Tag Archives: theft by stock broker

Brian Berger-Former Newbridge Securities Broker-Sentenced for Fraud-Boca Raton, FL

April 2018-Boca Raton, FL

The FINRA records of former stockbroker Brian M. Berger disclose a pending regulatory matter and two prior regulatory matters, a criminal conviction, 4 customer disputes and a termination from employment.

In 7/2015 Berger  entered into a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to resolve allegations that he failed to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into allegations that he had misappropriated funds from elderly customers while registered with Wells Fargo Advisors and MetLife Securities.As a result, Berger   was  barred from the securities industry.

There is an SEC administrative proceeding pending in connection with the misappropriation of funds.

In 2/2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Berger pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to 18 months and ordered to pay restitution of $372,643.

Over $300,000 has been paid in settlements to former customers of Berger.

According to FINRA records, Berger was registered with Wells Fargo Advisors in Boca Raton from 7.2010-7/2014 and with MetLife Securities from 7/2014-4/2015. After that he was briefly registered with Newbridge Securities from 4/2015-6/2015.

If you have questions about an account handled by Brian Berger, call for a no charge consultation to discuss your 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

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.  

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

 

Demitrios Hallas-Former PHX Financial Broker-Named in SEC Complaint-

April 2017- New York

The FINRA records of  Demitrios Hallas ,  a  former PHX Financial stockbroker who is currently not registered disclose two final regulatory events, 2 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.

Hallas was recently named in an SEC Complaint alleging that he purchased and sold daily leveraged Exchange Traded Funds and Notes (ETFs and ETNs) knowingly or recklessly disregarding that the products were unsuitable for his customers. In addition the SEC alleges that Hallas misappropriated over $170,000 from one customer. Link to SEC complaint. 

Hallas was suspended by FINRA in April 2016 for failing to respond to a request for information.

In February 2012 Halllas was discharged by Chase Investment Services Corp. who made the following allegation in connection with the termination: “Job performance, including customer complaints alleging unauthorized trades and failure to disclose fees”

Hallas’ prior employment includes PHX Financial, Forefront Capital Markets, Santander Securities, Aegis Capital Corp., Chase Investment Services and PNC Investments.

If you have losses in an account in an account handled by Demitrios Hallas  , contact us to discuss 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

Peter Martorana, Former Toms River, NJ, Financial Advisor, Pleads Guilty

February 2017-Toms River, NJ
New Jersey 101.5 reports that Wall Township financial advisor Peter Martorana, 62, who worked for Retirement Benefit Specialists, pleaded guilty to accepting checks from elderly clients in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, but used the money for his own benefit.

Martorana was charged with one count of financial facilitation of criminal activity in excess of $500,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2017. The prosecutor has recommended a sentence of 10 years with a period of parole ineligibility of four years.

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

Mark Varacchi and Sentinel Growth Fund Management Accused of Theft by Regulators

February 2017- Washington

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Sentinel Growth Fund Management and its founder Mark J. Varacchi with stealing money from investors to settle a private lawsuit, among other misuses of the investor’s capital.

Per the SEC complaint, the money raised was commingled and at least $3.95 million was stolen from investors, including over a million which was used to settle litigation brought by Varacchi’s prior employer.

Investors who made their investments with Sentinel Growth Fund Management as a result of a recommendation by a registered stock broker may be able to recover damages. Call to discuss your 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