Category Archives: Sterling Enterprises Group

David A. Cusano-Former Sandlapper Securities Broker-Discloses Regulatory Matter and Customer Disputes-Sarasota, FL

February 2017-Sarasota, Florida

According to publicly available records David A. Cusano , (CRD# 1805308) ,  a   stockbroker who is not currently registered and who was last employed by Sandlapper Securities, discloses a pending regulatory matter, 3 prior customer disputes that have been settled  and two separations from employment after allegations.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Cusano discloses the following FINRA arbitrations that have been settled:

  • 12-0594-a customer of his prior employer NEXT Financial Group alleged damages of $100,000 for unsuitable investments. That case was settled for $50,000
  • 12-2302-a customer of his prior employers NEXT Financial Group, High Mark Securities and SII Investments  alleged damages of $1,593,168 for losses on annuities. That case was settled for $95,000.
  • 11-3339-a customer of his prior employer NEXT Financial Group alleged damages of $945,030 for excessive trading in unsuitable products, misrepresenting fees and commissions that would be charged, failure to disclose material information and breach of fiduciary duty. That case was settled for $330,000.

According to his disclosures, in November 2016 the Florida Office of Financial Regulation filed a cease and desist action seeking sanctions, including a permanent bar from the industry for borrowing from customers, engaging in prohibited business practices and failing to observe high standards of commercial honor. FL Docket Case 58302-S. 

In 2002, Cusano voluntarily resigned from Walnut Street Securities on allegations that he  participated in selling an unregistered security away from the firm. In 2010 Cusano was permitted to resign from NEXT Financial for submitting variable annuity forms that contained inaccurate information.  

Cusano’s registrations include:

  • Sandlapper Securities– 6/2014-1/2015
  • Invest Financial Corp.-7/2011-6/2014
  • Sterling Enterprises– 1/2011-7/2011
  • J.P. Turner & Co.-7/2010-10/2010
  • NEXT Financial Group– 8/2007-6/2010

If you have losses  in an account handled by David A Cusano, 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

FINRA Announces November 2012 Disciplinary Actions

 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issues a report on disciplinary and other actions involving registered brokers, investment advisers and brokerage firms every month.

Here are significant Florida related actions for November 2012. Follow this link to the FINRA website for the entire report for actions nationwide for the month of November 2012 as well as to access  earlier time periods.

Raymond James & Associates (St. Petersburg, Florida)-censured and fined $250,000 for failure to safeguard against the unauthorized disclosure or personally identifiable information about firm customers after a customer complained that her firm account number and other personal information was available on the internet.

Charles Eugene Bishop, Jr.-Pompano Beach, Florida- was fined $7,500 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for two years. Bishop consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of
findings that he attempted to misappropriate approximately $3 million from an elderly customer of his member firm. Bishop created paperwork by which the deceased customer’s assets would be transferred to a purported entity that was never formed, but whose name was virtually identical to a company the customer owned, with a tax identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to another entity that was never formed, but whose sole member, according to IRS records, was Bishop.

After the customer passed away, Bishop, through his attorney, filed a notice with a Probate Division with his state’s Circuit Court representing that he had an interest in the customer’s estate as a claimant and beneficiary of the deceased customer’s estate.

The suspension will be in effect from December 3, 2012, through December 2, 2014. According to FINRA records, Bishop is not currently registered. His last industry position was with Merrill Lynch. Prior to that he worked for Morgan Stanley.

Robert Joseph Eanell-St. Petersburg, Florida-was fined $7,500 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 30 business days. Eanell consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he misrepresented his educational background to prospective securities customers, including on his business cards. The findings stated that on annual forms, Eanell’s member firm asked him to identify all of the degrees, titles and designations that he used on letterhead, business cards or in communications with clients. Nevertheless, Eanell failed to disclose the fact that he held himself out as the holder of a doctoral degree.

The suspension was in effect from October 1, 2012, through November 9, 2012. According to FINRA records Eanell is no longer registered. He last worked for Sterling Enterprises Group. Prior to that he was with GunnAllen and AXA Advisors.

Evan Coley Eggers-Jacksonville, Florida-was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months. Eggers consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he made premium payments for his customers’ life insurance policies, using his personal funds to make the payments. The findings stated that each payment was submitted to his member firm via a money order, a practice forbidden by company policy. On each money order, Eggers falsified the customer’s signature. On a couple of occasions, Eggers falsified the customer’s signature to reduce the value of a life insurance policy. The findings also stated that all insurance policies at issue were less than one year old. By continuing payment of the premiums, all policies remained active through a period of 13 months, thus qualifying Eggers for potential remuneration.

The suspension is in effect from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013.

FINRA records indicate that Eggers is no longer registered. He last worked for Northwestern Mutual Investment Services.

Ellen Joyce Erenstein – Boynton Beach, Florida- was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.  Erenstein consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that she failed to respond to FINRA requests to provide testimony concerning customer complaints prior securities customers and their heirs had filed against her.

