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Articles Posted in Variable Annuities

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A new report from FINRA finds that some brokers and brokerage firms are not doing due diligence for their customers when it comes to variable annuities, REITs, and private placements.This new report finds that some firms rely heavily on these types of securities, over-concentrating clients in non-traded investments, including sector-specific investments and complex structured notes.A new report from FINRA finds that some brokers and brokerage firms are not doing due diligence for their customers when it comes to illiquid securities such as variable annuities, REITs, and private placements.

This new report finds that some firms rely heavily on these types of securities, over-concentrating clients in non-traded investments, including sector-specific investments and complex structured notes. Continue reading

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How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comSilver Law Group is investigating claims against brokers and financial advisors who committed securities misconduct in The Villages, Florida and the surrounding area.

The Villages is located in Sumter County, Florida. According to FOX Business, The Villages is the fastest-growing city in America. The city, one of the fastest-growing retirement communities, also shares the same name as The Villages retirement community. It’s a Manhattan-sized city “with more golf carts than New York has taxis,” according to a Bloomberg report.

While the elder population and retirement communities have grown relatively crime-free, the senior population is not impervious to other financial threats. For aging seniors and retirees, elder financial fraud remains a potential problem.

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Phillip Andrew Johnson (CRD #501352) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was D.H. Hill Securities, LLLP (CRD #41528) of Kingwood, TX. His previous employers include SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. (CRD #17499) of Nashville, TN, AXA Advisors, LLC (CRD #6627) and The Equitable Life Assurance Society Of The United States (CRD #4039), both of New York, New York. He has been in the industry since 1976.

Winston-Turner-Facing-Allegations-of-Variable-Annuity-Fraud-300x200Johnson is the subject of seven disclosures on his record, four of which are regulatory actions. Five of the disclosures were filed from 04/24/2015 through 06/20/2018. The first disclosure was employment separation.

Two of the disclosures in 2018 are regulatory actions from FINRA, related to the same action.

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The SEC recently published some guidance on variable annuities, an investment contract between an investor and an insurance company.

Winston-Turner-Facing-Allegations-of-Variable-Annuity-Fraud-300x200What It Is

A variable annuity is an investment account purchased from an insurance company that includes different types of insurance features. It can grow on a tax-deferred basis, and you can purchase one with a single payment or with regular “installment-plan” payments.

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Peter Orlando (CRD #1142715) is a former registered broker, last employed with SCF Securities, Inc. (CRD #47275) of Fall River, MA. Previous employers include MetLife Securities (CRD #14251), Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777 and #8209), and Investors Capital Group (CRD #30613) He has been in the industry since 1983. His current employer and employment status is unknown.

Orlando is the subject of a regulatory disciplinary action involving one of his clients. From August through September of 2014, Orlando allegedly obtained control of the financial affairs of an elderly widow (named “DW” in the complaint.) He became the primary beneficiary and executor of her will, with his wife as the contingent beneficiary. He obtained two powers of attorney (POA), one for health and one known as a “durable POA.”

It is against MetLife’s policies for a representative to become involved in a client’s financial affairs, except in the case of family members. There is no indication that the client was also a family member. In addition to a opening a joint account with Orlando, the client also changed her will, closed two bank accounts in favor of the joint one, and gave him two powers of attorney. Orlando never notified the firm that he was acting as her personal representative in her affairs.

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The SEC has shut down a $102 Million Ponzi Scheme that was defrauding investors in several states. The complaint that was filed in federal district court in Manhattan charges Perry Santillo from Rochester, New York, Christopher Parris from Rochester, New York, Paul LaRocco from Ocala, Florida, John Piccarreto from San Antonio, Texas, and Thomas Brenner from Orville, Ohio. These brokers are said to have defrauded over 600 investors through sales of securities in issuers that they controlled including the following: First Nationle Solution LLC, United RL Capital Services, and Percipience Global Corp. If you or someone you know lost their investment by investing with one of these brokers and/or companies, then it is highly recommended to speak to an attorney in order to assess your potential legal options to recover your investment capital.

