Archives for recover your investment losses

Place & Hanley Investigating Claims Involving Bruce Albert Slater and Transamerica Financial Advisors

Place & Hanley is currently investigating claims against Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (CRD# 16164) regarding Bruce Albert Slater (CRD# 1547792) and Ridgewood Energy. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC recently filed a FINRA Arbitration claim on behalf of seven (7) investors in which it was alleged that financial advisor Bruce Slater negligently and/or fraudulently invested Claimants’ retirement funds in Ridgewood Energy alternative investments, among other unsuitable products.

Bruce Albert Slater (CRD#: 1547792), was an associated person of Transamerica, a FINRA member, from June 1997 to March 2016. According to FINRA Brokercheck, Bruce Slater is currently registered with Sagepoint Financial, Inc. (CRD#: 133763).

The seven (7) Claimants bringing a FINRA arbitration claim against Transamerica have alleged that Slater used his ties with the Claimants, and their implicit trust in him, to benefit himself by recommending investments which earned him the highest level of commissions despite their unsuitability for Claimants’ investment profiles. According to FINRA’s Brokercheck Bruce Slater has four other customer complaints currently on his CRD record; three of the most recent complaints appear to be related to the same investments at issue in the claims currently being asserted by Claimants in the pending FINRA arbitration.

Claimants allege that at the recommendation of Slater, Claimants invested over $2 million dollars in Ridgewood Energy Funds Q, S, T, U, V, W, X and Y, Ridgewood Energy A-1 Fund, Ridgewood Energy B-1 Fund, Ridgewood Energy Bluewater Oil Fund II and Ridgewater Energy Bluewater Oil Fund III. Claimants further allege that Slater recommended that Claimants invest over $3 million in a Transamerica Variable Annuities.

Claimants allege that in order to fund the Transamerica Variable Annuity purchases, Slater recommended that Claimants either surrender or rollover the annuities they owned to purchase the new Transamerica annuities. Claimants allege that by purchasing the new annuities, Claimants entered into new surrender periods which further complicated the fact that Slater over-allocated the Claimants’ portfolios into illiquid non-traded highly speculative alternative investments at a time when they were required to take required minimum distributions. Claimants have alleged that Slater failed to advise them of the costs and surrender charges associated with the purchase of the new Transamerica Variable Annuities. Claimants have further alleged that the only reason Slater recommended that the Claimants rollover their annuities was so that he could earn sizeable commissions.

Furthermore, Claimants allege that Slater invested the Claimants retirement funds in accounts with Community National Bank, American Funds, Fidelity, Franklin Square Alternative Investments, Inland/Wells REITS, Inland Western REIT, Inland Real Estate Corp. Inland Retail Real Estate, Retail Properties of America, Xenia Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, Oppenheimer, Allianz Funds and Pioneer Investments.

Claimants further allege that Slater was highly enthusiastic about oil and gas investments, and in particular Ridgewood Energy. Claimants allege that Slater often spoke to the Claimants in technical terms regarding the geopolitics of oil, oil exploration and drilling operations and he often bragged about how great the geologist and petroleum engineers at Ridgewood were. Claimants allege that Slater told the Claimants that they should buy as much Ridgewood as possible because the Ridgewood investments would provide so much income that they wouldn’t need to ever worry about money or any other investments again. Claimants allege that Slater told the Claimants that their investments in Ridgewood were a “guarantee”.

Ridgewood Energy Investments are private placements offered as Regulation D offerings. Simply stated, a private placement is an offering of a company’s securities that is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is not offered to the public at large. The Ridgewood private placements are offered pursuant to Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, which specifies the amount of money that can be raised and the type of investor that can be solicited to participate in the offering.

Claimants allege that they made various Ridgewood Energy investments between 2005 and 2014 based on the recommendations of Slater. Claimants allege that Slater’s fraudulent recommendations to invest in Ridgewood Energy were continuing in nature and that over the years, Claimants discussed their investments with Slater and he consistently misrepresented the investments and even recommended that Claimants invest more money in Ridgewood Energy.