FINRA records indicate that Erenstein is no longer registered having last worked for Workman Securities.

Brennan R. Lollar -St. Petersburg, Florida-was
barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. The sanction was based on findings that Lollar misappropriated funds from a bank where he worked as a branch manager. The findings stated that without the bank’s permission or authority, Lollar transferred funds into customers’ accounts and labeled the transfers as refunds of bank fees. No bank fees had ever been assessed to the customers, and Lollar knew the customers were not entitled to any refunds. Through a series of several small transactions, Lollar misappropriated a total of $3,242.90 into customers’ accounts. The findings also stated that Lollar admitted to the bank that he issued the false refunds and claimed that he did
so to assist, or to curry favor with, certain customers. The bank obtained reimbursement through the liquidation of Lollar’s retirement fund. The findings also included that other
than Lollar providing FINRA with a photocopy of a written statement previously provided to the bank admitting to certain aspects of his misconduct, he did not respond to FINRA requests for information and failed to appear for a FINRA on-the-record interview.

Brennan last worked for SunTrust Investment Services and is no longer registered per FINRA records.

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 September 2012 Disciplinary Actions

FINRA Issues September 2012 Disciplinary Actions

The
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issues a report on
disciplinary and other actions involving registered brokers, investment
advisers and brokerage firms every month.

This month there seem to be quite a few situations involving a broker borrowing money from his customer, which is not allowed by firm and industry rules.

Here are significant Florida related actions for September 2012. Follow this link to the FINRA website for the entire report for actions nationwide for the month of September 2012 as well as to access  earlier time periods.

You can access the employment, educational and disciplinary history of any broker by going to the FINRA Broker Check website which can be accessed here.

Robert Nunes Da Frota  Fort Myers, Florida was fined $10,000, suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months and ordered to make full repayment of the outstanding balance on a customer’s loan. The fine and full repayment of the outstanding balance on the loan, pursuant to the terms of the promissory note, must be paid either immediately upon Da Frota’s reassociation with a FINRA member firm following his suspension. 

Da Frota consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he borrowed $10,000 from a customer and executed a promissory note.The findings stated that while previously employed with another member firm, he borrowed $10,000 from a customer, executed a promissory note and has not repaid that customer. Da Frota never disclosed the loan to his previous member firm.

The suspension is in effect from August 6, 2012, through February 5, 2013.

FINRA
records disclose that DaFrota previously worked for LPL Financial and
more recently with Royal Alliance Associates. At the time of this
writing he is not currently registered.

Patrick Alan Deramus  Tampa, Florida  was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months. The fine must be paid either immediately upon Deramus’ reassociation with a FINRA member firm following his suspension.

Deramus consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he failed to timely notify his member firm of a felony charge and guilty plea. The findings stated that
Deramus willfully failed to amend his Form U4 to disclose the felony charge.

The suspension is in effect from July 16, 2012, through January 15, 2013.

Mr. Deramus was most recently employed by FSC Securities Corporation and is not currently registered with FINRA.

Brent Keith Deviney West Palm Beach, Florida
was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity
based on findings that Deviney failed to respond to FINRA requests for information and documents, and to appear for on-the-record interviews in connection with an investigation
of allegations that Deviney had converted funds and forged documents to do so.

Mr. Deviney has not been registered since February 2012 and his last broker position was with Newbridge Securities Corporation.

David Marasek  Boca Raton, Florida  was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 10 business days.  Marasek consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings
that he participated in private securities transactions, not for compensation, for some of his member firm’s foreign customers through another broker-dealer.

Marasek exercised limited trading authority in the customers’ accounts. The findings stated that Marasek did not provide his firm with written notice of the proposed transactions at the other brokerdealer and his proposed role therein, and failed to receive his firm’s prior written approval to participate in the private securities transactions.

Marasek’s supervisor was aware that he was assisting the firm’s customers with liquidating their stock, but not aware of Marasek’s limited trading authority.

The suspension was in effect from July 16, 2012, through July 27, 2012.

Marasek last worked as a broker for Wentworth Securities and is not currently registered.

Stephen Nietsch – Boynton Beach, Florida was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity and ordered to pay $20,000, plus interest, in restitution to a customer. The sanctions were based on findings that Nietsch borrowed $20,000 from an elderly customer contrary to his member firm’s procedures prohibiting him from borrowing from customers. Nietsch has not repaid the loan.

Nietsch last worked as a broker for Bank of America Investment Services and is not currently registered.

Jose S. Ramos Tampa, Florida was suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 12 months. In light of Ramos’ financial status, no monetary sanction has been imposed. Ramos consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to provide prompt written notice to his member firm to disclose his outside business activities.

Ramos held ownership interests in each outside business; held the titles of officer, treasurer and director; was responsible for, among other things, arranging financing to operate each business and participating in monthly board meetings; and received funds from a customer to invest in one of the businesses.

