Category Archives: StockBroker

Dennis Van Patter-Former VSR Financial Services Broker-Subject of Customer Suits Over REITs-Plano, Texas

March  2018-Plano, Texas

According to public records former VSR Financial Services broker Dennis Van Patter discloses a prior final regulatory event, 7 prior customer disputes that are final and 3 pending customer disputes.

Five of the prior customer disputes were brought by Van Patter’s customers while he was employed by VSR Financial Services and allege damages related to investments in real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil and gas, equipment leasing and promissory notes (alternative investments). Settlements paid by VSR Financial in those five  cases are $40,000, $215,000, $11,250, $50,000 and $15,000.

The three pending cases against Van Patter are by customers of VSR Financial and relate to alternative investments such as REITs, oil and gas and equipment leasing. Damages sought in the two of the pending cases are not stated. Damages sought in the third case are $1,074,858.

In November of 2015 FINRA suspended Van Patter for 45 days and fined him $10,000. Without admitting or denying the findings, Van Patter consented to the entry of findings that his recommendation that a retired customer invest in alternative investments was not suitable in light of the customer’s investment objectives and risk tolerance. The findings stated that Van Patter recommended that the customer invest $1.6 million in alternative investments such as REITs, note programs, oil and gas drilling partnerships and other private placements. As a result of Van Patter’s recommendations, the customer had approximately 52% of his liquid net worth concentrated in high risk alternative investments. FINRA Case 2013036647401. 

See this for prior posts on Dennis Van Patter. 

VSR Financial’s Prior Issues with Alternative Investments

VSR Financial Services was fined $550,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in May 2013 in connection with the sale of alternative investments. In their findings, FINRA criticised VSR Financial for recommending high concentration levels of alternative investments in customer accounts and for its lack of supervision over the use of consolidated reports prepared by brokers and provided to customers. During the summer of 2016, VSR Financial announced that they were winding down their brokerage business and transferring accounts and brokers to an affiliated entity Summit Brokerage Services.

See this for prior posts on VSR Financial Services.

Alternative investments include non publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITS) , hedge funds, real estate, commodities and derivatives contracts and, managed futures. It may also include art, wine, antiques, coins or stamps. These investments tend to be complex, illiquid, nontransparent, hard to value and expensive. Many of the alternative investments sold over recent years are not traded on any public market making them difficult to value and even more difficult to liquidate if cash is needed.

Van Patter was employed by VSR FInancial  Services from 10/1997-7/2016. He is not currently registered with any broker dealer.

If you have losses in an account in an account handled by Dennis Van Patter or  another VSR Financial Services broker, contact us for a no charge consultation to learn how you may be able to recover damages for those losses.

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

Investigation of NEXT Financial Group RE: Misappropriation of Customer Funds-Houston, TX

September 2018

In connection with a currently pending lawsuit, we are investigating Houston, TX-based broker dealer NEXT Financial Group.

Publicly available records disclose a number of recent complaints by customers of  NEXT Financial  alleging  that their funds have been wrongfully converted by  NEXT Financial Group brokers, including the following:

  • Heidi Wivolin-In February 2018, Heidi Wivolin who was employed in the NEXT Financial Group office in Manalapan, FL, from 2009-2014 pleaded guilty to mail and tax fraud and agreed to pay restitution of over $2.5 million. On May 23, 2018, Wivolin was sentenced to two years in prison. See this for details. 
  • Joshua Ray Abernathy-In September 2017, NEXT Financial Group entered into a settlement agreement with Virginia Securities regulators which included a fine of $50,000 and costs of $10,000 for failing to properly supervise their former broker Joshua Abernathy, who had confessed to securities fraud and misappropriation of over $442,000 in customer funds.
  • Tye Williams-September 2016- Frisco, TX-based NEXT Financial Group broker Williams was barred from the securities industry by FINRA in connection with an investigation regarding a customer complaint that he had converted over $1 million from the customer’s account from 2004-2014.  . See this for more details.
  • Eduardo Diaz-Ocean Springs, MS. In June 2016, Diaz, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud,  was sentenced to 70 months, fined $15,000 and ordered to pay restitution of over $640,000 to his victims which include a 70 year old widow.
  • James McGilvrey-San Antonio, TX-Charged with Theft from The Elderly, sentenced to 20 years in state prison, fined $10,000 and ordered to pay over $1.9 million in restitution. See this for more detail.
  • Douglas P. Simanski-Altoona, PA-In June 2016, Simanski, without admitting or denying the findings, consented to a permanent bar from the securities industry and entry of findings that he failed to provide documents and information related to an investigation into allegations related to the conversion of funds. FINRA Case 2016049621301.
  • Gwendolyn M. Berry , of Dallas, TX, was associated with NEXT Financial group from 2009-2015 as a non-registered fingerprint person working as a non-registered assistant and bookkeeper for a Series & General Securities Representative and Series 24 General Securities Principal. After initiating an investigation into Berry regarding possible misappropriation and mismanagement of customer assets, FINRA repeatedly requested that Berry produce documents and information. Berry failed to produce the documents and information and was barred from association with any FINRA regulated broker-dealer in any capacity in April 2016. FINRA AWC No. 2015047059701. TheUS Attorney’s office reports  that in February 2018, Berry admitted that from 2008-2014 she stole $1.8 million from a family for whom she provided bookkeeping services. She was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison.
  • Patrick J. Gildea– of Wilkes-Barre, PA-discharged by NEXT Financial 12/2008 as a result of a customer complaint alleging misrepresentation and theft in connection with a municipal bearer bond transaction.

