Kelly $45,000 to be invested in a fund that Kelly had represented would provide 7% interest, but which were converted to Kelly's own use. 

According to FINRA records, which may be accessed hereKelly has a number of disclosure events and was registered with PFS Investments, Inc., which is headquartered in Waterloo, Iowa, from 12/1989-07/2013. He is not currently registered.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Rockwell Global Capital Broker Fined and Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Roswell, Georgia, broker Denny P. Darmodihardjo $2,500 and suspended him for one month upon findings that he failed to disclose on regulatory documents the material fact that he had an outstanding federal tax lien. 

According to FINRA records, which may be accessed here, Darmodihardjo has a number of customer complaints and other disclosure events and has been registered with Rockwell Global Capital LLC, which is headquartered in Melville, NY, since 12/2006.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

American Investors Group Fined By FINRA Over Church Bond Pricing

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014, FINRA fined American Investors Group, Inc. of Minnetonka, Minnesota, $35,000 in connection with findings that the firm did not have adequate supervisory systems and procedures to ensure fair pricing of church bonds in the secondary market. FINRA found that with regard to church bonds traded in the secondary market, the firm did not conduct adequate ongoing due diligence. 

Because the firm was the only participant in this secondary market, it set the prices at which it repurchased and resold church bonds as its own discretion and had no market price or other external reference upon which to rely. 

The findings also stated that the firm published fliers and had a publically available website in connection with the church bond sales and some of this information did not provide a fair and balanced presentation of the risks and rewards of the church bonds they promoted. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal rights. No charge for initial consultation.

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900


Miami Broker Bruce Supanik Barred by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 


In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Miami, FL, broker Bruce Francis Supanik from the industry. 

FINRA findings state that FINRA requested that Supanik appear and provide on the record testimony in relation to the events related to being fired by his firm for allegations that he transferred the balance of a customer's account at the firm containing over $500,000 to the joint checking account he shared with the customer. Supanik then withdrew the balance from the joint checking account and deposited it into his personal bank account. 

According to FINRA records Supanik is not currently registered . His previous registration history includes:

3/2005- 3/2013 The O.N. Equity Sales Co.
7/2002-3/2005 Associated Securities Corp

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Boca Raton Broker Sean Mollard Fined and Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Boca Raton , FL , broker Sean Wesley Mollard $5,000 and suspended him for six months. 

These sanctions were imposed to resolve FINRA allegations that Mollard failed to timely respond to FINRA requests for information and documents. It was not until FINRA issued a Notice of Suspension to Mollard that he responded to the requests. 

According to FINRA records Mollard is not currently registered . His previous registration history includes:

7/2013-12/2013 Aegis Capital 
5/2007-9/2012 Dawson James Securities
8/2006-5/2007 Chicago Investment Group 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Dallas Broker Wade J Lawrence Barred By FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 


In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Dallas, Texas, broker Wade James Lawrence from the industry. 

FINRA findings state that FINRA received a tip alleging that Lawrence misappropriated customer funds. During the course of the investigation regarding the tip, FINRA requested that Lawrence appear and provide on the record testimony. Counsel for Lawrence informed FINRA that he would not appear and provide on the record testimony. 

According to FINRA records Lawrence is not currently registered . His previous registration history includes:

8/2011-12/2013 Southwest Securities, Inc.
6/2008-7/2011 Oppenheimer & Co. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Michael Koletar, Portland TX, Broker Fined/ Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Portland, Texas, broker Michael Charles Koletar $5,000 and suspended him for 30 days. 

These sanctions were imposed to resolve FINRA allegations that he effected discretionary transactions in customer accounts without obtaining the customer's prior written authorization and without his member firm's acceptance of the accounts as discretionary. The findings stated that the firm allowed use of discretion only in managed accounts and certain family brokerage accounts with prior written approval. 

According to FINRA records Koletar is not currently registered . His previous registration history includes:

10/2012-2/2014 LPL Financial
6/2000-9/2012 Wells Fargo Advisors

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Daniel Johnson, Mt. Dora Broker, Fined and Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Mt. Dora, FL, broker Daniel Padgett Johnson $5,000 and suspended him for 30 days to resolve allegations that he engaged in outside business activities without providing written notice to his firms. Approximately one month after Johnson began working at the firm he established a company through which he performed insurance and business consulting as CEO and failed to notify his firm in writing. Upon learning of the undisclosed business activity, the firm terminated Johnson. 

According to FINRA records Johnson is not currently registered. His previous registration history includes:

12/2012-11/2013   Valic Financial Services
10/2011-8/2012  Merrill Lynch
8/2009-12/2010  Money Concepts Capital Corp. 

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Pembroke Pines Broker Ariel Hernandez Barred from Industry

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred Pembroke Pines, FL, broker Ariel Luis Hernandez from the industry 

FINRA findings state that Hernandez wired money from a client's fee based brokerage account  to a bank without the client's permission or knowledge and disclosed a pending customer dispute concerning the same allegations, indicating the alleged compensatory damages of $158,000

According to FINRA records Hernandez is not currently registered. His previous registration history includes:

8/2010-11/2013 Liberty Partners Financial Services
9/2009-8/2010 Summit Brokerage Services 
12/2008-9/2009 J.B. Hanauer

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Owen Finnel Dudley Fined and Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Naples, Florida, broker Owen F Dudley $5,000 and suspended him for 15 days. 

These sanctions were imposed to resolve FINRA allegations that he effected discretionary transactions in customer accounts without obtaining the customer's prior written authorization and without his member firm's acceptance of the accounts as discretionary. 

According to FINRA records Dudley is currently registered with Westport Resources Investment Services. His previous registration history includes:

1/2008-2/2012 Wells Fargo Advisors
1/2007-1/2008 A.G. Edwards & Sons
11/1997-2/2007 McDonald Investments  

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

Dale Davenport Fined and Suspended by FINRA

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

In March 2014, FINRA fined Dale Wesley Davenport of Stuart, Florida, $7,500 and suspended him for six months for failing to report a tax lien filed against his home. Findings also state that Davenport paid an individual who had never been registered with a member firm for the referral of a customer based upon commissions generated from transactions in the customer's account. 

According to FINRA records, Davenport is not currently registered as of March 2014. He was previously registered with: 

Newbridge Securities 4/2011-1/2014
Investors Capital Corp 11/2002-3/2011
Makefield Securities 11/1993-11/2002

Davenports FINRA record which may be accessed on the BrokerCheck website, discloses  4 customer disputes involving direct investments and limited partnerships. 

If you had an account with Davenport that suffered losses you may be able to recover damages. Call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. 

Nationwide representation.


561 391 1900

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