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Articles Posted in sales practice violations

FINRA recently fined LPL Financial (CRD #6413) for failing to disclose customer complaints and for failures in the firm’s anti-money laundering (AML) program.

David-Levy-of-Titus-Rockefeller-LLC-Permanently-Barred-from-Broker-Activity-After-Long-Career-of-Suspicious-Activity-300x200A misunderstanding with FINRA’s rule caused LPL to ignore dozens of customer complaints. The firm incorrectly failed to file and/or update registered representatives U4 or U5 forms to disclose dozens of reportable customer complaints that should have been filed. These claims requested compensatory damages of $5,000 or more. A representative for FINRA stated, “LPL incorrectly construed this phrase to mean that the firm was not required to report any complaint that did not expressly request compensation, even when the customer alleged a sales practice violation that caused a loss of $5,000 or more, and the complaint, when viewed as a whole, made clear that the customer was seeking compensation.”   LPL has been the subject of multiple customer complaints frequently filed as securities arbitration claims, claiming significant damages.

LPL also failed to file suspicious activity reports related to its AML program. Because of inaccurate guidance in the firm’s internal processes, including a “fraud case chart,” employees failed to investigate unauthorized attempts to access customer accounts. More than 400 “hacking” attempts of customer accounts went unreported.

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.

In August, we told you about former broker Sean Brady (CRD #4365173) who was recently barred by FINRA and discharged by his employer, First Allied Securities, Inc. (CRD #32444) of St. Louis, MO.

Allegations-of-Sales-Practice-Violations-Cloud-Broker-Kenneth-Dlouhy-‘s-Record-300x200Since our last report, eight more customer disputes were recently filed against Brady, between 6/28/2018 and 07/03/2018. All these cases are pending, and the total of requested damages is an eye-watering $12,575,730.49.

Like the previous disclosures, these clients allege that Brady used the same practices, including:

Dexter Leroy Thomas (CRD #1074222) is a formerly registered broker and investment advisor who was last employed with United Planners’ Financial Services Of America A Limited Partner (CRD #20804) of Dallas, TX. His previous employers include LPL Financial LLC (CRD #6413), National Planning Corporation (CRD #29604) and Invest Financial Corporation (CRD #12984), all of Dallas.  He began in the industry in 1983, and passed away on August 4, 2018.

FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Barry-Hartman-From-Securities-Activity-for-Alleged-“Selling-Away”-Activities-300x209Two days before his death, United Planners discharged Thomas after he revealed to the firm that he had engaged in “selling away,” privately borrowing money and making investment arrangements with several individuals outside of the firm’s auspices. Many of these individuals later became customers of United Planners. Thomas revealed that he conducted these transactions without notifying the firm, and the firm promptly terminated his employment.

The first of a total of fifteen claims was filed on 7/31/2018, just two days before his discharge from United Planners. The last claim was filed on 9/23/2018. These claims alleged either “unsuitable investments” or detailing monies borrowed but not returned without the firm’s knowledge or approval. Of the fifteen claims listed in BrokerCheck, eight request financial damages from $22,000 to $8.1 million, for a total of $9,260,000. These claims are all listed as “pending.”

George Mathis (CRD #4271854) has been employed with Raymond James & Associates since November 2011. Previous employment included Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC from January 2008 to November 2011, Wachovia Securities, LLC from January 2008 to May 2009 and A. G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. from November 2000 to January 2008.

According to the FINRA BrokerCheck, there have been complaints against George Mathis.

Allegations-of-Sales-Practice-Violations-Cloud-Broker-Kenneth-Dlouhy-‘s-Record-300x200In 2016 while employed by Raymond James & associates, Inc., Client alleges unsuitably, misrepresentation, omissions, breach of fiduciary duty, violations of NASD Conducts Rule 301(A), Conduct Rule 2010, FINRA Conduct Rule 2010, FINRA Rule 2111, Negligence, and breach of contract and vicarious liability. The activity date is 9/03/2013 through 1/28/2016. The complaint settled for $70,000.00.

Frank Howard Zito (CRD #2766336) is a former registered broker and investment advisor. He was most recently registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD #7691) of Ridgeland, MS. He was previously registered with Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. (CRD #4161) and Amsouth Investment Services, Inc. (CRD #15692), both of Jackson, MS. He began in the industry in 1996.

