Category Archives: Fraud

Michael Giokas-Former Fortune Financial Services-Broker-Pleads Guilty to Fraud-Williamsville, NY

September 2019- Williamsville, NY

According to publicly available records  Michael Giokas (CRD# 1398674) ,  a  former stockbroker who was last  employed by Fortune Financial Services, Inc.,  disclose  2 prior regulatory events, a felony fraud criminal charge , 3 pending and 7 prior customer disputes and a termination from employment.

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.  

According to a Department of Justice news release, in April 2018 Michael Giokas, 58, of Clarence, NY, pleaded guilty to wire fraud for defrauding numerous clients of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the charges.

According to the release, between 5/2017-10/2017, he persuaded clients to withdraw money from their  accounts at Nationwide Mutual and invest in a company called Trinity Council, with a promise to earn 8-9% annually. Trinity Council was a shell company with no real business, set up to accomplish the fraud.

Settlements totaling several hundred thousands have been paid out to customers already. Pending customer claims exceed $1 million.

Giokas was employed with Fortune Financial Services, Inc. from 2/2013 until 10/2017.    Prior to that he was employed by Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing, Inc., from March 2002 until February 2013.    Giokas discloses  business affiliations with Giokas Wealth Advisors and Giokas Financial Services in Williamsville, NY.

If you have losses in an account handled by Michael Giokas, contact us for a no charge consultation to learn how you may be entitled to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

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

Michael Bressman-Former FCG Advisors Broker- Pleads Guilty to Investment Advisor Fraud-Chatham, NJ

September 2019- Chatham, NJ

According to publicly available records  Michael Bressman ,  a  currently unregistered stockbroker, who was last registered with FCG Advisors discloses a pending investigation, a pending civil event, a pending criminal event,  two prior regulatory events, a pending customer dispute, 4 prior customer disputes  and  terminations from employment.

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 9/2018 Bressman was charged with investment advisor fraud, a felony, in Federal Court in Massachusetts.  Case# 18cr 10315. In June 2019, Bressman pleaded guilty to defrauding clients by engaging in a cherry-picking scheme, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. Pursuant to the plea deal, the government recommended a sentence of 24-40 months.

In 9/2018 the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed case # 1:18cv11925 in Federal Court with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleging the following against Michael A. Bressman “This case involves a fraudulent “cherry picking” scheme carried out by Bressman in his role as a securities broker.   From at least January 2012 through February 2018, Bressman  secretly misused his access to his customers’ brokerage accounts to enrich himself and two of his family members at the expense of his customers- most of whom were “Main Street” investors with relatively modest investment portfolios.   As a result of his deceptive scheme, Bressman received at least $700,000 in ill-gotten gains.  Cherry-picking occurs when a broker, who buys and sells securities on behalf of his brokerage customers, defrauds those customers by purchasing stock and then waiting to see whether the price of the stock goes up, or down, before allocating the trade.    If the stock goes up, the broker keeps the trade for himself or a set of “favored” accounts.   If the stock goes down, the broker puts the trades into other disfavored customer accounts.   In other words, the broker “cherry-picks” the profitable trades for himself or certain favored accounts, while giving unprofitable trades to his other customers. “ That case is still pending.

In February of 2018 the United States Securities and Exchange Commission initiated an investigation that is still pending.   “Mr. Bressman was accused of, among other things, misusing the firm’s allocation account in connection with his personal trades.”

Michael Bressman worked for FCG Advisors from 2/ 2000 until May 2018 when Bressman was discharged from FCG Advisors after allegations were made that accused him of, among other things, misusing the Firm’s allocation account in connection with his personal trades.

Bressman was discharged by Merrill Lynch in 1/2000 after it was alleged by a customer that he had traded her account without her authorization.

If you have questions about an investment account handled by Michael Bressman, contact us for a no charge consultation to learn about 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

Cetera Advisors Charged With Defrauding Retail Clients

September 2019

Cetera Advisors, a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer based in Denver, Colorado, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with breaching its fiduciary duty and defrauding retail clients out of more than $10 million in undisclosed commissions in connection with the sale of mutual funds.

According to the SEC,  Cetera representatives continuously recommended that clients invest in funds on the Cetera platform that cost the clients more than other less expensive, identical investments that are available.

The SEC alleges that Cetera put clients’ money into mutual fund share classes that charged 12b-1 fees when Cetera knew that the clients could have invested in lower cost shares of the same funds without those fees. These violations, which netted Cetera nearly $11 million to which it was not entitled,  occurred from at least 9/2012-12/2016.

Cetera Financial Group, with about 8,000 advisors and reported revenues of $1.6 billion in 2016,  includes the following firms:

  • Cetera Advisors
  • Cetera Advisor Networks
  • Cetera Financial Specialists
  • Cetera Financial Institutions
  • First Allied 
  • Summit Brokerage Services

Cetera Corporate offices are located in El Segundo, CA, Boca Raton, FL, Denver, CO, San Diego, CA, St. Cloud, MN and Schaumburg, IL.

If you have questions about an investment account handled by one of the Cetera firms,  contact us for a no charge consultation to learn about 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

Cardinal Energy Group Investors May Have Been Misled & Have Claims for Recovery

May 2019 – Dallas, Texas

In March 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Texas based Cardinal Energy Group (CEGX) and former CEO Timothy W. Crawford with fraudulently concealing the loss of the company’s major source of revenue. SEC v Timothy W. Crawford, et al , No 19-civ-1022 (S.D. Ohio). 

According to the SEC complaint, Cardinal lost control of its interest in two oil and gas leases that accounted for nearly all of the company’s revenue, however, rather than disclosing this event to investors Cardinal and Crawford misrepresented the fact that the leases were still expected to be a part of the company’s future business.

Cardinal and Crawford are charged with various violations of the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934 and the complaint seeks injunctions, disgorgement, civil penalties and a penny stock bar.

Financial advisors and brokerage firms are required to make suitable recommendations to investors, taking into account the age, health, net worth and risk tolerance of the individual.

If you have suffered losses on an investment in Cardinal Energy Group as a result of the recommendation of your financial advisor, contact us for a no charge consultation to learn about your legal options for recovery of damages.

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