A National Securities Arbitration & Investment Fraud Law Firm

$70 MILLION Recovery for Investment Fraud
$44 MILLION Recovery for Ponzi Scheme Victims
$25 MILLION Recovery Against National Brokerage Firm
$9.1 MILLION FINRA Arbitration Award Against Brokerage Firm
$7.9 MILLION Securities Arbitration Award Against Stockbroker
$1 MILLION Securities Arbitration Award for Elder Financial Fraud
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According to FINRA Disciplinary actions for March 2022, 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
  Kameise Bickham
  John Boatright   Newbridge Securities Corporation
  Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.
  Keri Fazio   MML Investors Services, LLC
  Austin Fox   Cetera Investment Services LLC
  Corecap Investments, Inc.
  Melissa Gilcrease   Allstate Financial Services, LLC
  Bethany Hewett   Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC
  Xinwo Li   Pruco Securities, LLC
  Ronald Molo   Edward Jones
  Marcus Moon   NYLife Securities LLC
  Robert Paterson   Truist Investment Services, Inc.
  BB&T Securities, LLC
  Lisa Robinson   J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
  Nathaniel Robinson   J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
  Herbert Weith IV   Equitable Advisors, LLC
  Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC

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According to FINRA Disciplinary actions for March 2022, the following individuals were suspended 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. However, these individuals remain bound by the securities arbitration agreement to arbitrate any disputes between themselves and their former customers:

NAME FORMER EMPLOYERS
  Maria Acevedo   Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
  Alicia Chester   BBVA Securities Inc.
  Anthony DiDonna   Equitable Advisors, LLC
  David Hixon   Morgan Stanley
  ProEquities, Inc.
  James Kent Jr.   Emerson Equity LLC
  Newport Coast Securities, Inc.
  Scott Levine   Ascendiant Capital Markets, LLC
  BMA Securities
  Mario Martinez   Mutual of Omaha Investors Services, Inc.
  AIG Capital Services, Inc.
  John Sommo   UBS Financial Services Inc.
  Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
  Stephen Wenske   Edward Jones

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According to FINRA Disciplinary actions for March 2022, the following individuals were suspended from FINRA for failing to comply with a FINRA arbitration award or settlement agreement pursuant to FINRA rules:

NAME FORMER EMPLOYERS
  Joseph Likens   LPL Financial LLC
  Cornerstone Wealth Management, LLC
  Guy Newman   GVC Capital LLC
  Bathgate Capital Partners LLC
  John Santariello   Arive Capital Markets
  Cape Securities Inc.
  Jeanette Stofleth   Cetera Investment Services LLC
  Morgan Stanley

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Warren Rowe (Warren Ellwood Rowe, Jr. CRD# 1065880) is a former registered broker whose last known employer was Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (CRD#:249) of Richmond, VA. His previous employers include RBC Capital Markets, LLC (CRD#:31194) and Ferris, Baker Watts, LLC (CRD#:285), also of Richmond, and Wachovia Securities, LLC (CRD#:19616) of St. Louis, MO. He has been in the industry since 1982.  Two clients filed disputes against Rowe that indicated he borrowed money from them. The first, filed on 5/1/2020, included allegations of unauthorized trading and requested damages of $225,000 and was ultimately dismissed. The second dispute was filed on 10/5/2020, and included damages of $25,000, and was ultimately denied. The loans were allegedly made in August and September of 2019.  After the initial report that Rowe entered into a loan agreement with a client, he voluntarily resigned from Oppenheimer. The firm filed his Form U5 on 5/4/2020. The U5 stated that he entered into loan agreements with a client and failed to notify the firm of the transaction.Warren Rowe (Warren Ellwood Rowe, Jr. CRD# 1065880) is a former registered broker whose last known employer was Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (CRD#:249) of Richmond, VA. His previous employers include RBC Capital Markets, LLC (CRD#:31194) and Ferris, Baker Watts, LLC (CRD#:285), also of Richmond, and Wachovia Securities, LLC (CRD#:19616) of St. Louis, MO. He has been in the industry since 1982. Continue reading ›

Joshua Nicholas (Joshua David Nicholas CRD# 6529944) is a former registered broker and investment adviser whose last known employer was Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691) of Stuart, FL. Nichols previously worked for Midtown Partners of Chicago, IL, which was expelled by FINRA on 3/13/2020. He has been in the industry since. 2016.  Merrill Lynch terminated Nicholas’ is employment on 7/29/20 after his voluntary resignation. It was alleged that Nicholas forged a client document. The firm filed an amended Form U5 on August 14, 2020, which included information about his outside business activities (OBA), along with the arbitration with two customers that included selling away, unsuitable investment recommendations and omission of material facts.  Less than two weeks later, on 8/10/2020, a customer dispute was filed by trustees, who listed the above allegations in February of 2020. This dispute was settled for $275,000.Joshua Nicholas (Joshua David Nicholas CRD# 6529944) is a former registered broker and investment adviser whose last known employer was Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691) of Stuart, FL. Nichols previously worked for Midtown Partners of Chicago, IL, which was expelled by FINRA on 3/13/2020. He has been in the industry since. 2016. Continue reading ›

