Archives for Uncategorized

Attention Purchasers of 8000 Inc. (Stock Symbol – EIGH)

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that a federal court in New York entered a final judgment by default against 8000, Inc., a Virginia-based company, that ordered it to pay $6,525,000 in a civil penalty in a stock manipulation case filed by the Commission in 2012. The Commission alleged that the Company issued numerous false press releases to inflate the value of the company so that certain parties could benefit.

The complaint alleged that the defendants participated in a scheme to manipulate the trading volume and price of 8000 Inc.’s common stock by disseminating false information about the company and simultaneously selling or facilitating the sale of its securities which were not supposed to be for sale to the general public. The complaint alleged that the defendants’ scheme increased the volume of trading in 8000, Inc. by 93% and the company’s stock price from less than $0.01 per share to $0.42 per share between November 2009 and October 2010.

In addition 8000, Inc. was ordered to pay $6.5 million.

Categories: Uncategorized.

CFTC Order Fines Forex Capital Markets for Supervisory Violations

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently settled charges against Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM), a registered Futures Commission Merchant, for failing to diligently supervise its officers’, employees’, and agents’ handling of accounts held at FXCM in the name of a fraudulent foreign currency exchange pool, Revelation Forex Fund, LP (RFF). RFF was operated by Kevin G. White (White) and two entities he controlled (the White Entities).

According to the CFTC’s Order, from April 1, 2013, to July 10, 2013, FXCM failed to follow its compliance procedures that require that it “know all of its customers” and that its employees identify and promptly report suspicious activities to appropriate authorities. Although FXCM was aware of warning signs that RFF was a fraud, FXCM failed to identify or report these warning signs in violation of its own compliance procedures, or that White’s operation of websites on behalf of the White Entities violated their exemption from registering as a commodity pool operator. The Order also finds that FXCM failed to respond fully to a CFTC document request and, in doing so, violated a previous Commission order.

The CFTC Order requires FXCM to pay a civil monetary penalty of $700,000; disgorge commissions and fees of $143,922.50 it earned from the RFF accounts; and comply with certain undertakings including hiring a third-party compliance consultant to review and report on the supervisory issues raised in the Order.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options.  The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide.  If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.  Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Ronald Seth Cohen of Boca Raton, Florida Fined and Suspended by FINRA

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, Ronald Seth Cohen (2419431) of Boca Raton, FL, was fined $10,000 and suspended by FINRA for four (4) months for allegedly engaging in three (3) outside business activities without providing prior written notice to his member firm, Morgan Stanley.

Furthermore, allegations also stated that Cohen made misrepresentations to the Firm regarding his participation in outside business activities on two annual Compliance Questionnaires, stating that he disclosed all of his outside business activities to the Firm.  These representations were allegedly false, as Cohen had not disclosed his participation in the outside business activities. (See FINRA AWC No. 2014042790701)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Ronald Seth Cohen is not currently licensed to act as a broker or as an investment adviser.  Cohen was registered in the securities industry for twenty (20) years, and was registered with the following firm(s):

MORGAN STANLEY

CRD #149777

BOCA RATON, FL

06/2009 – 09/2014

 

MORGAN STANLEY & CO. INCORPORATED

CRD #8209

BOCA RATON, FL

04/2008 – 06/2009

 

WACHOVIA SECURITIES, LLC

CRD #19616

BOCA RATON, FL

07/2003 – 05/2008

PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES INCORPORATED

CRD #7471

NEW YORK, NY

09/2000 – 07/2003

 

PAINEWEBBER INCORPORATED

CRD #8174

NEW YORK, NY

12/1996 – 10/2000

 

SMITH BARNEY INC.

CRD #7059

NEW YORK, NY

11/1995 – 12/2996

 

GUILFORD SECURITIES INCORPORATED

CRD #8076

NEW YORK, NY

05/1994 – 11/1995

 

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options.  The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide.  If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.  Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Federal Court Orders Florida Attorney to Pay Civil Penalty and Restitution

According to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Florida Attorney Jay Bruce Grossman was ordered by a Federal Judge to pay $150,000 civil monetary penalty and restitution of $733,000 for allegedly aiding and abetting multiple clients in their operation of fraudulent and illegal precious metals schemes.  Allegations stated that Grossman crafted the illusion that these illegal precious metal schemes were legitimate and compiled with the law, when in fact they were neither.  Furthermore, as a result of his involvement in such unlawful practices, Grossman has been ordered not to appear or practice as an attorney before the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commission until such time as he has been reinstated by Order of the CFTC.

 

  • On May 16, 2014, a federal court in Florida found that Grossman client Hunter Wise and its owners committed “repeated, callous, and blatant” fraud in their operation of a precious metals scheme and ordered Hunter Wise and its owners to pay $52.6 million in restitution to defrauded customers and a $55.4 million civil monetary penalty in U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Hunter Wise Commodities, LLC, Case No. 9:12-cv-81311-DMM (S.D. Fla.) (see CFTC Press Release 6935-14, May 22, 2014).

