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Articles Posted in Churning

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Recently, we told you about broker Thomas Kelly (CRD #2877415) whose disclosure include customer disputes that total over $1M in damages. Recently, another customer filed a dispute for another $500,000. He is currently employed with Aegis Capital (CRD #15007) of New York, NY.

Securities Arbitration Claims Against National Securities Corp. on silverlaw.comThe claim, filed on 11/1/2018, alleges “suitability, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty & negligence,” along with the request of $500,000 in damages. This new case is currently “pending,” and no other information is available.

Our securities arbitration attorneys represent victims of cold calls, excessive trading, churning and unsuitability.  National Securities Corp. is the subject of multiple arbitration claims for unsuitable investments and claims including private placements.

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Paul Robert DiPietro (CRD #4313454) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Dawson James Securities, Inc. (CRD #130645), of Boca Raton, FL. His previous employers include Investors Capital Corp. (CRD #30613) and Chicago Investment Group, LLC (CRD #11853, expelled by FINRA on 9/14/2010), also of Boca Raton. He has been in the business since 2000.

Churning-Other-Allegations-Made-Against-Broker-Michael-Doyle-300x200DiPietro is the subject of a current customer dispute in which is alleged to have engaged in churning. Filed on 4/30/2018, the client alleges that “his account was churned and placed in unsuitable securities by the representatives at Dawson James and Spartan. January 2015 through September 2015.” The client is requesting damages of $100,000. DiPietro denies wrongdoing in this action. The claim is currently pending.

There are seven previous customer dispute allegations filed against DiPietro, either withdrawn, denied or settled. The two most recent were filed on 12/1/2014, with identical allegations of “rep failed to follow instructions by not executing orders as instructed which caused the customer losses because of the decline of the stock price.”  The first claim requested damages of $126,105.24, and the second one $115,010.81. DiPietro strenuously denied the allegations during the firm’s investigation. The claims were both withdrawn, one on 4/24/2015, the other on 4/25/2015.

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Cory Bataan (CRD #2755223) has been employed with Emoire Asset Management Company since April 2008. Previous employment includes Empire Asset Management Company from April 2008 to August 2012, Ameritas Investment Corp. from December 2007 to April 2008 and Joseph Stevens & Company, Inc. from October 1996 to July 2001.

According to the FINRA BrokerCheck, there have been complaints against Mr Bataan.

Churning-Other-Allegations-Made-Against-Broker-Michael-Doyle-300x200In 2015, while employed by Aegis Capital Corp., Claimant alleges unsuitable recommendations and excessive fees & commissions.  Complaint was settled for $25,000.00.

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John Maloney (CRD #726108) has been employed by Woodbury Financial Services Inc. since June 2016. Maloney was previously employed by Edward Jones from January 1981 to June 2016.

According to the FINRA BrokerCheck, there have been several complaints against Mr. Maloney.

Timothy-DiBlasi-Under-FINRA-Scrutiny-for-Lack-of-Compliance-Supervision-300x200 In 2016 Claimants allege Mr. Maloney’s recommendations to purchase individual equities were unsuitable. The complaint settled for $132,500.

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FINRA Reports Brokers Nas Adel Allan and Gregory Anastos Made Unsuitable Recommendations on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comSilver Law Group represented the Claimant in a FINRA arbitration claim against Texas E&P Partner, Inc. and Mark Plummer.  Scott Silver, managing partner of Silver Law Group, a leading securities and investment fraud law firm, said “the Award is significant because we have seen a rise in cases involving private placements and alternative investments and we are grateful that the FINRA Panel recognized the damage caused by Respondent.

The securities arbitration claim alleged that Respondents sold a Reg D private placement to the Claimant without disclosing all of the risks and the investment was unsuitable.  The FINRA Statement of Claim further alleged that the Respondents charged excess commissions or markups.  Significantly, the FINRA Arbitration Panel found that Respondents are jointly and severally liable for and shall pay to Claimant the sum of $1,000,000.00 in punitive damages pursuant to Mastrobuono v. Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc., 514 U.S. 52, 64 (1995).

If you’ve lost money investing in unsuitable private placements or Reg “D” offerings, you may be able to recover your investment losses. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we recover. Please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or toll free at (800) 975-4345.

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iStock-476534078-300x231OptionSellers.Com, operated by James Cordier and Michael Gross, promoted themselves as expert options traders able to manage money for retail investors promising they can produce consistent returns with limited risk.  From offices in Tampa, Florida, Cordier and Gross touted their book “The Complete Guide to Options Selling” claiming to know “how selling options can lead to stellar returns in bull and bear markets.”

Now, OptionSellers.Com website has gone dark, and INTL FCStone, the commodities firm which maintained the customer accounts and managed the risk for loans and margin, claims that many investors owes them millions of dollars.  Investors are wondering how INTL FCStone and OptionSellers.Com lost all the money.

While money was lost on naked options, investors allege that either OptionSellers.Com or INTL FCStone failed:

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Silver Law Group has filed a FINRA arbitration claim against Portfolio Advisors Alliance, LLC after its brokers excessively traded (churned) the Claimant’s account.

The securities arbitration claim alleges the Claimant met his initial Portfolio Advisors Alliance broker in 2013 at another brokerage firm: FINRA-barred firm John Thomas Financial. The Claimant initially opened his accounts with a modest sum of money and gave the broker a chance to make money for him as he promised. The broker proceeded to convince the Claimant to utilize margin in order to increase his profits, according to the FINRA arbitration claim, and deposit additional funds to satisfy margin calls.

Unfortunately for Claimant, the broker allegedly proceeded to churn the account, repeatedly buying and selling four (4) different stocks, including several high-risk and speculative pharmaceutical investments. When the broker resigned, another broker took over the accounts without the Claimant’s knowledge and proceeded with the same “investment strategy” of making unauthorized transactions and churning the account, according to the securities arbitration claim.

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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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Investment Center Broker Accused of Stealing $300K from Elderly Client on silverlaw.comLeon Vaccarelli allegedly defrauded a total of nine clients out of more than $1 million

In May, former financial advisor Leon Vaccarelli was charged with 12 counts of fraud and money laundering in a federal court in Connecticut. If convicted on all of them, he could receive a maximum penalty of 210 years in prison. After pleading not guilty, Vaccarelli was released on a $100,000 bond.

Vaccarelli is alleged to have stolen money from several clients between 2011 and 2017. During that time, he reportedly informed his clients that their money would be invested in different places, including money market accounts and retirement products. What Vaccarelli actually did, according to investigators, was put the money into his own account and use it to pay his own expenses. In addition, federal prosecutors also say that he also used client money to make interest payments to other investors.

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