Claimants allege that Slater made many material misrepresentations and omissions, including but not limited to the following allegations:

1. Claimants allege that Slater omitted to inform Claimants that the Ridgewood Funds were illiquid and that Claimants would not be able to sell if needed;

2. Claimants allege that Slater omitted to inform Claimants that the Ridgewood Funds were private placements and that the investments were not suitable for Claimants given their ages, retirement or near retirement status and investment goals;

3. Claimants allege that Slater misrepresented to Claimants on numerous occasions that their investments in Ridgewood were performing well and that they should invest additional funds in subsequent Ridgewood offerings;

4. Claimants allege that Slater failed to inform Claimants that he was actually selling them the Ridgewood Funds because they paid a very high commission and not because they were suitable investments. Indeed, through information and belief the Ridgewood Funds at issue charged upfront fees of 8-16%. In addition, through information and belief Ridgewood Energy charges a 2.5% annual management fee. Claimants allege that Slater failed to inform Claimants that he earned at least an 8% commission on the sale of the Ridgewood Funds; and

5. Claimants allege that Slater over-concentrated Claimants in illiquid private placements when investing a substantial portion of their net worth in Ridgewood Energy Funds.

Claimants are all in their retirement years. Claimants allege that due to the misconduct of Slater, Claimants are not able to enjoy the retirement they saved for. Claimants allege that Slater was aware that Claimants trusted him completely and he used his position of trust to defraud the Claimants and financially benefit himself.

As a result of the foregoing, Claimants have alleged that Respondent Transamerica is liable for common law fraud; breach of fiduciary duty; breach of contract; breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and negligence. Claimants further allege that Respondent breached FINRA rules, which are the basis for and the standard of care for FINRA member firms and their associated persons. Lastly, Claimants have alleged that Respondent Transamerica is liable under the doctrines of agency, respondeant superior, vicarious liability and was also negligent in the hiring, retention, and supervision of Bruce Slater.

If you were a client of Bruce Slater and/or Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. 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 nationwide 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: Broker Investigations.

Former Merrill Lynch Broker Thomas Buck Barred by FINRA Over Numerous Allegations of Misrepresentations and Misconduct

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, former top Merrill Lynch Broker Thomas Buck (CRD #1024868) of Indianapolis, Indiana, was barred by FINRA over numerous allegations of engaging in misrepresentations and other misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

Allegations stated that Buck held customer assets in commission-based accounts rather than fee-based accounts in order to generate higher revenues. According to FINRA, registered representatives are required to assess the comparative costs to customers of commission-based or fee-based accounts, and discuss those alternatives with their customers, which Buck failed to do. FINRA alleges that Buck not only failed to fully assess the suitability of the fee structure for certain clients, but in fact decided to use commission-based accounts despite knowing that it would have been less expensive for those clients to maintain fee-based accounts. As such, Buck allegedly misled customers regarding the relative costs of commission-based or fee-based trading for their accounts, in order to keep them in higher-cost commission-based accounts.

Furthermore, allegations also stated that Buck exercised discretion and made unauthorized trades in customer accounts without prior authorization from the customers or his member firm, Merrill Lynch. Allegedly, Buck placed trades in customer accounts without obtaining his customers’ consent in advance or even after placing the trade, exercised discretionary authority without obtaining authorization, and placed trades which he assumed the customers would want without obtaining their authorization to do so. As a result of engaging in such conduct, Buck, according to FINRA, directly violated FINRA rules and his obligation to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade

According to a recently published InvestmentNews Article, Buck has been Merrill Lynch’s top broker in Indiana since at least 2009, overseeing approximately $1.3 billion in assets. Since that time, Buck has allegedly pursued unethical and improper business practices which generated increased revenues and commissions, which in turn enhanced his status as a top-producing broker. Buck has accrued nearly a dozen customer complaints for unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading.

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Thomas Buck (CRD #1024868) has been permanently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Buck was registered in the securities industry for thirty three (33) years, and was registered with the following firm(s):

RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC
CRD #31194
INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Registered with this firm since 04/2015

MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED
CRD #7691
INDIANAPOLIS, IN
12/1981 – 04/2015

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: Broker Investigations.

