FINRA has barred financial advisor Steven Robert Luftschein, also known as Steven Lerner, from the securities industry. He was associated with nine different broker-dealers before joining Aegis Capital Corp. (“Aegis”). Mr. Luftschein was registered with Aegis between June 2013 and October 2016 and worked in their Melville, New York branch.

On January 13, 2021, FINRA accepted Mr. Luftschein’s Offer of Settlement and ordered that Mr. Luftschein be barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.

If you have lost money with Steven Robert Luftschein or Aegis, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

A Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. customer has recently filed a complaint with FINRA Dispute Resolution Services alleging that former broker Robyn D. Simons recommended unsuitable investments in real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business development companies (BDCs).  The investments were reportedly purchased between 2014 and 2016. The complaint also alleges that Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. failed to supervise Robyn Simons’ actions.  The customer has alleged $200,000 in damages.

This complaint is not the first securities arbitration claim filed against Robyn Simons and Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. arising out of Robyn Simons’ investment recommendations.  In 2015, a customer filed a FINRA arbitration complaint alleging that investments made in her accounts between 2013 and 2015 were unsuitable.  The customer also alleged that Robyn Simons misrepresented the securities to her at the time of purchase. Reportedly, the investments included a REIT, BDC, Unit Investment Trust (UIT), and equities.  According to Robyn Simons’ BrokerCheck Report, Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. settled the matter with the aggrieved customer for $21,500.

Robyn Simons was registered with Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. in Layton, Utah, from February 2008 until September 2017.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has barred financial advisor Ryan Ashley Raskin from the securities industry. Ryan Raskin was registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“Merrill Lynch”) in Beverly Hills, California, from May 2016 until May 2020.  Merrill Lynch terminated Mr. Raskin’s employment on March 4, 2020, alleging that his business practices were inconsistent with Merrill Lynch’s standards.  The business practices purportedly included inappropriate investment recommendations involving mutual funds.

According to public records, shortly after Mr. Raskin’s termination, a customer complained that Mr. Raskin engaged in unauthorized trading and churning of mutual funds and money funds from January 2018 until January 2020. Peculiarly, Merrill Lynch denied this customer’s complaint.

Investors should be aware that filing a complaint directly with a financial institution, like Merrill Lynch, is not the same as filing a securities arbitration complaintIf an investor is seeking monetary compensation, the investor must initiate a securities arbitration through FINRA Dispute Resolution Services.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has suspended financial advisor Arthur Obermeier from the securities industry for 60 days and fined him $5,000.   Mr. Obermeier’s sanctions arise from his execution of trades without his customers’ authorization or consent.

Arthur Obermeier was registered with LPL Financial LLC in Boulder, Colorado, from June 2002 until his employment was terminated in May 2019.  LPL Financial LLC fired Mr. Obermeier, alleging that he exercised discretion in clients’ accounts without authorization.

If you have suffered financial losses investing with Arthur Obermeier or suspect that Mr. Obermeier executed trades in your account without authorization, contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential consultation.

FINRA has barred stockbroker Christopher B. Black from the securities industry.  FINRA handed down the expulsion because Mr. Black refused to provide information and documents connected with FINRA’s investigation into whether Mr. Black entered into undisclosed loan arrangements with a customer.  Mr. Black was a financial advisor at LPL Financial LLC in Statesboro, Georgia, from October 2017 until his employment was terminated in April 2020 for violating firm policy for not disclosing the loan arrangements.  Mr. Black has also been affiliated with the following business entities:  Renasant Financial Services and LPL Business.

Mr. Black has also been the subject of three customer complaints while employed by LPL Financial LLC.   First, in April 2020, a customer alleged that Mr. Black recommended the purchase of bonds that were not suitable for the investor.   A second customer filed a complaint in July 2020, also alleging misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendations regarding the purchase of bond investments.  Third, a customer filed a complaint in October 2020, which alleged that Mr. Black misappropriated funds between August 2019 and April 2020.  No further details are publicly available regarding this pending complaint.

Before his employment with LPL Financial LLC, Mr. Black was a financial advisor at Wells Fargo in St. Simons Island, Georgia, from November 2013 until September 2017.

VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. (“VFA”) and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) on January 8, 2021, over supervisory and reporting violations. Specifically, FINRA found that:

  • Between January 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018, VFA failed to establish a supervisory system and written procedures for the surveillance variable annuity rates exchanges and for corrective action in case of inappropriate exchanges.
  • During this period, VFA also failed to establish a supervisory system and procedures for the review of transactions where a registered representative recommended that a customer invest additional funds into existing variable annuities.

Iorio Altamirano LLP is investigating claims on behalf of Morgan Stanley customers after the firm agreed to pay restitution of more than $1.7 million over supervisory failures related to its 529 plan share-class recommendations. If you have lost money with Morgan Stanley or were advised by a Morgan Stanley representative to purchase particular share classes of 529 savings plans, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

Morgan Stanley and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) on December 30, 2020, over findings that between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2018, the firm failed to establish and maintain a system reasonably designed to supervise representatives’ recommendations to customers to purchase certain share classes of 529 savings plans, in violation of MSRB Rule G-27. Specifically, the FINRA AWC stated that Morgan Stanley’s supervisory system was not reasonably designed to supervise 529 share-class recommendations executed 1) in certain legacy Smith Barney accounts or 2) through transactions made directly with plans.

Morgan Stanley is headquartered in Purchase, New York, and has been a FINRA member firm since May 2009. As of December 2020, Morgan Stanley had approximately 720 branches and over 23,500 registered persons.

A Crown Capital Securities L.P. customer has recently filed a complaint with FINRA Dispute Resolution Services alleging that broker Jeffrey Michael Warren recommended unsuitable investments in non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and non-traded business development companies (BDCs).  The complaint includes additional causes of action, including inadequate due diligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

Mr. Warren has been registered with Crown Capital Securities, L.P. in San Ramon, California, since February 2013.

If you have suffered financial losses investing with Jeffrey Michael Warren or Crown Capital Securities, L.P., or suspect that Mr. Warren did not have your best interest in mind when recommending investments, including REITs and BDCs, contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential review of your account or annuity contract.

Popular Securities broker Jose Ramon Martinez has six pending customer complaints on his CRD, including a customer complaint filed in late October 2020 claiming $500,000 in losses. The claims allege that recommendations to invest in Puerto Rico securities were unsuitable given the clients’ risk tolerance and Puerto Rico’s well-known deteriorating financial condition.

Mr. Martinez (CRD#: 1402991) has been in the securities industry for 33 years. He has been registered with Popular Securities in San Juan, Puerto Rico, since 2008.

Mr. Martinez has been the subject of twenty-one customer complaints, most of which allege violations similar to those outlined in the pending case filed in 2020: unsuitable recommendations, overconcentration, and misrepresentation related to Puerto Rico municipal bonds and closed-end funds.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has suspended financial advisor John Frederick Griner from the securities industry for 15-business days and fined him $15,000.   Mr. Griner’s sanctions arise from his improper use of discretion without written authorization.

John Griner was registered with Morgan Stanley in Athens, Georgia from March 2011, until his employment was terminated in October 2019.  Morgan Stanley allowed Mr. Griner to voluntarily resign after allegations arose concerning whether certain options trades were properly confirmed with the client before they were placed.

If you have suffered financial losses investing with John Griner or suspect that Ms. Griner did not have your best interest in mind when recommending investments, contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential review of your account.

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