The SEC Allegations of Fraud

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Melvin Case (CRD# 2393464) has been with LPL Financial in Jacksonville, Florida since 2008. In 2017, he was discharged from the firm in relation to a 2016 felony criminal charge in Duval County Circuit Court. Case pled guilty to exploitation of an aged adult and was sentenced to two years of probation. According to LPL Financial, Case was converting this elderly individual’s funds for his own personal benefit. This guilty plea also led FINRA to bring a regulatory action against Case in January 2018. FINRA found that Case failed to timely disclose his felony charge and guilty plea to the agency; he was suspended for six months and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Case has also been the subject of several customer disputes. In 2017, one of Case’s customers brought a claim alleging Case made misrepresentations and poor recommendations in connection with the customer’s purchase of variable annuities. In another dispute from 2004, a Claimant similarly alleged that Pruco Securities (Case’s former employer) and Case made unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentations in connection with insurance products purchased by the Claimant. That case settled for $100,000, with Case responsible for paying two-thirds of the settlement.

FINRA requires its members to “have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy” is suitable for a customer given their individual needs. FINRA also requires that its members refrain from engaging in fraudulent or deceptive practices with their customers.

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Silver Law Group and The Law Firm of David Chase are reviewing potential claims of fraudulent inducement of federal employees into purchasing high fee paying variable annuity products by LPL Financial LLC (CRD#6413) affiliated brokers Brandon Long (CRD# 5975459) , Christopher S Laws (CRD#4479529) , Johnathan Dax Cooke (CRD#5365691) and Danny Scott Hood (CRD#3236852).

Variable annuities (“VAs”) are highly-complex financial products.  According to FINRA, a good way to think of a VA is as a cross between an insurance product and an investment product.

Like other annuities, a VA is a contract between the investor and an insurance company.  The investor pays the insurer a single payment or a series of payments called premiums.  In exchange for those premiums, the insurer promises to make periodic payments to you either immediately or at some point in the future.

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My Financial Advisor is Giving Me the Runaround on My Investments, What Are My Rights? on silverlaw.comSilver Law Group is investigating former Pennsylvania-based Metlife Securities Inc. (CRD# 14251), also known as MSI Financial Services, Inc., broker Brian P. Murphy (CRD# 2953503) over allegations that he conducted outside business activities without the permission of his firm.

According to Murphy’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, Signator Investors, Inc. (CRD# 468) terminated Murphy after Murphy allegedly admitted to conducting an unapproved, outside business activity.  FINRA barred Murphy in October 2016 after Murphy failed to respond to a FINRA inquiry.

The discharge follows five other disclosures on his BrokerCheck report.  In 2000, Murphy was permitted to resign from his employing firm. In November 2014, Metlife terminated Murphy after he allegedly represented that he had a professional designation that he had not earned.  In December 2015, a customer dispute alleging misrepresentations of variable annuities was settled for the full amount demanded.

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Silver Law Group is investigating former Dallas, Texas-based LPL Financial LLC (CRD# 6413) broker Marcos Yanez (CRD# 5353857) over allegations that Yanez misrepresented certain aspects in the sale of a variable life insurance policy amidst other allegations.

According to Yanez’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, a customer filed a complaint against Yanez in March 2017.  The FINRA arbitration complaint alleges misrepresentations in the sale of a variable life insurance policy, and that Yanez advised the customer to take out a margin loan in order to loan money to the advisor.

LPL Financial employed Yanez from December 2011 to March 2016 at its Dallas, Texas branch.  According to Yanez’s detailed CRD report, Yanez operated under the moniker Staib Wealth Management from February 2014 until the name changed to Silver Sail Wealth Advisors in February 2015.  Yanez is no longer registered with FINRA.

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