Articles Tagged with investor education

FINRA has barred Great Nation Investment Corporation President, and CEO Bryon Pat Treat from the securities industry.  Mr. Treat has been barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity because he refused to provide information and documents connected with FINRA’s investigation into whether he reasonably supervised the sale of illiquid “church bonds.”

Earlier this year, FINRA also barred financial advisor David A. Jenson from the securities industry for failing to cooperate with an investigation into whether Mr. Jenson recommended customers invest in an unsuitable concentration of church bonds.  To read more about Mr. Jenson’s expulsion, please click here.

Great Nation Investment Corporation is an SEC-registered brokerage firm headquartered in Amarillo, Texas.   The firm’s primary business activity is the offer and sale of church bonds.

Daniel Todd Lerner is a stockbroker with David Lerner Associates, Inc. (“David Lerner ”) in White Plains, New York, with a history of customer complaints.

Mr. Daniel T. Lerner has been the subject of seven customer complaints, which include three pending disputes. The pending disputes are securities arbitration claims filed by customers of Mr. Daniel T. Lerner, alleging that he unsuitably recommended purchasing Energy 11, LP, a limited partnership investment that invests in offshore oil and gas properties.  Two of the complaints also include allegations that Mr. Daniel T. Lerner unsuitably recommended the purchase of the Great Art Fund.   All three complaints allege that Mr. Lerner misrepresented and omitted material facts related to these investments.

Separately, in January 2021, a customer alleged $100,000 in damages resulting from unsuitable investment recommendations concerning a mutual fund, as well as interests in Direct Participation Programs (DPP) and Limited Partnerships (LPs).  A DPP is a financial security that enables investors to participate in a business venture’s cash flow and tax benefits.  The customer did not file a securities arbitration complaint.  Instead, the customer complained directly to David Lerner, and the firm denied the complaint. Customers such as this investor may still file a securities arbitration complaint.  They should contact an experienced securities arbitration attorney to further consultation.

Here is how you can file a claim to recover losses suffered from trading restrictions placed on GameStop, AMC, Blackberry, Nokia, and other stocks.

On February 12, 2021, in a letter addressed to Senator Elizabeth Warren, Robinhood Financial, LLC confirmed twenty-four (24) pending securities arbitrations.

Robinhood’s letter was written in response to an inquiry sent by Senator Warren on February 2, 2021, as to why Robinhood “abruptly changed the rules” for retail investors by restricting the purchase of certain securities.

Michael Joseph Hernandez is a stockbroker with Arive Capital Markets LLC (“Arive Capital Markets”) in Brooklyn, New York.  Mr. Hernandez has a history of associations with disreputable broker-dealers and at least one customer complaint, employment termination, and regulatory sanction.

If you have lost money with broker Michael Hernandez or Arive Capital Markets, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

Arive Capital Markets

This post is the first in a series of investigative blog posts that spotlight modern-day boiler rooms that operate under the guise of a reputable brokerage firm.  Many of the broker-dealers featured in this series still use boiler room tactics such as cold-calling customers and high pressure or aggressive sales tactics.  Other brokerage firms have a propensity for broker misconduct, such as excessive trading, churning, unauthorized trades, and misrepresentation.  Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities arbitration law firm based in New York City. We represent investors nationwide who have suffered investment losses due to wrongful conduct by financial advisors and brokerage firms.  We are investor advocates.

SUMMARY:

  • In 2017, in collaboration with Columbia Law School, Reuters analyzed FINRA data and identified 48 firms whose brokers have been flagged for serious incidents. In 2021, our firm set out to update that analysis. 

Investing your money is a great way to grow your wealth, save for retirement, and reach your financial goals.  If you invest in the appropriate products, you can also receive income from investments, build on-pre-tax dollars, or reduce taxable income.

If you do not invest, you miss out on opportunities to increase your wealth.  However, all investments carry risk, and when you invest, you have the potential to lose money.

There are many different types of investments.  Some common types of investments include stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, money market funds, exchange-traded funds, and annuities.  There are also more complex investment vehicles, such as real estate investment trusts (REITs), unit investment trusts (UITs), hedge funds, commodities, and private placements.

When an investor suffers harm, including investment losses, due to misconduct by a financial advisor or broker-dealer, the investor can file a securities arbitration claim against their financial advisor and/or broker-dealer in an effort to be compensated. The case will be presented and defended in an arbitration proceeding to a panel of arbitrators instead of a court of law in front of a judge and jury.

Arbitration is the primary forum for resolving disputes between investors and brokerage firms or financial advisors because the parties have contractually agreed to use arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution process. When an investor opens an account with a broker-dealer, the investor is required to sign an array of account opening documents. These account opening documents regularly include an arbitration clause, which requires that arbitration be used as an alternative to litigation. This requirement is often a contractually binding obligation for both parties. As a result, disputes between investors and financial advisors or brokerage firms are resolved in arbitration as an alternative to court.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is authorized by Congress to regulate the financial services industry and operates the largest arbitration forum for securities disputes. Most securities arbitrations take place using FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Services’ arbitration forum because, as FINRA members, financial advisors and brokerage firms are required to arbitrate customer complaints upon the filing of a claim through FINRA.

On December 22, 2022, a FINRA Dispute Resolution Services arbitration panel in Boca Raton, Florida, ordered UBS Financial Services, Inc. to pay a customer $89,675 in compensatory damages.  After considering the pleadings, the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, the arbitration panel concluded that the UBS Yield Enhancement Strategy (“YES”) was not suitable for the investor, Gerald S. Backman, a retired partner at corporate law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Many UBS customers, including wealthy and sophisticated investors, who invested in UBS’s Yield Enhancement Strategy have filed lawsuits against UBS in the form of FINRA arbitrations to recover financial losses.   The customers have claimed that the strategy was not suitable for them and that UBS materially misrepresented and omitted the product’s risks.

