Category Archives: Elder Financial Abuse

Brian Berger-Former Newbridge Securities Broker-Sentenced for Fraud-Boca Raton, FL

April 2018-Boca Raton, FL

The FINRA records of former stockbroker Brian M. Berger disclose a pending regulatory matter and two prior regulatory matters, a criminal conviction, 4 customer disputes and a termination from employment.

In 7/2015 Berger  entered into a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to resolve allegations that he failed to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into allegations that he had misappropriated funds from elderly customers while registered with Wells Fargo Advisors and MetLife Securities.As a result, Berger   was  barred from the securities industry.

There is an SEC administrative proceeding pending in connection with the misappropriation of funds.

In 2/2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Berger pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to 18 months and ordered to pay restitution of $372,643.

Over $300,000 has been paid in settlements to former customers of Berger.

According to FINRA records, Berger was registered with Wells Fargo Advisors in Boca Raton from 7.2010-7/2014 and with MetLife Securities from 7/2014-4/2015. After that he was briefly registered with Newbridge Securities from 4/2015-6/2015.

If you have questions about an account handled by Brian Berger, call for a no charge consultation 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

Clifton Stanley, Michael Watts, The Lifepay Group- Targeted in SEC Fraud Suit-Houston, TX

April 2018-Houston, Texas

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the following individuals and their companies with operating a $2.4 million Ponzi scheme targeting elderly retirees:

  • Clifton E. Stanley of Galveston, TX
  • Michael Watts of Sugar Land, TX
  • The Lifepay Group of Missouri, TX
  • SMDRE LLC of Sugar Land, TX

According to the SEC complaint, from 2010-2017 they used a collection of misrepresentations and phony promises  of outsized investment returns to convince these elderly victims to invest their retirement funds. Investors were promised returns of up to 36% per year.

Stanley is alleged to have used $1.3 million for personal expenses, including country club memberships, living and entertainment expenses.

Link to SEC complaint

If you were referred to invest in this scheme by a registered stockbroker you may be able to recover your losses from the broker’s employer. Call for a no charge consultation to learn about 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 

Beware of Grandparent Scam-Columbiana, Alabama

March 2018-Columbiana, Alabama

The Alabaster Reporter reports that the Alabaster Police Department is warning elderly local residents to beware of ascam targeting senior citizens.

According to the police a local citizen received a call from someone claiming to be his teenage grandson who claimed to have been arrested at school and in need of a large sum of money for bail. The caller asked for financial information which the citizen, fortunately, did not provide. The police report that the caller used the correct name of the grandson.

There are lots of unscrupulous individuals in this world who are inclined to prey upon vulnerable senior citizens. Make sure you know who you are speaking with before divulging any financial information.

More information on the grandparent scam on AARP website.

Link to Alabaster Police Facebook page.

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

Nationwide-Toll Free: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Christopher Hickman-Former Cetera Advisors Broker-Discloses a Regulatory Event, 7 Customer Disputes -Delray Beach, FL

February 2018- Delray Beach, FL

According to publicly available records  Christopher Hickman. (CRD#3267599) a stockbroker who is not currently registered, and who last was employed by Cetera Advisors , disclose a regulatory event and  seven customer disputes.

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.

In June of 2017 FINRA entered into an agreement with Christopher Hickman resulting in a $115,989.75 fine and a five month suspension.   According to the agreement with FINRA:  “Without admitting or denying the findings, Hickman consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he engaged in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of unit investment trusts (UITs) in six customer accounts.   The findings stated that Hickman repeatedly recommended that the customers purchase UITs and the sell these products within a year of purchase.  The UITs that Hickman recommended had maturity dates of 24 months or longer and carried sales charges of up to 3.95%.   Nevertheless, on dozens of occasions, Hickman recommended that his customers sell their UIT positions less than a year after purchase.   Indeed the average holding period for the UITs purchased in these six customers’ accounts was just 136 days. In addition, on several occasions Hickman recommended that his customers use the proceeds from the short-term sale of a UIT to purchase another UIT with similar or even identical investment objectives.   As a result of these transactions the six customers at issue suffered losses of approximately $115,989.75.”

Prior customer settlements include:

  • FINRA Case 17-1056- In 1/2018 a customer of Cetera Advisors was paid $150,000 to resolve allegations that Hickman was negligent and allegations of elder abuse.
  • FINRA Case 09-05733-  filed by a customer of his former employer, Banc of America,  alleged unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading.   The case was settled for $75,000.
  • FINRA Case 09-05493- a Banc of America Investment Services customer filed a dispute alleging that trading in the account was not suitable for the client and that misrepresentations were made regarding her investments.    The case settled for $650,000.

Hickman was been  employed with Cetera Advisors  from 9/2009-7/2015. Hickman discloses a business affiliation with Premier Client Investments in Delray Beach, FL.

If you have losses in an account handled by Christopher Hickman, contact us 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.

International Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870