All posts by rexsecuritieslaw

FINRA Issues March 2012 Disciplinary Actions

FINRA (The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) issues disciplinary and other actions monthly against member firms and individual stock brokers for violations of FINRA rules, federal securities laws, rules and regulations and the rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)

Here are the actions taken for the month of March 2012 against Florida members and individuals. For a complete listing of all actions, visit the FINRA website.

Tradespot Markets (formerly Beloyan Investment Securities, Inc.) & Mark B. Beloyan- Davie, FL: Fined $13,500 and suspended for 10 days for distributing misleading information in connection with sale of stock.

Spartan Securities Group LTD, Clearwater, FL-Censured and fined $52,500 and required to revise supervisory system and procedures related to order handling, best execution, anti-intimidation, trade reporting and other areas.

Erick Enrique Isaac-Aventura, FL– Barred from association with any FINRA member for payment of commissions to unregistered individual.

Scott David Mason-Debary, FL-Suspended for 18 months for establishing a hedge fund and sold partnership interests in the hedge fund without his firm’s permission, raising over $1 million.

Richard A Neaton-Port Charlotte, FL-Barred from association with any FINRA member for failure to disclose disciplinary actions and sanctions a state bar disciplinary board imposed on him.

Sergio M. Ripamonti-Sunny Isles Beach, FL-Barred from association with any FINRA member on findings that he conducted a securities business with an unregistered person.

Richard P Sandru-Fort Myers, FL– Barred from association with any FINRA member on findings he submitted forms for financial planning clients that resulted in the payment of improper fees to Sandur of more than $292,000.

Allan Anthony Scheer-Melbourne,FL-Fined $5,000 and suspended for four months for misrepresenting material information to potential clients.

Dominick A. Zavaglia, Jr.-Miami, FL– Fined $5,000 and suspended for six months for failing to timely disclose material facts on his form U4.

Firms Cancelled for Failure to Pay

Outstanding Fees 

Allegiant Securities L.L.C. (CRD #133912)

Miami, Florida

(January 11, 2012)

 

American Classic Financial Company

(CRD #24099)

Colorado Springs, Colorado

(January 24, 2012)

 

Cohen Capital Group, LLC (CRD #43418)

New York, New York

(January 11, 2012)

 

Hanmi Asset Securities, Inc. (CRD #137893)

Los Angeles, California

(January 30, 2012)

 

Lighthouse Capital Corporation

(CRD #41812)

Monterey, California

(January 30, 2012)

 

Madison Williams and Company, LLC

(CRD #149530)

New York, New York

(January 30, 2012)

 

Securities Corporation of America

(CRD #15286)

Dallas, Texas

(January 30, 2012)

 

Windfall Securities LLC (CRD #147779)

San Francisco, California

(January 30, 2012)

 

Individuals (FL only) Barred for Failure to Provide Current Information

 

Todd Nall Farmer (CRD #4364321)

Arlene Debra Cassinelli (CRD #2970803)

Michael Frank Louis (CRD #2287160)

Individuals (FL only) Suspended for Failure to Provide Current Information

 

Vladimir Avin (CRD #2625858)

Keith Kirkpatrick Lemley (CRD #1520929)

Paul Gerard Pfeiffer (CRD #4842017)

Patricia Claire Rodriguez (CRD #1947350)

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or have unexplained losses in your stock market account, please do not hesitate to contact us .

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Rex Securities Law Investigates Recovery of Puda Coal Losses

Have you or your loved ones suffered losses as a result of purchasing Puda Coal?

In late February 2012, the Securities & Exchange Commission charged
two China-based executives with defrauding investors by convincing them
that they were investing in a Chinese coal company when in fact there
was nothing but a shell company with no assets. This fraud has wiped out
hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder value.

According to the SEC action Puda Coal’s chairman Ming Zhao conspired
with a former CEO Liping Zhu to steal and sell Puda’s only revenue
producing asset, a coal mining company name Shanxi Puda Coal Group.
Puda’s interest in Shanxi was secretly transferred to Zhao who then sold
most of it to a fund, allowing Zhao to reap all the profit at the
expense of Puda’s shareholders.

The scheme was hatched just weeks before Puda was to announce that
Shanxi had received a lucrative contract from Chinese government
authorities causing investors in the US to run the price of  the stock
up to over $16. It currently (March 2012) is trading at $.23.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Lehman Note Investors-Stilll Time For Investors Suffering Losses to Make Claim

Lehman Brothers has emerged from bankruptcy and is scheduled to begin making distributions in April 2012 to its creditors, which include investors in the Lehman Brothers 100% Principal Protected, Partial Protection, Step Up Callable, Return Optimization and Absolute Return Barrier Notes.

It is anticipated that investors will only recover about 20% of their losses through the bankruptcy. You may be able to recover the balance of your losses by filing an arbitration claim with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Many investors have already done so and have been successful  in recovering a substantial portion of their losses.

It is important to act quickly to avoid having your right to pursue the arbitration expire.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or have lost money in the Lehman Principal Protected Notes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

 

Securities Regulators Offer “Scam Meter” to Help Investors Avoid Making Bad Decision

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ( FINRA) has a Scam Meter on their website which might help keep investors from making a bad decision.

It starts with the age old warning “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

And then it asks a series of four questions.