Tallahassee Florida Broker Barred by FINRA for Misuse of Customer Funds

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, William Oscar Hardy Jr. (CRD #1444999) was barred by FINRA for misusing customer insurance premium funds which caused the customer’s policy to lapse. FINRA alleged that Hardy misused $658 in customer funds by applying them to various insurance policies held by the customer’s daughter and son-in-law, and depositing some of the funds into his personal business checking account, instead of paying the customer’s premium payments for his fixed life insurance policy. As a result, the customer’s policy lapsed. (See FINRA AWC. No. 2014039881901)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, William Hardy has been permanently barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Hardy was registered in the securities industry for twenty eight (28) years with the following firm(s):

NYLIFE SECURITIES LLC
CRD #5167
TALLAHASSEE, FL
05/2002 – 03/2014

MUTUAL OF OMAHA INVESTOR SERVICES, INC.
CRD #611
OMAHA, NE
12/1985 – 03/2002

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: Broker Investigations.

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC Fined and Required to Revise Written Supervisory Procedures

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (CRD #19616) of St. Louis, Missouri, was censured, fined $35,000, and required to revise its Written Supervisory Procedures (WSPs). The Firm allegedly accepted and held customer market orders, traded for its own account at prices that would have satisfied the customer market orders, and failed to immediately thereafter execute the customer market orders.

FINRA alleged that the firm failed to show the correct time of execution on the memorandum of numerous different brokerage orders, which was a direct violation of FINRA rules. FINRA’s findings also allege that the firm’s Written Supervisory Procedures did not provide for reasonable supervision designed to achieve compliance with respect to the applicable securities laws and regulations, and FINRA rules. (See FINRA AWC. No. 20120352228-01)

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: Broker Investigations.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida Broker Sylvester King Suspended and Fined by FINRA for Concealing Customer Loans

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, Sylvester King Jr. (CRD #4011622) of Miramar, Florida, was suspended for eighteen (18) months and fined $35,000 for allegedly helping another broker conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in customer loans. FINRA alleged that from the period of July 2009 through November 2012 while registered with Morgan Stanley and then later Wells Fargo Advisors, King circumvented Wells Fargo’s policies and procedures by allegedly helping another registered representative conceal approximately $399,500 in loans of three (3) clients who were professional athletes in the NFL and NBA, loaned $25,000 to a firm customer without permission from his firm, participated in a private securities transactions that were undisclosed, and provided false information to Morgan Stanley on two separate questionnaires. (See FINRA AWC No. 2013036262101)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Sylvester King Jr. is not currently licensed to act as a broker or as an investment adviser. King was registered in the securities industry for fifteen years (15), and was registered with the following firm(s):

WELLS FARGO ADVISORS, LLC
CRD # 19616
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
10/2011 – 05/2015

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY
CRD #149777
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
11/2006 – 06/2009

CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC.
CRD #7059
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
11/2006 – 06/2009

BANC OF AMERICA INVESTMENT SERVICES, INC.
CRD #16361
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
10/1999 – 11/2006

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: Broker Investigations.

Boca Raton Florida Broker Barred by FINRA for Allegedly Converting Funds from Clients’ Accounts

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, Richard W. Ohrn (CRD No. 5106991) of Boca Raton, was barred by FINRA for allegations of theft from his elderly clients. FINRA’s findings alleged that Ohrn converted a total of $15,250 from two (2) of his elderly clients at Chase Investment Services Corporation. Allegations also stated the Ohrn forged or falsified the signatures of four (4) customers at Chase Investment Services Corporation, on nine (9) separate documents, and also changed the addresses of these clients so that their statements would be mailed to Ohrn’s firm or his firm’s bank. (See FINRA Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2012030987301)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Richard W. Ohrn has been permanently barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Ohrn was registered in the securities industry for four (4) years, and was registered with the following firm(s):

WELLS FARGO ADVISORS, LLC
CRD #19616
BOCA RATON, FL
06/2011 – 08/2012

CHASE INVESTMENT SERVICES CORP.
CRD #25574
BOCA RATON, FL
07/2009 – 06/2011

USF SECURITIES, L.P.
CRD #37942
PALM BEACH, FL
08/2006 – 12/2007

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: Broker Investigations.