 

  • On July 24, 2014, a federal court in Florida ordered Grossman client AmeriFirst Management and its owners to pay $25 million in restitution and a $10 million civil monetary penalty for their operation of a fraudulent precious metals scheme in U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. AmeriFirst Management LLC. Case No. 0:13-cv-61637-WPD (S.D. Fla.) (see CFTC Press Release 6973-14).

 

  • In the same action, the court also ordered Grossman clients James Burbage and Frank Gaudino, and their companies Lloyds Commodities, LLC, Lloyds Commodities Credit Company, LLC, and Lloyds Services, LLC, to pay restitution totaling over $2 million and civil monetary penalties totaling over $2.9 million for engaging in unlawful retail off-exchange precious metals transactions (see CFTC Press Release 6850-14).

 

  • Additionally, the CFTC filed and settled charges with two Grossman clients, Secured Precious Metals and Joseph Glenn Commodities, for engaging in unlawful retail off-exchange precious metals transactions while acting as metals dealers for Hunter Wise (see CFTC Press Releases 6503-13 and6542-13).

 

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options.  The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide.  If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.  Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Common Securities Fraud Claims

The Florida Securities arbitration lawyers at the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC have made it their duty to protect and represent investors who have been victims to securities fraud. Our securities arbitration lawyers in Florida are experienced in providing the focused and aggressive representation needed to represent victims of financial fraud. There are different types of securities fraud each with different penalties. The more common claims are listed below:

Churning – Churning claims happen when a broker acts in their best interests rather than their clients. In these types of claims, the client must prove three things:

  • Excessive trading was not condoned
  • Broker controlled the account
  • Broker intended to defraud client

Unsuitability – Unsuitability claims are a common complaint that arise when a client and broker relationship is unsuitable due to the brokers recommended investments compared to the client’s investment goals.

Unauthorized Trading – Unauthorized trading claims occur when a broker engages in trading and transactions without the client’s approval.

Negligence – Negligence claims involve a broker who has failed in handling the affairs of their clients and did not act as they should have.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Clients trust their brokers and in return brokers are expected to stay loyal and true. In a breach of fiduciary duty claim, clients state that the broker breached their duty and broke their trust.

With all securities fraud claims and cases, the primary route to take is to undergo securities arbitration in order to recover investment losses caused by stockbroker fraud. Arbitration can only be used as an alternative to litigation if both parties agree. In the United States securities industry, arbitration has been the preferred dispute resolution method between firms and their clients. Arbitration is governed by state and federal laws as well as the rules of the arbitration forum. Arbitration claims typically take an estimated 12-14 months to complete. More details of the arbitration process can be found here.

Florida Securities Arbitration Lawyers

If you’ve been a victim of financial fraud, contact the Florida Securities lawyers at Place & Hanley today. Our firm is a nationally recognized securities and commodities arbitration law firm and we’ve had experience in prosecuting claims against major institutions and firms. At Place & Hanley, our lawyers are dedicated to protecting and representing visitors.

Categories: Securities Fraud and Uncategorized.

Attention Customers of Oppenheimer Broker Mark Hotton

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it has fined Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. $2.5 million and ordered the firm to pay restitution of $1.25 million for failing to supervise Mark Hotton, a former Oppenheimer broker who stole money from his customers and excessively traded their brokerage accounts. FINRA permanently barred Mark Hotton from the securities industry in August 2013.

FINRA found that Oppenheimer failed to supervise Hotton in multiple respects. First, Oppenheimer failed to adequately investigate Hotton prior to hiring him, even though FINRA records showed that he was subject to 12 reportable events, including criminal charges and seven customer complaints. The firm also failed to place Hotton under heightened supervision despite learning, shortly after Hotton joined the firm, that his business partners had sued him for defrauding them out of several million dollars. Additionally, Oppenheimer failed to respond to “red flags” in correspondence and wire transfer requests demonstrating that Hotton was wiring funds from Oppenheimer customer accounts to entities that he owned or controlled. This allowed Hotton to transfer more than $2.9 million from those customers’ accounts. Finally, Oppenheimer failed to adequately supervise Hotton’s trading of his customers’ accounts despite the fact Oppenheimer’s surveillance analysts detected Hotton was trading the accounts at presumptively excessive levels.

In addition, FINRA found that Oppenheimer failed to make more than 300 required filings to FINRA about some of its brokers in a timely manner. On average, these filings were 238 days late; and thus, the investing public and other broker-dealers were not timely made aware of serious allegations made against Oppenheimer’s registered representatives, including Hotton. Also, during the course of FINRA’s investigation, Oppenheimer repeatedly failed to provide timely responses to FINRA requests for information and documents.

If you have suffered investment losses, please contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to explore your legal options. The Law Offices of Place and Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors who have been victims of securities fraud. If you have lost money as a result of securities fraud, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.

Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation or email rp@placeandhanley.com

Categories: Uncategorized.

