Articles Tagged with Selling Away

On June 8, 2021, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and Titan Securities entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) whereby Titan Securities consented to a censure and $20,000 fine.  The sanctions are a result of Titan Securities’ failure to properly conduct an evaluation of a broker’s proposed sale of Future Income Payments to customers.

Unrelatedly, just last week, Titan Securities CEO and owner Brad Brooks was suspended for one year for failing to supervise a broker’s outside business activities between 2009 and 2012.

FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 2019061705101

On June 2, 2021, FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council modified a FINRA’s Office of Hearing Officers decision from 2019 that was filed by FINRA’s Department of Enforcement against Titan Securities, Brad Brooks, and broker Richard Demetriou.   The modified order has resulted in a one-year suspension of Titan Securities’ CEO and owner Mr. Brooks.

The enforcement action arose out of alleged misconduct of Mr. Demetriou’s involvement with a private placement of preferred units in a limited partnership, RBCP Preferred, LLC (“RBCP”).  RBCP was organized by the owner of Mr. Demetriou’s previous member firm, who employed Mr. Demetriou to solicit investments from Mr. Demetriou’s previous firm, and Mr. Demetrious represented that RBCP was offered to them as a means of recouping those losses.   Mr. Demetriou recommended RBCP, made misrepresentations concerning the supposed collateral securing the investments, and told customers that an investment of 10 percent of their previous losses would result in recovery of their lost investments, plus a profit – alleged returns of more than 1,000 percent.  The investors did not recoup their losses but instead lost an additional $337,000 when RBCP failed, and the alleged collateral was not foreclosed.

FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council made the following findings:

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has barred stockbroker Nicholas Palumbo from the securities industry.  Mr. Palumbo was expelled from the brokerage industry after refusing to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into allegations related to his termination from Park Avenue Securities LLC.  Mr. Palumbo was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC from May 1999 until he was “permitted to resign” in May 2020 over allegations that he engaged in undisclosed private securities transactions.

If you have lost money with broker Nicholas Palumbo or Park Avenue Securities LLC, contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 2020066651001

A FINRA Dispute Resolution Services arbitration panel in Richmond, Virginia, found Westpark Capital, Inc. to be liable for actions of its disgraced former broker, Lawrence Fawcett, and ordered the firm to pay nearly $800,000 to customers Charles and Karen Hailey.  The award included over $545,000 in compensatory damages, $33,500 in costs, and $215,000 in attorneys’ fees.    The arbitration panel found Westpark liable for failing to supervise Mr. Fawcett, who churned the Hailey’s accounts and made unsuitable investment recommendations.  The unsuitable investment recommendations related to private placement investments in the following entities:  Protagenic Therapeutics, Inc., Monster Digital, Inc., Miamar Labs, Inc.

The former stockbroker, Lawrence (Larry) Fawcett, was barred from the securities industry by FINRA in March 2018 for failing to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into his outside business activities.  FINRA subsequently revoked Mr. Fawcett’s securities license for failing to pay a fine and suspended him for failing to comply with an arbitration award.  Mr. Fawcett, who had only been in the securities industry for five years, had an extensive history of customer complaints, regulatory sanctions, associations with disreputable brokerage firms, and an employment termination after allegations of wrongdoing.

If you have lost money with Lawrence Fawcett or Westpark Capital, Inc., contact FINRA arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has barred stockbroker Candido Viyella. from the securities industry.  Mr. Viyella was expelled from the brokerage industry for refusing to cooperate with a FINRA investigation.  FINRA’s investigation originated after Morgan Stanley discharged Mr. Viyella and disclosed concerns regarding his participation, involvement, and a beneficial ownership interest in an outside investment.

Mr. Viyella was registered with Morgan Stanley in Miami, Florida, from June 2009 until December 2020. He has also been associated with the following entities:  Terrena Enterprises, LLC, VSHC Management, LLC, VSHC Family Limited Partnership LP, and Earthview Capital, LLC.

Since October 2019, Mr. Viyella has been the subject of five customer complaints that appear to be related to soliciting Morgan Stanley clients to participate in promissory note investments.

You worked hard, opened a brokerage or retirement account, and invested your savings with a financial advisor or stockbroker, only to suffer financial losses due to bad investment advice, misleading sales pitches, or brokers that were driven by commissions.  Now what?

Can I Sue My Financial Advisor Over Losses?

Yes, you can sue your financial advisor or broker to recover investment losses if the broker did not have your best interest in mind when they made an investment recommendation or offered investment advice.  You can also sue your financial advisor or broker if the financial advisor misrepresented or omitted material facts that an investor should have known about the security or investment strategy.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has barred stockbroker David Martirosian from the securities industry.  Mr. Martirosian was expelled from the brokerage industry for refusing to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into potentially unsuitable and excessive trading and his potential participation in private securities transactions while associated with Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (“Joseph Stone Capital”).

Mr. Martirosian, who had only 13 years of experience in the securities industry, had a history of associations disreputable broker-dealers, customer complaints, and tax liens.

Mr. Martirosian was employed by Joseph Stone Capital in New York from July 2016 until April 26, 2021

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has suspended stockbroker Frederick Rock from the securities industry for five months and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine.  FINRA sanctioned Mr. Rock because he solicited clients to purchase $409,200 worth of securities that were not approved by his firm, Pruco Securities LLC.

Mr. Rock was a financial advisor with Pruco Securities LLC (“Pruco Securities”) in Tampa, Florida, from July 2014 until August 2019.

Iorio Altamirano LLP is interested in speaking with past customers of Mr. Rock or Pruco Securities LLC.  Contact securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your investment or retirement account.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Department of Enforcement has filed a disciplinary proceeding complaint against former broker Steven Schisler.  The complaint alleges that from April 2009 to October 2020, Steven Schisler committed nine separate violations of FINRA and NASD rules related to his dealings with two sets of retired customers and IFS Securities, the firm that employed him.  Specifically, the FINRA complaint alleges:

  • made an unsuitable recommendation to two elderly, married customers;
  • participated, without the approval of his firm, in a private securities transaction with those customers;

Iorio Altamirano LLP is currently investigating former MML Investor Services, LLC broker Oscar Francis, who reportedly recommended that his customers invest in private placement securities issued by GPB Capital. The GPB notes, which are private securities offerings exempt from registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are inherently risky investments.  These investments are suitable only for highly sophisticated investors who understand the risks and can afford a significant monetary loss.  Unfortunately, many brokerage firms and brokers sold the GPB Capital securities to retirees and unsophisticated investors because they paid a high up-front commission.

Mr. Francis was a broker at MML Investors Services, LLC, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, from July 2008 to May 2017. At that time, MML terminated his employment connected with an investigation into an undisclosed outside business activity, selling away, and an unauthorized non-securities life insurance transaction.  In August 2018, Mr. Francis pleaded guilty to wire fraud after admitting that between June 25, 2012, and May 31, 2017, he devised a scheme to defraud at least eleven investors out of approximately $665,000.  Mr. Francis was subsequently sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay over $420,000 in restitution to clients.   In May 2019, he was also barred by the SEC from association from associating with any broker, dealer, or investment advisor.

Iorio Altamirano LLP is also investigating the sales practices and due diligence of MML Investors Services, LLC related to its sale of GPB Capital funds.   It is believed, according to reports, that MML has been subjected to numerous lawsuits from customers in the form of FINRA securities arbitration claims to recover investment losses.

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