Category Archives: Heidi Wivolin

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

February 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.  
  • 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

 

Rex Securities Law Files Arbitration Vs. NEXT Financial Group for Failure to Supervise Heidi Wivolin-Manalapan FL

FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATEHeidi 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.

Rex Securities Law

561 391 1900

Former NEXT Financial Broker Heidi Wivolin Barred from Brokerage Industry

FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATEHeidi Wivolin pleads guilty to mail and tax fraud. Sentencing set for May 2, 2018. See this for details. 

Heidi Wivolin, formerly a broker with NEXT Financial Group  was barred permanently from the industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on June 24, 2014.

According to FINRA records Wivolin failed to respond to FINRA requests for information sent to her during the spring of 2014.

Wivolin operated the NEXT Financial office located on AIA in Manalapan, Florida, until late January of 2014, when a client from Finland questioned her about a discrepancy in his account. Wivolin was immediately terminated by NEXT.

In February 2014, a civil  complaint was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit court,  Pasi Martin, et al v NEXT Financial and Heidi Wivolin, alleging fraud against Wivolin and negligent supervision against NEXT Financial.

The complaint further alleges that from February 2009 until January 2014, the plaintiffs entrusted NEXT Financial and Wivolin with millions of dollars which they believed was being invested in a bond portfolio, and that WIvolin has admitted that the money was not invested in a bond portfolio but rather used to fund personal expenses, purchase real estate in Central America and lost in unauthorized investments.

In July 2014, a FINRA  arbitration was filed against 1st Discount Brokerage of Lake Worth, Florida, on behalf of a retired couple from Kansas City, alleging that 1st Discount Brokerage failed to supervise  Wivolin and permitted her to operate a ponzi scheme and sell fraudulent and unsuitable investments.

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.

Rex Securities Law

561 391 1900

Wivolin / NEXT Financial / 1st Discount Brokerage Investigation Continues

By Robert H. Rex, Esq.

FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATEHeidi Wivolin pleads guilty to mail and tax fraud. Sentencing set for May 2, 2018. See this for details. 
Our investigation into the activities of Heidi Wivolin, a broker who previously was registered with NEXT Financial Group and 1st Discount Brokerage continues and has expanded from south Florida to include activities in Kansas City, MO. 
 
See this  and this for prior postings on the investigation of Wivolin and Shawn O’Sullivan
 
We currently are investigating Wivolin on behalf of an elderly lady from Kansas City, MO. who gave $100,000 to Wivolin in 2008 while she was registered with 1st Discount Brokerage, Inc. , with the understanding that the funds were to be invested  in a 7% bond that would mature in 2015. 
 
Over the years, Wivoliin provided spreadsheets showing the “bond” valued at the purchase plus accrued interest. It appears that the funds were not invested as represented by Wivolin.
 
If you have information you feel may be of assistance to this investigation we would appreciate hearing from you.
 
If you invested money with Wivolin, call to discuss your legal rights with an experienced securities attorney. 
 
Nationwide representation.
 
 
561 391 1900

Heidi Wivolin Terminated by NEXT Financial Group

By Robert H. Rex, Esq. 

FEBRUARY 2018 UPDATEHeidi Wivolin pleads guilty to mail and tax fraud. Sentencing set for May 2, 2018. See this for details. 
According to FINRA records NEXT Financial Group discharged broker Heidi Wivolin on February 6, 2014. The termination comment indicates Wivolin was “discharged” for “failure to cooperate with internal investigation“. 
 
We have been investigating Heidi Wivolin, NEXT FInancial Group, 1st Discount Brokerage and Shawn O’Sullivan since early February on behalf of a group of Finnish citizens who for many years entrusted Wivolin and the brokerage firms she worked for with millions of dollars with the belief their funds were invested in a bond portfolio. 
 
Wivolin and O’Sullivan, who operated a company called FirsTrust Investments from the NEXT Financial office in Manalapan, Florida,  have admitted to our client that there was no bond portfolio and that the funds were lost in various unauthorized investments and used to pay the living expenses of Wivolin and O’Sullivan as well as the operating expenses of the NEXT Financial office. 
 
On February 19, 2014, suit was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against NEXT Financial and Wivolin. See this  and this for more information. 
 
We are also assisting another victim of this apparent fraud from Lantana, Florida, who alleges she was encouraged by Wivolin  to make a six figure loan to O’Sullivan with the promise of tax free interest in an insured investment. Monthly payments were made for a period of time but have now ceased. 
 
If you have questions about an account which was handled by Wivolin, contact us to speak with an experienced securities attorney to discuss your legal options. 
 
Nationwide representation.
 
 
561 391 1900