Former-New-York-Life-Broker-Jonathan-Williams-Barred-by-FINRA-as-a-Result-of-Outside-Business-Activities-300x200Zito is the subject of three disclosures. He was discharged by Merrill Lynch on 6/25/2018 for “Conduct including failure to adhere to Firm standards regarding selling away and failure to fully disclose participation in an outside business activity.”  (“Selling away” is when a broker sells securities that are not being offered by the brokerage firm they are working for. This is a violation of securities regulations.)

The discharge follows a customer dispute filed on 5/18/2018 with allegations of selling away, as well as unsuitable investment recommendations from 2013 until January 2018. The customer is requesting damages of $571,000.00. This dispute is currently pending.

Timary Delorme (CRD #736418) was the subject of a March 2018 regulatory action by the Securities & Exchange Commission. Delorme was employed at the Los Angeles branch of Wedbush Morgan for over 40 years.

In the recent regulatory action, the SEC found that Delorme violated federal securities laws stemming from her involvement in a manipulative trading scheme at Wedbush Morgan. The SEC ordered Delorme to cease and desist from further violating any more federal securities laws as well as barred her from association with any securities broker or investment adviser.

Delorme has also been the subject of a recent FINRA customer dispute alleging $250,000 in damages. In the pending dispute, the Claimant alleges fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract on the part of Delorme. In a past dispute from 2012, a Claimant alleged that Delorme engaged in fraud, deceit, material misrepresentation, and extortion, among other claims, in connection with the Claimant’s account. The Claimant alleged $750,000 in damages as a result of Delorme’s misconduct.

Silver Law Group is investigating investor claims for possible securities laws violations of LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (Stock Symbol: LJMIX).

The LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (“LJMIX”) is a mutual fund that is marketed and sold with the investment goal of preserving capital even in down markets.  The mutual fund, allegedly, attempts to preserve its investors’ capital by using put option spreads as a form of mitigation risk.

The once-$800 million fund lost more than 80 percent of its value between February 2-7, 2018. On February 8, 2018, LJMIX announced that it would not be accepting new investments into the mutual fund.  According to a letter published by the mutual fund, LJMIX liquidated all its open positions and the mutual fund currently only holds cash.

Giovanni Acevedo, of Voya Financial Advisors, Inc., Accused of Converting Funds by silverlaw.com

Disciplinary action pending against Wilton Manors, FL financial advisor

Giovanni Acevedo could be facing disciplinary action from FINRA after a complaint that he allegedly converted more than $160,000 in customer funds. According to the report, he allegedly told a customer he would invest a $68,000 check she wrote to the company according to her instructions. He allegedly told her to leave 21 blank signed checks with him, resulting in a total of $145,848.42 converted to what is purported to be his own personal account or one of which he is a beneficiary, according to FINRA.

The official complaint, which was filed on April 8, asks that upon the conclusion that the allegations are proven as fact Acevedo be subject to sanctions according to FINRA Rule 8310, namely disgorgement, but the FINRA manual also allows for suspension or expulsion of a member’s registration.

David Lawrence Gabai, of West Hills, California, submitted a FINRA AWC in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.  Gabai was registered with LPL Financial Corporation until 2010.  Mr. Gabai then briefly worked for Comerica Securities.  Gabai consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he held significant quantities of shares in a security in his personal brokerage accounts, and used deceptive, fraudulent, and manipulative devices and schemes involving the trading of the security. The findings stated that through the use of his personal and other brokerage accounts, Gabai engaged in pre-arranged trading and wash sales, in an attempt to create a false or misleading appearance of active trading relating to the market for the security and pump up the price of the security. Among other things, Gabai’s misconduct enabled him to avoid margin calls in his personal brokerage accounts avoiding sales of the stock. Gabai effected trades that set the closing and opening price of the security. In some of these instances, Gabai and another registered representative effected matched trades between the brokerage accounts of Gabai’s customers and the brokerage accounts of the other registered representative’s customers to give the appearance of a more active market. The matched orders were typically effected at prices that were equal to or higher than the prior trade price for the shares pushing the price higher.

The findings also included that Gabai effected pairs of wash trades in the security that took place within his personal brokerage accounts or between his personal brokerage accounts.  The wash trades did not involve any change in beneficial ownership and Gabai effected them to create a false or misleading appearance of active trading relating to the market for the security and to manipulate the security’s price. As a result of his conduct, Gabai willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  Gabai also caused the publication or circulation of reports of non-bona fide purchases or sales of the security. (FINRA Case #2009017402501)

If you invested money with David Lawrence Gabai, you may be entitled to recover some of you investment losses. Please call our securities law firm toll free at (800) 975-4345 to speak to an attorney to find out how we may be able to help you recover some of your investment losses.

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