5 Most Common Types of Fraud Identified by FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a new Investor Alert called Avoiding Investment Scams which described common types of fraud. Below are the 5 most common types of fraud identified by FINRA:

1. Pyramid Schemes: Fraudsters claim that they can take a small investment and turn it into large profits in a short amount of time. However, participants make money solely by recruiting new participants and the schemes quickly fall apart when new participants are no longer available. Pyramid schemes may appear to be legitimate multi-level marketing programs.
2. Ponzi Schemes: Fraudsters recruit new investors and use their funds to pay earlier-stage investors, instead of investing the funds as promised. This type of scam is named after Charles Ponzi, who in the 1920s tricked thousands of investors to place their funds in a price arbitrage scheme involving postage stamps. Ponzi schemes are similar to pyramid schemes with the exception that in ponzi scheme investors do not have to recruit new investors to earn a share of profits. Ponzi Schemes usually collapse when new investors cannot be attracted or when too many investors try to cash out.
3. Pump-and-Dump: Fraudsters buy shares of a low priced stock from an unknown company and then trump up interest in the stock to increase the stock’s price. Investors are tricked into believing they are getting a good deal and create buying demand at high prices. At this point the fraudsters sell their shares at the high prices and disappear, leaving the unsuspecting investors with worthless stock. Previously, these schemes were conducted by cold callers, facsimiles or online newsletters, but now the most common medium is through spam emails or text messages.
4. Advance Fee Fraud: The scams starts by an offer placed to buy a worthless stock for a high price, but to facilitate the deal the investor must send a fee for the service. Once the fee is sent, the investor never hears from the fraudster again.
5. Offshore Scams: These scams include any of the above mentioned scams and may also involve Regulation S. Offshore scams can be difficult for U.S. law enforcement agencies to investigate or rectify.

If you and have suffered investment losses, please contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to explore your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors who have been victims of securities fraud. If you have lost money as a result of securities fraud, you may be able to recover your financial losses. Contact us today toll free at (866)318-4725 for a free initial consultation.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Boynton Beach Florida Jennifer J. Trowbridge Broker Censured and Fined

Jennifer J. Trowbridge, a broker based in Boynton Beach, Florida was fined $10,000 and suspended two months by FINRA.

Trowbridge recommended a series of mutual fund switches in seven customer accounts without having reasonable grounds for believing that such transactions were suitable for those customers in view of the nature of the recommended transactions, the frequency of the transactions, and the transaction costs incurred. On at least 29 occasions, Trowbridge recommended that the customers purchase Class A mutual funds, for which they paid commissions and front-end sales charges. She then recommended that the customers sell those Class A mutual funds within only one month to thirteen months after purchasing them. On average, these customers held the Class A mutual funds at issue for less than six months. Trowbridge then used the proceeds of the sales to purchase mutual funds offered by other fund families, causing the customers to pay additional commissions and fees. In total, the customers paid approximately $60,000 in unnecessary commissions on these switch transactions.
Trowbridge formerly was employed by the following broker-dealers

09/2012 – 11/2014 QUESTAR CAPITAL CORPORATION
01/2010 – 09/2012 ESSEX SECURITIES LLC
08/2005 – 12/2009 INVESTORS CAPITAL CORP.

If you had an account with Jennifer J. Trowbridge, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for a no cost initial consultation at (866) 318-4725

Categories: Broker Investigations, Investor Protection, and Uncategorized.

FINRA Suspends Stockbroker, Benjamin Brown, Jr. for Unauthorized Trading

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended stockbroker Benjamin Brown, Jr. for 10 days and fined him $5000 for unauthorized trading.

FINRA alleged that Brown effected option transactions while exercising discretion in a customer’s account without the customer’s prior written authorization to exercise such discretion and without written permission from his member firm to engage in such discretionary trading.

Brown is not currently registered with a FINRA member.  Brown was formerly registered with the following broker-dealers.

05/2013 – 12/2013 – SALOMON WHITNEY LLC; FARMINGDALE, NY

02/2012 – 05/2013 – WHITEWOOD GROUP, INC; GREAT NECK, NY

11/2011 – 12/2011 – TRIDENT PARTNERS LTD.; WOODBURY, NY

08/2011 – 11/2011 – GLOBAL ARENA CAPITAL CORP; MELVILLE, NY

11/2009 – 08/2011 – NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION; MELVILLE, NY

10/2009 – 12/2009 – ECKARD INVESTMENT SERVICES, INC.; BOERNE, TX

If you had an account where you suffered losses due to unauthorized trading, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for no cost initial consultation.  Call (866) 318-4725.

(866) 318-4725
Categories: Uncategorized.

FINRA Bars Wilmington, Delaware Broker for Alleged Client Theft

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that they barred Michael E. Donnelly.  Donnelly was terminated by Coastal Equities, Inc.   Coastal Equities noted that the reason for termination was “misappropriation of client funds.”

FINRA opened an investigation thereafter but Donnelly failed to cooperate in FINRA’s investigation.  FINRA barred Donnelly from association with any FINRA member.

Donnelly was also associated with Coastal Investment Advisors, Inc., an SEC registered investment advisor.

If you believe that you may be a victim of theft by Michael Donnelly, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for a no fee initial consultation at 866-318-4725.

(866) 318-4725
Categories: Uncategorized.