1-The scam meter asks if the investment is one of the following:

  • Promissory note
  • A stock selling for under $5
  • A high yield investment, “bank guarantee’ or “Prime Bank” investment
  • “Risk Free” or “Guaranteed”

2-Question two asks how you learned about the investment.  Was it a free seminar, from unsolicited materials sent in the mail, from a spam email or through a “cold call”.

3-What have you been told about the investment?

Does it offer high returns and low risk? Guaranteed? A limited time only? One of only a few left? Has it been purchased by many other successful investors?

4-Who is selling the investment?

An unregistered person? Someone you recently met? A member of your church or other organization?

Pretty basic stuff, but probably worth the effort if you are looking for another source to help evaluate a potential investment and avoid becoming a victim of financial exploitation.

Anytime you are investing you need to research the person selling the investment and the company he or she works for. Try to get references from people you know and respect before doing business. We see all too many situations where our clients could have avoided a disastrous financial situation had they been a bit more wary.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or investment losses you have suffered, call to discuss your legal options. 

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Investors Would Be Wise to Listen to Warnings from Retiring Goldman Sachs Broker

In what is probably being described today by members of the financial services industry as a leak of insider information, retiring Goldman Sachs director Greg Smith provided a rare glimpse into the dark corners of Wall Street where those in control make decisions affecting the financial futures of investors planet wide.

Smith’s op-ed article in the New York Times today indicates that the financial industry problems leading up to the 2008 crash are far from over. While I suggest you read the article yourself, here are some of his observations after his 12 years with Goldman:

  • “I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it”
  • “the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money”
  • “The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.”
  • “Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.”
  • “…get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman.”

Considering his position as head of Goldman’s US equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, investors who have purchased any Goldman derivative products are probably having a little trouble sleeping right now.

Smith goes  on to say:

  • “It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off.”
  • “will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.”

Thank you Mr. Smith for the insight. Thanks even more for the warning.

Investors take heed.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or investment losses you have suffered, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Securities Regulator Awards $2.1 million For Sale of Tenant in Common Investments (TICs)

A FINRA arbitration panel found that TIC investments were unsuitable and ordered Pacific West Securities to pay $2.1 million in damages to a couple that had been clients.

TICs are real estate securities also known as tenant-in-common exchanges and have been very popular over recent years.

Unfortunately the investor may see little or none of the money since Pacific West’s CEO announced that the firm would be forced to close down. This danger, entrusting your nest egg to a firm that may have limited resources, is one we have warned investors about in the past. See this link (bottom of page “A Word to the Wise…”) for more on the dangers of dealing with a thinly capitalized broker-dealer.

The arbitration panel found that the TICs were not suitable for the couple “given their age, financial condition, cash flow needs, risk tolerance, over concentration in real estate and for other reasons”. The panel also awarded $200,000 in attorney fees and interest and was particularly concerned about the lack of a suitability analysis, saying in their order:

“Among other evidence of a violation of a standard of care under the Securities Act of Washington was the disavowal by [Pacific West and its broker, William Swayne II] of any obligation to conduct a suitability analysis for the sale of TICs in the circumstances of a Section 1031 — like-kind-assets exchange for tax deferral purposes,” according to the award. The arbitrators “determined that the sale of these securities to (the couple) violated the duty of reasonable care.”

Broker dealers that sold TIC investments include:

Alternative Wealth Strategies
American Wealth Management
Berthel Fisher & Co
Cambridge Investment Research
CapWest Securities Inc.
DBSI Securities
DeWaay Financial Network, Inc.
Equity Services Inc.
FINTEGRA LLC
F.A. Repple & Co.
Grubb & Ellis
INVEST Financial Corp.
Investment Security Corporation
Investors Capital
J.P. Turner Co. LLC
LaSalle St. Securities
KMS Financial Services, Inc.
LPL Financial
MCL Financial Group Inc.
Meridian Capital Partners
Next Financial Group
NPV/Direct Invest
Omni Brokerage Inc.
Orchid Securities
Pacific West Securities
QA3 Financial Corp.
Quest Securities
Questar Capital Corp.
Regent Financial Group
Sanders Morris Harris
Sagepoint Financial
Securities Network LLC
Sigma Financial
U. S. Advisors LLC
U. S. Commercial
WFP Securities

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Felix Investments & SharesPost Scrutinized By Securities & Exchange Commission

Investment News reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA served Felix Investments LLC a Wells notice, signifying that the regulators intend to institute
sanctions for violating securities laws in connection with sales activities in 2010.

The article attributes the information to “two people with knowledge of the matter” and goes on to say that regulators have been investigating the trading in equity of closely held startup companies for over a year and that SharesPost Inc. is another potential target.  

The regulators are apparently concerned that because the closely held companies are not required to make the same financial disclosure as public companies, investors are more susceptible to fraud.

Felix creates and sells pools of investments through which investors can purchase shares of non-public stock, like the recent offerings of Facebook and Twitter.

SharesPost acts as middleman lining up sellers with buyers. Trading of this type is for accredited investors, those with at least $1 million in assets and income of $200,000 or more.

Last year Goldman Sachs pulled their plan to offer $1.5 billion of Facebook equity to US investors citing “immense media attention” which might lead to a violation of SEC rules limiting the sale of private securities. Instead  Goldman offered it only to non-US investors.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870