Miami Florida Broker Fined and Suspended by FINRA for Allegedly Borrowing Funds from Client

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions Publications, Miami broker Patrick McGrath III (CRD #1251254), also known as Pat McGrath, was fined $10,000 and suspended for four (4) months for allegedly borrowing $210,000 from a customer. Allegedly McGrath defaulted on the loan and his client filed a lawsuit to recover the funds owed.

FINRA alleged that McGrath was prohibited from borrowing funds from clients, other than family members, by his firm’s written supervisory procedures. FINRA also alleged that McGrath submitted three (3) compliance questionnaires to his brokerage firm which falsely stated he had not borrowed funds from a Firm customer, when he in fact had. (See FINRA AWC No. 2013037238901)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Patrick McGrath III has been registered in the securities industry for thirty one (31) years. McGrath is currently registered with the following firm:

NORTHEAST SECURITIES, INC.
CRD #25996
MIAMI, FL
02/2014 – PRESENT

McGrath has previously been registered with the following firm(s):

OPPENHEIMER & CO., INC.
CRD #249
MIAMI, FL
04/2009 – 01/2014

WACHOVIA SECURITIES, LLC
CRD #19616
CORAL GABLES, FL
07/2003 – 04/2009

PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES INCORPORATED
CRD #7471
NEW YORK, NY
05/2001 – 07/2003

UBS PAINEWEBBER INC.
CRD #8174
WEEHAWKEN, NJ
07/1990 – 05/2001

MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED
CRD #7691
NEW YORK, NY
05/1984 – 08/1990

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: Broker Investigations.

Former Pennsylvania Stockbroker Accused in Ponzi Scheme and Barred by FINRA

According to a Press Release from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Malcolm Segal (CRD #1723563), a former stockbroker of Aegis Capital, was charged with conducting a Ponzi Scheme and stealing investor money to use for his own benefit.

The SEC alleged that Segal fraudulently sold certificates of deposits (CDs) to his customers by assuring them that they were FDIC-insured and claiming that he could get them higher interest rates of return than otherwise available to the general public. Segal then allegedly purchased CDs for his clients, but without their knowledge or consent, sold the CDs and kept the proceeds for himself. The SEC further alleged that Segal eventually began stealing directly from his customers by forging letters of authorization to facilitate the transfer of customer funds to personal accounts he controlled. The SEC further alleged that Segal stole directly from his customers’ brokerage accounts. Segal allegedly raised $15.5 million from investors, which he either spent on himself or used to pay interest and principal repayments to earlier investors in a Ponzi scheme fashion.

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, Segal also failed to provide documents and information and appear for testimony as requested by FINRA. (See FINRA AWC No. 2014041990901)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Malcolm Segal has been permanently barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms to sell securities to the public. Segal was registered in the securities industry for twenty five (25) years with the following firm(s):

AEGIS CAPITAL CORP.
CRD #15007
NEW YORK, NY
04/2011-07/2014

CUMBERLAND BROKERAGE CORPORATION
CRD #13409
LANGHORNE, PA
01/1989-04/2011

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: Broker Investigations.

Former Alabama Advisor, Keith Rogers, Barred by FINRA After Allegations of Theft

According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication and the State of Alabama, Keith Michael Rogers (CRD No. 4987615), a former Alabama Financial Advisor, was the subject of a Cease and Desist Order based on allegations that Rogers engaged in selling away, the sale of unregistered securities, unauthorized fund transfers and conversion. (See Administrative Order No. CD-2014-0016) FINRA further alleged that Rogers misappropriated funds by improperly diverting funds from the bank accounts of certain customers to an account he controlled. (See FINRA AWC No. 2014041532601)

According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Keith Michael Rogers has been permanently barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Rogers was registered in the securities industry for seven (7) years, and was registered with the following firm(s):

G.L.S & ASSOCIATES, INC.
CRD #47502
HUNTSVILLE, AL
01/2006 – 01/2013

G.L.S. & ASSOCIATES, INC.
CRD #47502
HUNTSVILLE, AL
01/2006 – 01/2006

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: Broker Investigations.