A National Securities Arbitration & Investment Fraud Law Firm

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Securities Arbitration Attorneys Our FINRA arbitration lawyers work with investors to recover losses caused by securities fraud, investment fraud, and other kinds of stockbroker misconduct.
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Marco Bartolo Azizi (CRD #2154719) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (CRD #30833) of San Jose, CA. His previous employers include Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (CRD #34643) and J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (CRD #43177), also of San Jose, CA, and Global Capital Securities Corporation (CRD #16184) of Englewood, CO. He has been in the industry since 1991.

Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224-300x224Silver Law Group is investigating the sale of American Finance Trust, Inc. (AFIN) and other illiquid investments by Centaurus Financial and several advisors including Marco Azizi.  American Finance Trust (AFIN) was sold as a private REIT to many investors at $25 a share.  After AFIN became publicly traded, the price dropped dramatically and currently trades at about $15 a share.

Azizi has two disclosures, both customer disputes filed in 2006, both with allegations of “unsuitability.” The financial products in question were Calpine Bonds. The most recent dispute was filed 3/7/2006, and requested damages of $33,199.54. The first dispute was filed 01/05/2006, with requested damages of $64,005.00. Both claims were denied.

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Kyusun Kim (CRD #2864085) is a registered investment advisor and previously registered broker, last employed and registered with Sandlapper Securities, LLC, of San Diego, CA. (He is also known as “Kyu Sun Kim” or “Kenny Kim.”) Kim’s previous employers include Independent Financial Group, LLC (CRD #7717), Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (CRD #3978), both also of San Diego, and The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (CRD #2580) of Fort Wayne, IN. He began in the industry in 1997.

Kim is the subject of 23 customer disputes dating back to 2007. One dispute was denied; nine are pending, and the remaining thirteen are settled, with one settlement rescinded. The total for Kim’s twelve settled cases is $2,995,443. His nine pending complaints include requested damages totaling $2,950,000.

New Jersey Broker Richard Grant Cody May Be Facing Serious Penalties on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comBetween 2008 and 2015, Kim was accused of soliciting the business of individuals who were retired or near retirement age, and recommended that they liquidate their pension plans and 401(k) to invest with him in so-called “alternative investments,” including things like non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs.) Many of these customers had little or no investment experience, and were unfamiliar with these types of securities. The higher risk involved made them inconsistent with the more conservative objectives. Kim failed to disclose the extra risk involved in many of these securities, and most suffered substantial financial losses.

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Murphy’s-Misconduct-1024x1024-300x300The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that the agency has awarded two more individuals funds totaling $54 million under the SEC’s Whistleblower Program.

The first individual was awarded $39 million, and the second was awarded $15 million. Both offered information and assistance that resulted in enforcement actions. The $39 million award is the second largest award in the program’s history.

After voluntarily providing the SEC with “original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action,” individuals may be eligible for monetary awards. For sanctions exceeding $1 million, whistleblowers may be awarded as much as 10% to 30%. Whistleblowers are a great help to an investigation, and can supply valuable information that might not otherwise be available.

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https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Honetta-C.-Kao-After-Allegations-of-Unauthorized-Trading-and-Mishandled-Accounts-300x200.jpgThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) filed orders today that brought and settled cases against two commodities firms engaged in unauthorized trading and two traders attempting to manipulate commodity prices.

In the first case, Iowa-based Kooima & Kaemingk Commodities, Inc. (K&K), Lauren Kaemingk (Kaemingk), and Bradley Kooima (Kooima) were charged with:

  • Fraud
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South Florida businessman Barry Honig of Boca Raton is one of several people named by the SEC in a microcap stock fraud indictment involving manipulation of stock values of three companies. Using a “classic pump-and-dump” technique, the SEC alleges, Honig and others increased the companies’ stock values and dumped them. Investors were left with deflated stock after the scheme was discovered.

The Woodbridge Group of Companies is Under Investigation by the SEC on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comThe SEC is seeking civil relief penalties and disgorgement of the ill-gotten gains against the defendants and the companies.

The Scheme

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Jovannie Aquino (CRD #4876661, aka John Aquino) is a former registered broker of New York, NY. Previous employers include Windsor Street Capital (CRD #34171), also in New York City, John Carris Investments LLC (CRD #145767), John Thomas Financial (CRD #40982) and Hallmark Investments, Inc. (CRD #135003) of New York City.

Aquino has worked for a total of 12 brokerages, holds Series 7 and 63 licenses and began working in the industry in 2004. Aquino has two LinkedIn pages that do appear to be updated, and no current employment information is available.

SEC Announces Charges in Massive Telemarketing Boiler Room Scheme Targeting Seniors on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comOn September 7, 2018, the SEC charged Aquino with defrauding customers by engaging in “churning” to generate excessive commissions for himself, in the amount of $930,000. Aquino’s customers lost a total of $881,000. At the time of these allegations, May 2014 through November 2017, Aquino was registered with Meyers Associates, L.P. (now known as Windsor Street Capital.) The SEC complaint also states that in 2015 and 2016, Aquino and an unnamed colleague engaged in cold-calling leads acquired from a publicly available database.

