Tag Archives: florida securities attorney

Florida Certified Financial Planners Disciplined by CFP Board- September 2020 Update

September 2020

According to their website, the “Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP. “

The CFP Board can discipline those holding the CFP title in one of three ways:

  • Public Letter of Admonition
  • Temporary Suspension of CFP certification
  • Revocation of individual’s CFP certification

In November 2020 the CFP announced sanctions against a number of Texas  financial advisors, including the following:

PUBLIC LETTERS OF ADMONITION

Nicholas P. Krsnich (West Palm Beach): In September 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Krsnich entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Krsnich agreed that CFP Board would issue a Letter of Admonition. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Krsnich consented to findings that he failed to exercise reasonable and prudent judgment in providing professional services when he engaged in investment advisory business in the State of Florida without proper registration. Mr. Krsnich also consented to a finding that the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFC) found in a 2013 Stipulation and Consent Agreement (SCA) that his conduct with respect to the transactions violated Section 517.12(4) of the Florida Statutes. In the SCA, Mr. Krsnich consented to a finding that his firm, of which he is an officer and a co-owner, failed to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance by the investment adviser with Chapter 517 of the Florida Statues and Division 69W of the Florida Administrative Code. As part of the SCA, Mr. Krsnich and his firm also consented to fines for $10,000 in 2013 and $6,000 in 2018. Pursuant to the CFP Board settlement agreement, Mr. Krsnich consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 4.4 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(g) the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Krsnich a Letter of Admonition.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATIONS

Anthony Cottone (Delray Beach): In March 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Cottone’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Cottone’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Cottone failed to respond to CFP Board’s requests for documents and information. In July 2019, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension against Mr. Cottone after receiving evidence that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Order permanently barring Mr. Cottone from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities on December 10, 2018, based on its finding that Mr. Cottone “failed to respond to FINRA request[s] for information.” CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Cottone’s failure to respond to two separate Requests for Additional Information from the CFP Board provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(F) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Cottone declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Cottone’s revocation was effective as of April 1, 2020.

Jim Nguyen (St. Petersburg): In June 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Nguyen’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Nguyen’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Nguyen failed to respond to a Notice of Investigation (NOI) CFP Board mailed to him on November 15, 2019. CFP Board was investigating a tax lien reported by Mr. Nguyen. On December 20, 2019, CFP Board issued a second NOI via certified mail. CFP Board also emailed both NOIs to Mr. Nguyen as a courtesy on January 15, 2020. Mr. Nguyen failed to respond to each NOI. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Nguyen’s conduct violated Article 3(F) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules), providing grounds for discipline for failing to respond to a NOI issued by CFP Board. Mr. Nguyen failed to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Nguyen’s revocation was effective as of June 15, 2020.

Edward Santos (Pembroke Pines): In March 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Santos’ right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Santos’ failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Santos falsely self-reported to CFP Board that he had completed 40 Continuing Education (CE) courses, totaling 92 CE credit hours during three reporting periods covering August 1, 2014 to July 2020. Respondent’s misconduct included communicating false information that misled CFP Board, clients, prospective clients, and the public into thinking that Respondent had satisfied the requirements for maintaining his CFP® certification when he had not. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Santos’ conduct violated 2.1, 6.2, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(g) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Santos declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Santos’ revocation was effective as of April 1, 2020.

To verify an individual broker’s current certification status visit the CFP website here.

If you have questions about losses, unauthorized trading or unsuitable investments in your stock brokerage account, contact us for a no charge consultation.

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 

Gerald Cocuzzo-Former Newbridge Securities Broker-Sentenced to 18 Months for Securities Fraud-Boca Raton,FL

Boca Raton, FL

July 2017 UPDATEGerald Cocuzzo was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud for his participation in the manipulation of Forcefield Energy, Inc. (FNRG) , a publicly traded company. Link to Department of Justice press release.