Investors who have suffered investment losses due to UBS’s Yield Enhancement Strategy should contact experienced securities arbitration attorneys at Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential case evaluation.  Partner August Iorio, who has been investigating YES for nearly two years, can be reached at august@ia-law.com or toll-free at (855) 430-4010.

FINRA has suspended financial advisor Jay Clint Tomlinson from the securities industry for three months and fined him $7,500.   Mr. Tomlinson’s sanctions arise from his improper use of discretion without written authorization when placing 379 trades in three customers’ accounts.

FINRA has also censured Tomlinson’s employer, New York financial services firm R.F. Lafferty & Co., Inc., and ordered the firm to pay a fine of $55,000.   R.F. Lafferty & Co., Inc. (“R.F. Lafferty”) failed to maintain order memoranda that accurately reflected whether trades were solicited or unsolicited for more than 56,000 trades in customer accounts. R.F. Lafferty also failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system, and failed to enforce written supervisory procedures, reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable recordkeeping laws, regulations, and rules pertaining to review and retention of order memoranda.

This is not the first time Mr. Tomlinson and R.F. Lafferty have been sanctioned by FINRA. In November 2012, Mr. Tomlinson was suspended for 30 days and fined $7,500 for failing to timely provide documents and information to FINRA.  At the time, Mr. Tomlinson was the Chief Compliance Officer at Brimberg & Co.   Brimberg & Co. was expelled from the securities industry by FINRA for failing to pay its monetary fines.

FINRA has barred financial advisor Michael Edward Magill (CRD #2024663) from the securities industry.  Michael Magill was a stockbroker at Foreside Fund Services, LLC, in Portland, Maine, from August 2017 until January 2019.

If you have lost money with Michael Magill, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

Mr. Magill has been a financial advisor and registered representative at the following firms:

Registration Dates    Firm Name Branch Location
August 2017 – January 2019 Foreside Fund Services, LLC Portland, Maine
August 2016 – July 2017 Crossroads Capital Distributors, LLC Newport Beach, California
December 2004 – December 2015 Janus Distributors LLC Denver, Colorado
January 2000 – January 2005 Davis Distributors, LLC Tucson, Arizona
January 1996 – January 1997 TCC Securities Corporation San Francisco, California
July 1995 – January 1996 Phoenix Securities, Inc. San Rafael, California
June 1994 – November 1994 Continental Capital Group, Inc.  
May 1991 – November 1992 John Hancock Distributors, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts
May 1991 – November 1992 John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company Boston, Massachusetts
January 1990 – July 1990 *Hibbard Brown & Co., Inc. New York, New York

*FINRA expelled Hibbard Brown & Co., Inc. on February 22, 1996

Michael Magill and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) on December 7, 2020, over allegations related to Magill recommending private securities transactions to three investors. The securities sold to the investors were not legitimate investments and the three investors, who were not customers of Foreside Fund Services, LLC, lost their entire investment, totaling $700,000.  Specifically, FINRA alleged:

  • On December 3, 2018, while registered with Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Mr. Magill began working on behalf of a private issuer to find potential investors for a principal-protected note offered by the issuer.
  • Magill contacted prospective investors, provided them with marketing materials, explained the investment and terms of the note, and directed them to the issuer’s website to complete the paperwork necessary to make the investment.
  • In December 2018, Mr. Magill recommended the principal-protected note to three investors, who invested a total of $7000,000.
  • The first investor was 78 years old at the time of the investment and invested $100,000.
  • A second investor invested $250,000, and a third investor invested $100,000.
  • The investors were not customers of Foreside Fund Services, LLC.
  • To entice the prospective investors, Mr. Magill offered higher interest rates for immediate investments and told the investors that the investment was only available for a short time.
  • Magill earned $14,000 in commissions, a bonus for securing investments by the end of 2018, and the salary the private issuer paid him.
  • Before recommending the principal-protected note, Mr. Magill failed to conduct reasonable diligence to understand the features and risks of investing in the note.
  • In February 2019, federal authorities shut down the private issuer’s offices.
  • An executive of the private issuers and Mr. Magill’s supervisor at the private issuer both pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to prison. Another executive died in custody while awaiting trial.
  • Foreside Fund Services, LLC required its financial advisors to receive the firm’s written approval prior to participating in the transaction.
  • Magill did not provide written notice to Foreside Fund Services, LLC and received no written approval to participate in the three private securities transactions.

When a financial advisor solicits a customer to participate in a securities transaction that is not offered or approved by the advisor’s employing brokerage firm, it is often referred to as selling away.

This blog has previously written about other recent selling away allegations:  Future Income Payments, LLC.

Brokerage firms like Foreside Fund Services, LLC must properly supervise financial advisors and customer accounts.  Brokerage firms must also establish and maintain a reasonably designed system to oversee account activity, such as private securities transactions, to ensure compliance with securities laws and industry regulations.   When a brokerage firm fails to sufficiently supervise its financial advisors or the investment account activity, it may be liable for investment losses sustained by customers.

If you have lost money with Michael Edward Magill or Foreside Fund Services, LLC, contact New York securities arbitration lawyer August Iorio of Iorio Altamirano LLP. August Iorio can be reached at august@ia-law.com or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential review of your account.

Iorio Altamirano LLP is a boutique law firm located in the heart of New York City. Iorio Altamirano LLP represents investors nationwide who have suffered investment losses due to securities fraud.

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