Articles Tagged with Selling Away

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has barred financial advisor Enoch Booth from the securities industry for refusing to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into whether Mr. Booth engaged in unauthorized private securities transactions and outside business activities.  FINRA launched the investigation after Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. terminated Mr. Booth’s employment in December 2020 and alleged that Mr. Booth failed to disclose a series of private securities transactions, failed to disclose a self-directed IRA, and provided gift cards to clients in violation of firm policy.  Mr. Booth was associated with Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. in Columbia, South Carolina, from May 2001, until December 2020.

When a financial advisor participates in a private securities transaction that is not approved by a firm, it is referred to as “selling away.”  The prohibitions on selling away are designed to protect investors by ensuring that all brokers’ activities are reasonably supervised by firms that employ them.  Further, securities that are sold away from a firm have not been vetted by the firm.

Customers of Mr. Booth or Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. that have suffered financial losses can contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential consultation and review of their legal rights.

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.

Reportedly, Mr. Viyella recommended that his clients invest in the Conrad Hotel, a luxury hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which he had a personal stake.  Mr. Viyella reportedly knew the hotel was facing financial difficulties, yet recommended that his clients invest in the hotel, causing them to suffer financial losses.

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.

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;
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