Category Archives: Fraud

Herbert “Elias” Hafen-Former Morgan Stanley Broker-Pleads Guilty to Fraud- New York, NY

November  2019- New York, NY

The FINRA records of  Herbert “Elias” Hafen ,  a  financial advisor previously employed by  Morgan Stanley, disclose a prior regulatory event,  a pending criminal matter, a pending civil matter, a prior customer dispute 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.

In 2/2019  Hafen failed to respond to FINRA request for information in connection with a FINRA investigation and was permanently barred from the securities industry.

In September 2019 Hafen pled guilty to investment adviser fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for January 2020.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Hafen in 9/2019 alleging that from July 2011-April 2018 Hafen defrauded clients of the financial institutions he worked for at that time. VIctims were promised 6% interest in an investment that had little risk. In reality there was no investment and Hafen used the money for personal expenses. Of the $1.6 million he raised from victims only about $650,000 was returned.

In 5/2019, a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney customer was paid $430,000 to resolve allegations that Hafen  misappropriated funds.

In 8/2018 Hafen was discharged from Wells Fargo Clearing Services  after he admitted to entering into financial arrangements with clients that were not approved by the firm.

Hafen was registered with Wells Fargo Clearing Services  from March to September of 2018.  Prior to that he was employed by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney from 6/2009-4/2018.

If you have losses in an account  handled by Herbert “Elias” Hafen , contact us for a no charge consultation to learn how you may be able 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

Texas Regulators Revoke Gus Marwieh’s Securities Registration-Austin, TX

October 2019 – Austin, Texas 

Texas Securities Commissioner, Travis Iles, revoked the registration of  Gus Marwieh  for fraud related to the sale of pension investments, according to a news release from the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB). 

According to the release Marwieh, who was president of Marwieh Advisory Services in Austin, fraudulently sold over $5 million in investments without disclosing excessive commissions, misuse of client funds and conflicts of interest.

The TSSB inspection of Marwieh’s books and records revealed that Marwieh primarily recommended investments in either Future Income Payments (FIP) supposedly based on payouts from pensions, and promissory notes from real estate developers which were supposed to pay 18% annually.

The TSSB found that Marwieh collected commissions on sales of these two products in excess $300,000 and violated his fiduciary duty by not disclosing conflicts of interest to his customers and by using escrowed funds to pay personal expenses.

Link to TSSB Disciplinary Order. 

About the TSSB, from their website:

The State Securities Board is responsible for administering and enforcing the Texas Securities Act. The agency is overseen by five Board members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for six-year overlapping terms. The Board adopts and periodically updates rules to ensure that investors are adequately protected and that unreasonable burdens on legitimate capital-raising activities are avoided. The Board appoints a Securities Commissioner who serves at its pleasure and serves as the agency’s chief administrative officer and supervises the day-to-day activities of the staff.

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

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