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If you watch your brokerage account regularly, you’ll see the various trades and charges that go along with them. But if you’re seeing transactions that you don’t recall authorizing, and you’re spending a lot more money for fees, commissions and other related charges, it’s time to ask questions. Our South Florida FINRA arbitration attorneys can answer those questions.

David-Sullivan-Accused-of-Excessive-Trading-on-More-Than-One-Occasion-300x200Broker Emil Bottvinnik (CRD #4359481) has been charged by the SEC with doing just that very thing. On September 7, 2018, the SEC charged Botvinnik with excessive trading and “churning,” or frequent, short-term trading. This kind of quick-turnover trading paid more in commissions that a client would make from his or her investment.

The SEC alleges that Bottvinnik opened accounts for at least five individuals, and concealed information about what they would be charged for these frequent tradings. Many of these customers were at or near retirement age, and lost $2.8 million for his clients while making commissions of $3.7 million in “ill-gotten gains.” These tradings are alleged to have taken place while was employed with Meyers Associates L.P. in Miami Beach, Florida, from 06/19/2012 through 11/17/2014. Meyers Associates was expelled by FINRA on 5/29/2018.

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Des Moines-based broker Voya Financial Advisors (VFA) has been fined $1 million in a cybersecurity case that’s the first under the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. VFA has agreed to pay the fines in relation to a case that saw their systems compromised and the personal information of thousands of the firm’s customers at risk.

sec-300x198The SEC announced this week that it has charged VFA with violating the Safeguards Rule and the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. These rules were designed to protect customers from cyberattack activity, and protect customers and their confidential information.

In April 2016, over a six-day period, one or more individuals posing as an independent contractor called VFA’s technical support number to request portal password resets for three representatives. Two of those calls came from phone numbers that were used in previous fraudulent activities. Technical support personnel not only reset these passwords but provided the usernames as well.

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Karl Ronald Foust, Jr. (CRD #1010291) is a formerly registered broker and investment advisor who was last registered with H.D. Vest Investment Services (CRD #13686) of Boca Raton, FL. His previous employers include Gunnallen Financial, Inc. (CRD #17609) of Delray Beach, FL, Thomas James Associates, Inc. (CRD #15609) and Apple Financial Corporation (CRD #10375). No current employment information is available. He has been in the industry since 1981.

Richard-Gomez-Allegedly-Involved-With-Fraudulent-Company-1024x681-300x200Foust currently has seven disclosures on his record, all customer disputes, one of which was closed without action. These customer disputes were all filed in the period between June 2017 and July 2018.

All of these disputes (including the closed case) are currently listed as “pending.” The common thread through each of these claims is Foust’s recommendations of the client’s investments in Wimbledon Health Partners, LLC, and failing to disclose his own involvement with the firm, a conflict of interest. Payments promised were not made to clients, and total damages of these claims comes to $1,198483.34.

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According to FINRA Disciplinary actions for September 2018, the following individuals were barred from FINRA and cannot currently work for a FINRA brokerage firm for failing to provide FINRA with information it requested or to keep information current with FINRA pursuant to FINRA rules:

NAME

FORMER EMPLOYERS

  Mona Ali   JP Morgan Securities LLC
  JP Morgan Chase Bank
  Bobbie Jo Besler   Farmers Financial Solutions
  State Farm VP Mgmt Corp
  Jeffrey Cederberg   Primex
  Capwest Securities, Inc
  Vincente Davila   Morgan Stanley
  Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.
  Alan Garett   Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC
  Ramon Herrera   Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC
  Mandee Khu   JP Morgan Securities LLC
  Chase Investment Services Corp
  John Maccoll   UBS Financial Services Inc
  Morgan Stanley DW Inc.
  Felipe Munive   Allstate Financial Services, LLC
  Gordan Nitka   MML Investor Services, LLC
  MassMutual Life Insurance Co
  Daniel Ochao   Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC
  George Oldoerp   H Beck, Inc.
  Diversified Securities, Inc
  Mary Olsen
  Paul Prestia   Laidlaw & Company LTD
  Network 1 Financial Securities Inc.
  David Taylor   Lincoln Financial Securities Corp
  Christopher Threet   JP Morgan Securities LLC
  Capital One Bank

FINRA makes this information available, in part, to inform investors about potential red flags or problems with certain stockbrokers.  If you invested with anyone in this report and have questions about your legal rights, our attorneys will talk with you at no cost to explain your legal rights and about how we can help recover your investment losses through securities arbitration or litigation.

Silver Law Group represents investors in securities and investment fraud cases through FINRA arbitration or court.  Our lawyers are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide in securities arbitration to help recover investment losses due to stockbroker misconduct.  If you have any questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

 

 

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