For investors who were financially scammed by Kenneth Brownlee, the FINRA arbitration claims process can be used to recover funds against his former employer, Allstate Financial Services LLC. Between October of 2009 and June 2010 Brownlee sold to multiple customers of his interests in a limited liability corporation called City Capital Corporation, a company that was purported to offer investors the opportunity to invest in so called sweepstakes machines (casino like machines). The principal of City Capital Corporation, Ephren W. Taylor II was recently indicted in the Northern District of Georgia In reality, City Capital Corporation was a fraudulent enterprise and customers sustained a complete loss of their investment. This activity is called "selling away" and is a common occurrence in the securities industry that brokerage firms must supervise against. If Allstate failed to reasonably supervise the activities of Ken Brownlee while he was affiliated with the firm (which he worked for from May 2002 through March 2012) then the firm can be held liable for all losses and damages suffered by the client. We encourage victims scammed by Ken Browlee to contact us for a free evaluation by a lawyer as to whether Allstate Financial Services LLC can be successfully sued in the FIRNA arbitration forum or through a lawsuit to recover investment losses in City Capital Corporation.
Friday, October 31, 2014
For clients who lost money with former financial adviser Ricky Eugene Bell, his former employers, including Cape Fear Securities, Morgan Keegan and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, can be held liable for selling away or other related securities fraud losses. Bell was recently booted from the securities industry for engaging in multiple violations of the FINRA Conduct Rules. His bar from the industry was for "engaging in private securities transactions in violation of NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010, receiving unauthorized loans from customers and for failing to provide information and testimony to FINRA. Bell solicited clients to invest in his lending program, sometimes referred to as "HLT Investments." He represented it as a investment reserved for his "select customers" and "close friends" and that investors funds would be pooled together and used to provide high interest loans to small businesses, thereby generating profits for investors. The different firms he was employed with were obligated to reasonably supervise his activities during the time he was affiliated with them. Failure to do so can make the firm liable for all losses sustained by his clients. For a free legal review by a lawyer, please call our securities fraud legal team in Chicago for a no cost, no obligation review as to how Ricky Bell related investment or selling away losses can be recovered.
Did you lose money with Noah L. Meyers, formerly of Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments? If so, Charles Schwab and Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments can be sued to recover these losses for issues related to the supervision of Meyers for his fraudulent cherry picking scheme. From approximately October 2008 to February 2011 Noah Myers, the owner of MiddleCove Capital, LLC, engaged in fraudulent trade allocation – "cherry-picking" – at MiddleCove. Myers executed his cherry-picking scheme by unfairly allocating trades that had appreciated in value during the course of the day to his personal and business accounts and allocating trades that had depreciated in value during the day to the accounts of his advisory clients. He did this by purchasing securities in an omnibus account and delaying allocation of the purchases until later in the day (and sometimes the next day), after he saw whether the securities appreciated in value. When a security appreciated in value on the day of purchase, Myers would often sell the security and disproportionately allocate the purchase and the realized day-trading profit to his own accounts or accounts benefiting himself or his family members. In contrast, for securities that did not appreciate on the day of purchase, Myers would disproportionately allocate these purchases to his clients' accounts and his clients would hold the position for more than one day. Myers carried out his cherry-picking scheme with regard to several securities, but was most active with an inverse and leveraged exchange traded fund (ETF). Myers finally ceased these practices in February 2011 when one of his employees threatened to contact regulators. As a result of his fraud, Myers realized ill- gotten gains of approximately $460,000. Myers's cherry-picking scheme also resulted in more than $2 million in client losses from his trading in the inverse and leveraged ETF. Neither MiddleCove nor Myers disclosed to clients that they were engaged in cherry-picking and that they would favor Myers's accounts in the allocation of appreciated securities. In addition, Myers and MiddleCove failed to follow the policies stated in MiddleCove's ADV concerning trade allocation. People who wish to sue to recover these losses can sue Meyers, Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments and Charles Schwab. To learn about all contingency fee lawsuit options and to get a free review by a lawyer, please call our securities fraud law firm in Chicago and Barrington, Illinois at 312-332-4200.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Clients who invested in American Realty Capital Properties Inc related Real Estate Investment Trusts (listed below) and sustained investment losses can sue the brokerage firm who recommended them. Brokers at INVEST Financial Corp., Investment Centers of America Inc., National Planning Corp. and SII Investments Inc. heavily sold these high commissioned, non traded REITs like Phillips Edison – ARC Grocery Center REIT II and others. The brokerage firms are required to do reasonable due diligence on securities sold to customers. The level of due dilegence has come into question this week. American Realty Capital Properties disclosed on Wednesday that it had replaced its chief financial officer and account officer after the company's senior management learned of accounting errors that reduced its adjusted funds from operations – AFFO – over the first half of this year by close to $23 million. To learn about ALL legal options for suing to recover investment losses through a class action lawsuit or FINRA arbitration claim, please call our securities fraud law firm at 312.332.4200 in Chicago, Illinois for a free legal review. American Energy Capital Partners, LP : American Energy Capital Partners, LP intends to acquire, develop, operate, produce and sell working and other interests in producing and non-producing oil and natural gas properties located onshore in the United States. American Realty Capital Global Trust II, Inc.: A publicly registered, non-traded REIT1 which seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of commercial properties, with an emphasis on sale-leaseback transactions involving single tenant net leased commercial real estate properties. American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust III, Inc.: A publicly registered, non-traded REIT1 which seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of real estate properties, focusing primarily on healthcare-related assets. American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust, Inc.: A publicly registered non-traded REIT which seeks to acquire a diversified portfolio of strategically-located hotel properties throughout North America. ARC Realty Finance Trust, Inc.: A real estate investment trust 1 which seeks to acquire, originate and manage a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate debt investments secured by income-producing properties located primarily within the United States. American Realty Capital-Retail Centers of America, Inc.: A publicly registered, non-traded REIT that will invest in the retail sector, focusing primarily on the acquisition of lifestyle centers, power centers and large needs-based shopping centers. Business Development Corporation of America: A publicly registered, non-traded income and growth investment program that invests in the debt and equity of private U.S. middle market companies.