MAY 2017 UPDATEGerald Cocuzzo’s FINRA record discloses 2 pending arbitrations:

  • FINRA case # 16-01684-a customer of Newbridge Securities alleges that Cocuzzo overconcentrated their account, breached his fiduciary duty and violated California securities laws. No specific damages are stated.
  • FINRA case# 16-3501 seeks damages of $52,000 and alleges that the investment in Forcefield Energy Corp was fraudulent.

ORIGINAL POST-November 2016- 

The US Attorney’s Office announced that former Newbridge Securities stock broker Gerald Cocuzzo, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in connection with the fraudulent marketing of ForceField Energy, a publicly traded company with the symbol FNRG.

According to the release between 2009-2015, Cocuzzo and others manipulated the price of ForceField a purported worldwide distributor of LED lighting products causing losses of $131,000,000.

Cocuzzo faces up to 20 years in prison.

See this for more information on Gerald Cocuzzo. 

Cocuzzo was employed by Newbridge Securities from 12/2014-5/2016 and prior to that was employed by IAA Financial from 9/2009/1/2015.

If you suffered losses due to recommendations by Gerald Cocuzzo to purchase risky investments, including Forcefield Energy (FNRG), contact us to learn how you may be able to collect damages from the brokerage firm that employed Cocuzzo.

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

Jesse J. Griffin-Former VSR Financial Broker-Discloses Settlement of Customer Complaints- Palm City, FL

Rex Securities Law is investigating former VSR Financial Services broker Jesse J. Griffin, Jr. of Palm City, Florida, in connection with the sale of various alternative investments including real estate securities, oil and gas securities, promissory notes and other direct investments. Griffin was employed by VSR Financial from 10/2006-7/2016. He is currently registered with Newbridge Securities Corp. 

According to FINRA records Griffin has been named in in 6 customer disputes, some of which relate to alternative investments, including the following:

  • A claim brought by a former customer of VSR Financial alleging that investments in limited partnerships and direct investments in oil and gas, real estate investments (REITS) and promissory notes was settled in 6/2015 for $52,000.
  • FINRA case 14-0322 brought by a former customer of VSR Financial alleging that they were given poor advice and that that investments in limited partnerships and direct investments in oil and gas, real estate investments (REITS) and promissory notes was settled in 6/2015 for $92,500.
  • FINRA case 13-0867 brought by a former customer of VSR Financial alleging breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation and violation of Arizona securities law  and that that investments in limited partnerships and direct investments in oil and gas, real estate investments (REITS) and promissory notes was settled in 9/2013  for $77,500.
  • FINRA arbitration #11-0894 in which a customer of VSR Financial Services alleged damages of $685,500 for violations of Maine securities laws and other common law claims in connection with the purchase of direct investments in oil & gas, promissory notes, real estate and security futures. The case was settled for $250,000.

 

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.

Alternative investments include non publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITS) , hedge funds, real estate, commodities and derivatives contracts and, managed futures. 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.

 VSR wound down operations at the end of 2016 and transferred most of their brokers and customer accounts to Summit Brokerage ServicesSee this for more information regarding VSR Financial Services.

If you have questions about an account  handled by Jesse Griffin  or have losses on alternative investments purchased from VSR Financial Services call 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

Allan Roth of Tampa Arrested in Penny Stock Scam

February 27, 2015-Tampa, Florida

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) reports that Allan Roth, 57, was arrested on 34 charges of selling unregistered securities and 34 counts of selling securities without being registered. The case is being prosecuted in Pinellas County, Florida.

Roth, targeted his former clients from the time when he was a licensed securities broker to pitch a penny stock, Bizrocket.com Inc. (BZRT). He told investors Bizrocket was the next Facebook for children and raised nearly $300,000 from 20 victims.

“I encourage every Floridian to verify the license of the company or individual with the OFR before doing business,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “We are committed to fighting financial fraud in Florida and we will continue to pursue bad actors, who harm the integrity of the industry.”

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