A National Securities Arbitration & Investment Fraud Law Firm

Facebook IconTwitter IconLinkedIn IconJustia IconFeed Icon

Articles Posted in Recent Investigations

Published on:

Churning-1024x683-300x200The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Emil Botvinnik of taking $3.7 million in a fraudulent scheme involving excessive, high-frequency trading. On November 7, 2018, he asked a New York federal judge to toss the suit because he claimed its allegations do not meet the pleading standard for fraud.

The claims against Botvinnik state that he wrongfully used his clients’ accounts while he was employed at Meyers Associates LP. However, Botvinnik denies these claims and he stated that there are no specific allegations that proves his clients were the type of unsophisticated investors who would not benefit from high-frequency trading. He also stated that his clients may only have been simply unaware of the trading strategy and its risks.

The SEC said that from June 2012 until November 2014, Botvinnik solicited five customers to open securities trading accounts for which he claimed he would employ a profitable trading strategy. He then implemented the strategy of frequent, short-term trades that forced significant costs and commissions on the investors. For example, the accounts would have had to reach an annual return of between 31 and 150 percent just to pay off the transaction costs that built up from the trading strategy. This type of trading is frequently referred to as churning.

Published on:

After the state of Massachusetts began an investigation into 63 brokers selling private placements into GPB after the company stopped selling them, The SEC and FINRA have followed suit. Both agencies have launched their own investigations into the company and its practices.

The SEC Has Proposed New Regulations for Fiduciaries on silverlaw.comGPB announced in August that they would cease finding new investment money in order to focus on compliance and straightening out their accounting and financial statements for their two biggest funds. The SEC is, according to one executive, interested in seeing how accurate GPB’s disclosures are that were given to investors. The SEC also wants to review fund performances and distribution of the company’s capital to their investors, as well as broker-dealers who sold these private placements to investors.

Launched in 2013, GPB Capital became one of the fastest growing private placement firms selling shares of their funds through independent broker-dealers. Promoting themselves as offerors of alternative investment assets, New York-based GPB uses the business model of “acquiring income-producing private companies,” primarily auto dealerships. The company has raised $1.8 billion of investor funds.

Published on:

Robert Edward White (CRD #3077959) is a former registered broker whose last employer was Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (CRD #6694) of East Hampton, NY. His previous employer was 1st Global Capital Corp. (CRD #30349) of Dallas, TX. No current employment information is available. He has been in the industry since 1998.

https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Broker-Sylvester-King-Jr.-Resigns-from-Wells-Fargo-Advisors-LLC-Concurrent-with-FINRA-Suspension1-300x200.jpgWhite was discharged from the Raymond James Financial Services on 4/3/2017 after it was discovered he had accepted cash gifts from a customer, and failed to disclose the gift to the firm. The firm’s policies prohibited registered representatives from accepting gifts over $100 per year from the firm’s customers. White accepted a total of $58,000 from a single firm customer, after certifying that he understood the policies on annual compliance questionnaires.

After an investigation, FINRA suspended White on 8/10/2018 for four months, effective 8/20/2018. White was also fined $10,000, and signed an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) letter, agreeing to all sanctions. His suspension is scheduled to end on 12/19/2018. It is generally against a brokerage firm’s rules for a financial advisor to borrow money from a customer or otherwise accept cash gifts.

Published on:

Mitchell Alan Kurtz (CRD #2437746) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Henley & Company LLC (CRD #131453) of Roslyn Heights, NY. His previous employers are Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (CRD #6694), also of Roslyn Heights, and Advest, Inc. (CRD #10) of Hartford, CT. He has been in the industry since 1994.

FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Barry-Hartman-From-Securities-Activity-for-Alleged-“Selling-Away”-Activities-300x209FINRA recently barred Kurtz “indefinitely,” effective 12/3/2018, after he declined to provide information requested in conjunction with an investigation. He is barred from any association with a FINRA member firm, and signed an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) letter agreeing to the sanctions.

The investigation came after Kurtz was discharged from his last employer, Henley & Company on 7/30/2018. Kurtz violated both FINRA and SEC policies with regards to “outside business activities, selling away, fiduciary duty obligations, violation of professional standards and the Firm’s Code of Ethics.” This discharge led to the FINRA investigation, in which he declined to participate.

Published on:

Daniel Noah Winger (CRD #1542674) is a former registered broker whose last employer was PFS Investments Inc. (CRD #10111) of Federal Way, WA. No current employment information is available. He began in the industry in 1986.

