Category Archives: Stockbroker Malpractice

Former David Lerner Officer Leaves to Start New Firm

March 21, 2012

The former chief compliance officer of David Lerner Associates, Inc. has formed a new firm, Cabot Lodge Securities, and has opened three offices in New York City and is opening a fourth in Boca Raton, FL.

Cabot has 20 advisers at the time, according to the Investment News, and plans to grow to 100 or 125 by the end of the year. Cabot promises a higher payout and an ownership interest in the firm. The firm will sell proprietary products like private placements, real estate programs, oil & gas programs as well as publicly traded and nontraded real estate investment trusts.

Albert Ackerman, Cabot’s CEO has extensive experience with Lerner. Lerner has sold over $6 billion of nontraded REITs to over 100,000 customers since 1992.

David Lerner and his company have recently been the subject of a FINRA investigation in connection with their REIT sales. More information on Lerner’s problems can be found here.  

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 Bars Tyler, Texas, Broker for Selling Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

March 21, 2012

We have warned investors in the past to be wary when buying ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds). This is because many contain risks that are not apparent and not always explained and may not be suitable for retired persons and unsophisticated investors.

The FInancial Regulatory Authority (FINRA)  barred permanently Michael Venable, a broker from Tyler, Texas, for putting 10 of his middle class clients in unsuitable and highly leveraged ETFs.

FINRA found that these investments were not suitable for unsophisticated clients with conservative investment objectives and risk profiles. The clients were put into Direxion ETFs. Some of the Direxion ETFs invested by shorting parts of the market and trading on margin. Investors were not made aware of these risks when they purchased them. The investors ranged in age from 40 to 91 and had incomes frm $25,000 to $50,000 a year.

In addition, FINRA found that the broker traded the account excessively, an abuse we see all too often. One account with a $17,000 balance had commissions of $9,600 making it impossible for the account to ever realize any profit.

If you have losses in Direxion or have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled, call to discuss your legal options with an experienced securities attorney.

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

Investor Recovery Options for Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund LP. Losses

March 21, 2012

Have you or your loved ones invested in Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund LP ?

According to the Wall Street Journal and other business press, the U.S. Attorneys office, the SEC and the Massachusetts Attorney General  are probing whether this private equity fund that was part of Oppenheimer Holdings Inc overstated the value of its
holdings. According to the WSJ, the overestimation reached as much as $4 million and came in 2009 at a time when the fund was trying solicit new investors. The overestimation resulted in reporting an internal rate of return of 38% compared to a loss of over 6% in the prior period.

The fund, which makes investments of its own and also invests in other private equity funds, thereafter raised $55 million from individuals and institutions based upon what appears to be inaccurate and overstated performance results.

If you purchased this investment you may have claims for damages for misrepresentation and other causes of action. Call to discuss your options with an experienced securities attorney.

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 Fines Citifgroup $1.2M for Charging Excessive Markup/Downs on Bond Transactions

March 20, 2012

Today FINRA ( The Financial Regulatory Authority) fined Citi International Financial Services LLC, a subsidiary of Citigroup, Inc. $600,000 and ordered restitution to 3,600 customers totaling $648,000 for charging excessive markups and markdowns
on bond transactions and other supervisory issues. Here is a link to the FINRA  press release.

Markups and markdowns are the differences between what a broker pays or sells a bond for and what he sells or buys it from you for. It is the undisclosed profit ( the “spread”) that firms make when buying and selling your bonds. For example, if the broker purchasesd bond for $99 and sells it to you for $100, the markup is $1.

The SEC doesn’t require brokers to disclose how much they make on bonds they sell to you. To protect yourself you may want to go to Investing in Bonds.com , enter the cusip number of the bond and get information about what the bond has been trading for recently. Generally 1-2% markup is ok.

In the Citi case, FINRA found that from July 2007 to September 2010, they had charged excessive markups and markdowns, ranging from 2.73-over 10%.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or have unexplained losses in your stock market account, call to discuss your 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

SEC Issues Investor Bulletin on Municipal Bonds

On March 19, 2012, the Securities & Exchange Commission
issued an Investor Bulletin to help educate investors on Municipal Bonds.

Municipal bonds (muni’s) are debt securities issued by
governmental agencies like cities & counties, often times to fund projects like building schools and highways.

There are two common types: General Obligation Bonds which are not secured by any specific assets, but rather are backed by the issuer (ie; state, county, etc.)

Revenue Bonds which are backed, not by the government entity but by revenues from a specific project like highway tolls.

The SEC points out that muni’s are subject to the
following risks:

  • Call Risk-the potential for the issuer to repay
    the bond before its maturity date.
  • Credit Risk-the risk that the issuer may experience
    financical problems that may it difficult or impossible to pay the promised
  • Interest Rate Risk-the risk associated with the
    fluctuation of the value of the bond in response to rising and falling interest
  • Inflation Risk-If prices move up generally,
    this can lead to rising interest rates which lower the value of bonds.
  • Liquidity Risk-the risk that investors will not
    be able to find a market for their bonds.

If you are thinking of investing in municipal bonds, you would be wise to read the entire Investor Bulletin on the SEC website.

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

Stockbroker Jailed for Selling Annuity to 83 Year Old Woman

The Wall Street Journal reports that California’s insurance commissioner had independent insurance agent Glenn Neasham arrested for selling a complex annuity to an 83 year old woman. The jury in Lake County, CA, found the lady had dementia and  convicted the broker of felony-theft and ordered him to spend 90 days in jail.

Steve Poizner,  the former insurance commissioner was quoted as saying agents “who steal from vulnerable seniors will not get away with their shameful tricks”.

We have warned investors to be wary when making annuity purchases for many years given the fact that there are often steep penalties if money is withdrawn early. Some annuities define “early” as a decade or more. In addition commissions on indexed annuities are very high, sometimes 12% or more.

In the case cited, the broker earned a $14,000 commission (8%) and the penalty to pull the money out of the annuity in the first year was 12.5%.

We are not aware of another case where the regulators have taken such a strong stance. Perhaps this will have some chilling effect on the sale of these products to the elderly, however you can’t ask too many questions about the suitability  of any annuity proposed to you by your broker.

If you have questions about the way your brokerage account is being handled or have unexplained losses in your stock market account, 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

 

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