FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATE–Heidi Wivolin pleads guilty to mail and tax fraud. Sentencing set for May 2, 2018. See this for details.
On September 9, 2014, Rex Securities Law filed an arbitration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA Case #14-02791) against NEXT Financial Group on behalf of a 98 year old lady who resides in a nursing home in West Palm Beach ,FL , seeking damages in excess of $500,000. Press release.
In the Statement of Claim, our client alleges that NEXT FInancial Group, failed to supervise its former registered representative Heidi Wivolin who ran the NEXT Financial office on S Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan, FL, and permitted her to operate a Ponzi scheme and sell fraudulent and unsuitable investments.
Over the past 5 years our elderly client was provided statements indicating that she had over $1.3 million dollars in the investment account being handled by WIvolin. In February of 2014, our client was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation who told her they were investigating Wivolin’s activities at NEXT Financial. Since then our client has been unable to access her account and it appears that the statements she was provided are phony.
Wivolin joined NEXT Financial Group in February 2009 where she ran their local office until February 2014, when, according to FINRA records, she was terminated for “failure to cooperate with an internal investigation”.
Prior to joining NEXT Financial Wivolin, was a registered broker with 1st Discount Brokerage, of Lake Worth, FL from October 2005 until December 2008. We recently filed a FINRA arbitration on behalf of a retired couple seeking damages from 1st Discount Brokerage for losses suffered while Wivolin handled their accounts.
NEXT Financial is an independent brokerage firm and has its headquarters in Houston, TX. Independent brokerage firms operate much like a franchise, with the local broker responsible for paying the operating expenses (rent, salaries, etc) and sharing a portion of the commissions generated in exchange for being FINRA licensed with the broker dealer . In general, supervisory practices and procedures are lax with independent broker dealers since there generally is no on-site manager or compliance person.
In this case, Wivolin’s supervisor was located hundreds of miles away and only visited the office once or twice a year. NEXT Financial has been sanctioned, fined and ordered by securities regulators to pay restitution of over $4 million dollars during the past 7 years
The law firms of Dickenson Murphy Rex & Sloan, Boca Raton, FL and Mrachek Fitzgerald Rose Konopka Thomas & Weiss, West Palm Beach, FL are representing another group of claimants in a similar action involving Wivolin & NEXT Financial Group. PASI MARTIN, et al vs. NEXT FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. , a Texas corporation, and HEIDI WIVOLIN, Case # 2014a002961XXXXMBAD, filed in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. See this for more information on the Martin v NEXT Financial case.
Wivolin has admitted in the Martin case that she has been advised that she is a potential target in a criminal investigation and seeks to assert her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Rex Securities Law provides nationwide representation to investors 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.
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