Three Individuals Charged by the SEC for Defrauding Elderly Clients on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comWinger was discharged by PFS on 8/10/2018 after a customer alleged that he took checks from her and deposited them into his personal bank account.

A subsequent FINRA investigation dated 8/28/2018 found that the elderly customer gave him checks made out to “Dan Winger & Associates,” totaling $100,000. The customer was under the impression that the funds would be used for her benefit, including paying any commissions associated with her brokerage account, and for taxes that became due. However, Winger deposited those checks into his own bank account. Winger then spent the monies for his own personal use.

Published on:

Broker Peter Ivan Michael Shusterman (CRD #1460819) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently registered with Sagepoint Financial (CRD #133763) of San Diego, CA. His previous employers include Sentra Securities Corporation (CRD #10249) of Phoenix, AZ, Linsco/Private Ledger Corp. (CRD #6413) of Boston, MA and First Investors Corporation (CRD #305). He has been in the industry since 1986.

How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comShusterman’s most recent customer dispute was filed on 5/9/2018, alleging that Shusterman sold an investment that was not authorized during a liquidation. Based on the firm’s investigation, this claim was denied. Shusterman denied the allegation.

Previously, two customers filed a dispute on 9/5/2014 against Shusterman and Sagepoint alleging “suitability/misrepresentation/breach of fiduciary duty” on their part. The clients requested damages of $500,000, and the firm settled for $260,000. Shusterman denies the allegations, and was not a party to either the mediation or the settlement.

Published on:

Alex Gerardo Herrera (CRD #3204779) is a former registered broker and investment representative whose last employer was UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD #8174) of Coral Gables, FL. His previous employers include HSBC Securities (USA) INC. (CRD #19585), also of Coral Gables, Atlas One Financial Group, LLC (CRD #124057) of Miami, FL, and Citicorp Investment Services (CRD #23988) of Long Island City, NY. No current employment information is available. He has been in the industry since 1999.

Herrera is the subject of three disclosures, with the most recent filed on 8/08/2018, a FINRA disciplinary action and Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) form in relation to his employment with UBS Financial Services. The investigation was focused on his voluntary termination “while under review after advising management he had engaged in financial and real estate relationships with longstanding clients without prior approval.” FINRA requested information from Herrera in letters dated May 17, 2018 and June 6, 2018 in relation to the allegations.

Stephen-Grivas-Permanently-Barred-by-FINRA-300x210Through his legal counsel, Herrera indicated to FINRA that he declined to provide the requested information to them. On 7/23/2018, without admitting or denying the findings, Herrera signed the AWC letter, accepting sanctions. In the letter, FINRA indefinitely barred Herrera in all capacities.

Published on:

Shakela Yashika Carter (CRD #4321231) is a former registered broker and investment advisor who was last employed with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD #7691) of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Before becoming licensed, she was employed with Bank of America and Capital Strategies, also of Fort Lauderdale. She started in the industry in 2000, becoming a licensed broker in 2009. No current employment information is available, and she is not currently affiliated with any FINRA member firm.

Older Americans Face Exploitation and Financial Abuse in Record Numbers on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comCarter voluntarily resigned from Merrill Lynch on 2/8/2016, after she was under internal review by the firm for “fraud, wrongful taking of property, or violating investment-related statutes, regulations, rules or industry standards of conduct.” An amended Form U5 added that Carter had participated in outside business activities with a client or clients. Subsequent amended forms indicated that Carter assisted a client with an outside credit agreement and an outside investment arrangement with due diligence.

FINRA’s Enforcement division began an investigation on June of 2016 into the allegations against Carter. FINRA requested on-the-record testimony from Carter in regards to the investigation, and sent multiple notifications to her last known address of record. On 11/29/2017, Carter emailed FINRA staff and notified them that she was no longer interested in working in the industry, and would not testify at any time. She then failed to appear on December 20, 2017 or on January 8, 2018 as requested to provide testimony.

Published on:

In August 2016, FINRA filed a formal complaint against a broker, Hank Mark Werner of Northport, NY, for churning the account of his customer, a 77-year-old blind widow, and for excessive and unsuitable trading on her account. His actions, which allegedly span a three-year period, resulted in his receiving more than $243,000 in commission, which caused his client a net loss of approximately $184,000.

Contact Information