Ramos was clearly aware of his firm’s requirement and had previously disclosed outside business activities and had attended  compliance training sessions in which he was reminded of his obligation to report, in writing, his involvement in any outside business activity.

The findings also included that Ramos failed to timely update his Form U4 with his personal bankruptcy filing.

The suspension is in effect from August 6, 2012, through August 5, 2013.

Ramos formerly worked for Genworth Financial Securities (now known as Genworth Financial)  and most recently with Sterling Enterprises Group. He is not registered at the time of this writing.

Andrew Glen Rosenberg  -Weston, Florida
was fined $10,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months. Rosenberg consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he performed legal services for an issuer through his law practice, a sole proprietorship, and received approximately $98,000 in compensation.

The findings stated that for approximately 18 months, Rosenberg, acting through his company, presented and/or sold approximately $4.5 million worth of the issuer’s notes and debentures to investors, most of whom were his member firm’s customers. Rosenberg failed to disclose to the investors that he was providing legal services for compensation
to the issuer, thereby negligently failing to disclose a material fact to the investors. The findings also stated that Rosenberg advised his firm of his law practice on an outside business activities form and represented he was unaware of any potential conflicts of interest, but failed to promptly notify his firm through an amended form that he, through his law practice, was providing legal services for compensation to the issuer, an entity whose securities he was selling to investors, including firm customers.

The suspension is in effect from August 6, 2012, through November 5, 2012.

FINRA records indicate Rosenberg formerly worked as a registered representative for NFP Securities, Inc. and most recently for Securities America. He is not registered at the time of this writing.

Stephen Paul Tommelleo – Boca Raton, Florid was fined $5,000, suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months and ordered to pay $14,990, plus interest, in restitution to a customer. Tommelleo consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of
findings that he borrowed money from customers without his member firm’s authorization and contrary to his firm’s WSPs, which did not permit loans between registered representatives and their customers.

The findings stated that Tommelleo completed two firm annual compliance attestations indicating he had not and would not borrow money from any firm customer. Tommelleo borrowed a total of $34,875 and repaid the customers
a total of $5,800. One customer sued Tommelleo in state court for $15,000 and another was not repaid at all.

The suspension is in effect from August 6, 2012, through November 5, 2012.

Tommelleo last worked in the industry as a registered representative for PFS Investments, Inc. He is not currently registered.

Jeffrey Griffin Lane Darien, Connecticut and Robert
Marcus Lane – North Palm Beach, Florida
were barred
from association with any FINRA member in any capacity and ordered to pay $317,030.70, jointly and severally, in restitution to customers. The sanctions were based on findings
that the Lanes’ member firm charged its customers unfair and excessive markups on the prevailing market price, for which Marcus Lane was responsible because he set the markups
and structured the legs of the transactions.

The firm charged its customers more than the 5 percent guideline, and the Lanes failed to present any evidence of special circumstances or special services that might justify the excessive markups. The findings stated that Marcus Lane accomplished the unfair and excessive markups by interpositioning the entities he owned between the customers and the contemporaneous market, which was inconsistent
with the requirement to obtain as favorable a price as possible for the customer under prevailin
g market conditions.

FINRA found that Marcus Lane purposely structured the multi-legged transactions to make up for losses on other transactions. The transactions were reported  as though
they were customer transactions with third parties, concealing the connection between the firm and the Marcus Lane entities.

Furthermore, FINRA found that Jeffrey and Marcus Lane failed to respond timely to FINRA requests for information and documents.

The decision has been appealed to the NAC and the sanctions are not in effect pending the
appeal.

Neither Jeffrey Lane nor Robert Lane is  currently registered, each  having last worked at Greenwich High Yield LLC.

Shari Robin Frimer -Royal Palm Beach, Florida
was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that she sold private offerings of securities from which she received selling compensation, without providing written notice
of her proposed role in, or the compensation she might receive from, the transactions to her member firm.

The complaint alleges that Frimer received a total of $37,407.50 in selling compensation and that she participated in other private securities transactions from which she did not receive selling compensation, without providing prior notice to her firm. The complaint further alleges that Frimer guaranteed, in writing, a customer against loss; the customer would be able to sell shares of stock withina certain time period for his cost to acquire them.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Frimer sent, or caused to be sent, two marketing newsletters regarding a company without requesting or receiving firm approval and that the newsletters were not fair and balanced, and contained numerous exaggerated, unwarranted, and misleading claims and numerous unreasonable and unwarranted forecasts.

Frimer is not currently registered and last worked as a registered representative for Emmett A. Larkin & Co. Prior to that she was with Scottsdale Capital Advisors and Brookstone Securities.

If you have questions about losses in your brokerage account or other unexplained activity, please do no hesitate to contact us. We have been helping investors recover stock market losses nationwide for more than twenty years. Call us or click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page and send us an email with a description of the problem.

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561 391 1900