Thomas Sharp, an ex-Ameriprise Financial broker, was sanctioned by FINRA in July 2014 for sending misleading emails to clients. The emails were regarding non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) relative to the investments and did not provide a sound basis for evaluating facts. Sharp did not disclose the fact that the REIT's largest property owner was experiencing financial difficulties, thereby omitting a clear description of the actual performance of the REIT. Sharp's emails were quoted as saying: [The REIT] "is buying up properties right now where the baby boomers are spending (or going to be spending) their money: ski resorts, golf courses, some retail, local attractions, etc…The properties they already hold are doing well even in this environment because they purchased them for a great price and people are cutting back on their spending. They are also snatching up new properties at bargain prices right now." If you invested in REITs with Thomas Sharp and/or Ameriprise Financial Services, please call our Chicago-based securities law firm at 312-332-4200 to speak with an attorney about how you may be able to recover your losses.
The Alabama Securities Commission is advising investors to be aware of Ebola-related investment scams. Its Director, Joseph Borg stated that nearly 1,200 domains with Ebola in the name have been registered within the past six months, with 1,000 of those being registered within the last three. While the Commission says to not have investigated any of the sites, there is a warning out to investors to beware of the sites because of their propensity for attempting to leverage the crisis of the disease for financial gain. Many of the sites reference the words "fund," "stock," "invest" or "futures." Per past experiences with this sort of world crisis, scammers attempt to use these sorts of sites to lure in investors by promising quick, legitimate gains. The Commission is urging anyone who has come across these sites to contact them to determine if the investments are licensed and registered, which is the only sure way to find out their legitimacy. If you believe you have been scammed by an Ebola-related investment opportunity, please contact our securities law firm in Chicago at 312-332-4200.
LPL has recently come under regulatory scrutiny for sales of variable annuities to its customers. Variable annuities are a lightning rod for regulators because of the complexity of the product and the high surrender fees that can hurt customers--namely the elderly--and because they carry high commissions for advisers and have led to dozens of FIRNA arbitration claims being filed against the firm over the last five years. This summer, the Illinois Securities Department hit the firm with an enforcement action for failing to enforce its supervisory system with respect to variable annuity sales. The Department found the supervisory reviews of variable annuity exchanges "were often incomplete and/or contained inaccurate information" while other reviews were "missing client information." The Department also found LPL failed to verify that client information was correct. In 2010, FINRA fined LPL $175,000 for failing to adequately supervise its advisers when they moved clients out of existing variable annuities into new ones--similar to the charge that Illinois levied. This fall, LPL entered into a consent order with the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to settle allegations LPL engaged in faulty variable annuity switches. LPL neither admitted nor denied the Massachusetts Secretary of State's allegations; yet, LPL agreed to reimburse $550,000 stemming from 157 transactions, all involving persons 65 or older at the time of the transaction and living in Massachusetts. Below we discuss suing Linsco for variable annuity losses. If you'd like a free review by an attorney as to how these losses can be recovered on a contingency fee basis, please call us in Chicago, Illinois at 312.332.4200 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9iRBolQ0QA
Investors who had their account churned at Wells Fargo can sue the firm to recover the losses sustained or the commissions charged. With the stock market at record high, we have seen a surge in churning claims against brokers and brokerage firms. There are multiple different definitions of churning depending on what state an investor lives in. Some states define churning in the context of excessive trading (See Illinois Securities Law of 1953, Regulation 103.850). A common definition of churning, however, is when a broker or advisor overtrades the securities in a customer's account for the purpose of generating commissions. Churning is a synonym for over-trading where the stockbroker advances his or her interests over the interests of the client (for a more elaborate view of churning claims in general, please see the following link: http://www.canisuemybroker.com/2007/12/recovering-losses-from-churning-or.html). Clients of Wells Fargo who had their account churned can recover those losses through the FIRNA arbitration claims process. We represent churning fraud victims on a contingency fee basis. To learn more, please check out the video below and call us for a free review by an attorney. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5bJ5OJyY3k
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Did you lose money with Steven M. Wyatt, formerly of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney of Ridgeland, Missouri? If so, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney could be responsible for paying those losses back to investors. Wyatt has seven customer complaints on his CRD. Numerous complaints led to compensation being paid to investors. For example, a customer was awarded $387,856 by a FIRNA arbitration panel for claims related to unsuitable investment recommendations, excessive trading, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Steven Wyatt was terminated from Morgan Stanley in June of 2012 due to allegations relating to participating and soliciting unapproved outside business investments. If you lost money with Steven M. Wyatt, the FIRNA arbitration process can be used to potentially recover some, or all, of these investment losses. Please call our law firm in Chicago for more information.
For investors who lost money investing with Leonard A. Mcabee, National Securities Corproration could be held liable for those losses. McAbee is currently associated with National Securities Corporation/Navisis Financial and previously worked for Barron Chase Securities, H.J. Meyers and Merrill Lynch. According to his CRD report, McAbee has one customer complaint, a termination, and a judgement/lien on his record. The customer complaint alleged $400,000 in damages for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, suitability and churning. He also filed for bankruptcy in 2005. If you lost money with McAbee, please call our securities arbitration law firm in Chicago and Barrington, Illinois for a no cost review by an attorney as to whether those investment losses can be recovered.