The official FINRA regulatory records for NEXT Financial Group disclose 19 prior regulatory events including a recent $750,000 fine by FINRA for supervisory failures. See this for details.

If you have information you believe would be helpful to our investigation please contact us. If you have an account with NEXT Financial Group that you believe has been mishandled, contact us 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

 

VSR Financial Services-How to Recover Damages On Losses In REITs and Alt. Investments

April 2018VSR Financial Services closed down its operations in the Fall of 2016. Many of its brokers and clients have been transferred to Summit Brokerage Services, a related entity which is part of the Cetera Financial Group.

See below for discussion of VSR’s regulatory issues related to the sale of real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil and gas partnerships and other alternative investments and how you may be able to recover damages for losses on those investments.

VSR’s  Alternative Investment Problem

VSR is well known for its sales of alternative investments such as non-traded REITs, equipment leasing programs, oil & gas drilling programs, promissory notes and commodity funds. In 2013, VSR and its president Donald Beary, were sanctioned by FINRA in connection with the sale of alternative investments. VSR paid a fine of $550,000.

Recovery of Investment Losses On Limited Partnerships and Other Alternative Investments Purchased From VSR Financial

Over the past several years we have represented a considerable number of investors, mostly retirees, who were recommended alternative investments with the promise of steady, dependable income and minimal risk.

Follow this link for other postings related to the recovery of losses on investments purchased from VSR Financial Services.

If you have suffered losses as a result of investing in alternative investments that were recommended to you by a VSR Financial Services broker (including, but not limited to the following brokers who formerly were employed by VSR) contact us for a no charge consultation to discuss your options:

Time is of the essence, so if you have a claim, you would be wise to pursue it immediately, otherwise valuable legal rights may be lost.

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

Dion R. Padilla Annuity Investigation-Former NEXT Financial Group Broker-San Antonio, TX

JUNE 2018 -San Antonio, Texas

We continue our investigation of former NEXT Financial Group broker Dion Padilla who discloses that several of his customers have brought claims against his former employer for misrepresentations and losses related to the purchase of annuities. In early 2017 Padilla was sanctioned and suspended by securities regulators to resolve allegations that he made an unauthorized purchase of an annuity and hid that fact from the customer. Details below.

JUNE 2017 UPDATE-In May 2017 a customer of NEXT Financial Group filed FINRA Case #17-2402 alleging that in 2007 he purchased a variable annuity and relied on Padilla’s representations that he had a product that guaranteed a monthly distribution for the remainder of his life, however no guaranteed income rider was included with the annuity purchase. The customer seeks damages of $456,500.

MAY 2017 UPDATE– A customer of NEXT Financial Group made a claim seeking damages of $970,578 , alleging that Dion Padilla misrepresented the monthly distributions, benefits and dividends to be received on a variable annuity. In May 2017 2017, NEXT Financial disclosed that the claim was denied and that it is not currently pending.

FEBRUARY 2017

We are investigating Dion R. Padilla, a stockbroker who was formerly employed by  NEXT Financial Group in San Antonio, Texas, on behalf of a former employee of AT&T who alleges that her AT&T retirement account was mishandled.

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.

Padilla discloses three prior customer disputes that were resolved with cash settlements:

  • FINRA Case 17-1518 in which a customer of NEXT Financial alleged that she purchased a variable annuity in August 2007 and that Padilla misrepresented the monthly distributions, benefits or advantages of the policy and dividends to be received on the policy. THat case was settled in 5/2018 for $416,998.
  • In FINRA arbitration 16-2163, a customer of NEXT Financial Group alleged damages of $347,000 in connection with an investment in a variable annuity. That case was settled for $175,000.
  • In February 2014, a customer of NEXT FInancial Group alleged damages of $62,617 for the unauthorized purchase of a variable annuity. That case was settled for $69,400 of which Padilla contributed $54,400 to the settlement.

Recently, in February 2017, Padilla entered into an Order Accepting Offer of Settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and was fined $10,000 and suspended for 15 months from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Disciplinary Proceeding 2014040362001. 

REGULATORY ACTION FOR SALE OF ANNUITY TO AT&T EMPLOYEE

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Padilla agreed to the entry of certain findings and violations and to the entry of the sanctions described above. The findings and conclusions made by FINRA include:

  • Prior to transferring their accounts to NEXT Financial, a customer (who had worked for AT&T for 39 years) and his wife met with Padilla and stressed  that they did not want any of their funds invested in a variable annuity due to the high fees and because of their desire for liquidity.
  • Notwithstanding those desires, Padilla made unauthorized purchases of a variable annuity for the customer, investing over $789,000, the customer’s entire 401K rollover, in a variable annuity. Thereafter, when the customer inquired, Padilla misrepresented to the customer that the investment was not a variable annuity.

If you have losses on an annuity investment in an account handled by Dion Padilla , call to discuss how you may be able to recover 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