Dennis Ayre (Dennis Phillip Ayre CRD# 5365176) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Hilltop Securities Inc. (CRD#:6220) of Beverly Hills, CA. His previous employers include Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (CRD#:249) of Los Angeles, CA, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691) of Beverly Hills, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (CRD#:19616) and First Republic Securities Company, LLC (CRD#:105108) also of Los Angeles.  He has been in the industry since 2008.  Ayre has a total of 15 disclosures dating back to 2019. The most recently dated disclosure, 1/28/2022, is a FINRA disciplinary action that led to his permanent bar from any activity or affiliation with all FINRA broker-members. After two requests by FINRA staff to appear in on-the-record testimony, FINRA issued a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC.) Ayre signed the letter on January 14, 2022, and FINRA’s principal counsel signed it January 28, 2022.  The matter came about after Hilltop Securities filed a Uniform Termination Notice of Security Industry Registration, the Form U5, on July 26, 2020. The cause of his termination was listed as “lack of production.” Following his termination, FINRA began its investigation into Ayre’s sales practices after 14 customer disputes were filed beginning on 10/1/2019.Dennis Ayre (Dennis Phillip Ayre CRD# 5365176) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Hilltop Securities Inc. (CRD#:6220) of Beverly Hills, CA. His previous employers include Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (CRD#:249) of Los Angeles, CA, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691) of Beverly Hills, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (CRD#:19616) and First Republic Securities Company, LLC (CRD#:105108) also of Los Angeles. He has been in the industry since 2008. Continue reading ›

Michael Knittel (Michael Murray Knittel CRD# 3274235) is a currently registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer is Fortune Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:42150) of El Dorado Hills, CA. His previous employers include J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (CRD#:124583) and Financial Advisers Of America, LLC (CRD#:142170), both of Folsom, CA, and RBC Capital Markets, LLC (CRD#:31194), also of El Dorado Hills. He has been in the industry since 1999. Knittel engaged in a private security transaction which was specifically prohibited by his firm, Fortune Financial Services. The transaction involved recommending an investment in a promissory note to four individuals who were not customers of FFS. The note was issued by an LLC to fund remodeling a residential property and to pay an existing lien on that property. When the remodeling was completed and the property sold, the investors would be repaid their principal investment and receive a portion of the profits from the eventual sale. After the investors were introduced to one of the LLC owners and the transaction completed, Knittel received a payment of $10,000 from the LLC. Knittel never provided FFS with written notification of his involvement in the transaction, nor did he receive any written notice from the firm.Michael Knittel (Michael Murray Knittel CRD# 3274235) is a currently registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer is Fortune Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:42150) of El Dorado Hills, CA. His previous employers include J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (CRD#:124583) and Financial Advisers Of America, LLC (CRD#:142170), both of Folsom, CA, and RBC Capital Markets, LLC (CRD#:31194), also of El Dorado Hills. He has been in the industry since 1999. Continue reading ›

Joseph La Scala (Joseph Brian La Scala CRD# 3070261) is a registered broker and a previously registered investment advisor whose current employer is Aegis Capital Corp. (CRD#: 15007) of Melville, NY. His previous employers include Paulson Investment Company, Inc. (CRD#:5670), Gunnallen Financial, Inc. (CRD#:17609) of Hauppauge, NY, and Investec Ernst & Company (CRD#:266) of New York, NY.  He has been in the industry since 1998.  La Scala engaged in short-term trading in a customer’s 401(k) retirement account between July 2014 and April 2016 and exercised de facto control over the account with discretionary authority. However, the trades La Scala made were not consistent with the investment objectives and resulted in $90,720 in trading costs and $116,194 in losses for the customer.  Additionally, La Scala did not have written authorization from the customer to exercise this discretion in the customer’s account. Aegis’ written policies from January 2015 and April 2016 prohibited representatives from acting on behalf of a customer without their express written authorization. Although he did occasionally discuss trading with the customer, he did not discuss individual trades with the customer on the days he made transactions. Joseph La Scala (Joseph Brian La Scala CRD# 3070261) is a registered broker and a previously registered investment advisor whose current employer is Aegis Capital Corp. (CRD#: 15007) of Melville, NY. His previous employers include Paulson Investment Company, Inc. (CRD#:5670), Gunnallen Financial, Inc. (CRD#:17609) of Hauppauge, NY, and Investec Ernst & Company (CRD#:266) of New York, NY.  He has been in the industry since 1998. Continue reading ›

Anthony DiDonna (Anthony Vincent DiDonna CRD# 7283414) is a former registered broker last employed with Equitable Advisors, LLC (CRD#:6627) of Woodbury, NY. He began working in the industry with Equitable in 2020, and has no other employers of record.  Equitable Advisors terminated DiDonna’s employment on 4/27/2021 for “unauthorized transactions and misappropriation of client funds.”  On 4/28/2021, a customer filed a dispute indicating that they “did not authorize transfers from their accounts to fund new investments that were unauthorized.” They also indicated that a signature on their account opening documents were “forged.” This claim is currently listed as “pending.” No additional information is available.  FINRA’s investigation began on 12/14/2021, and DiDonna failed to provide documents and information as requested. Therefore, he was barred indefinitely and permanently by FINRA from association with any member, effective 3/17/2022.Anthony DiDonna (Anthony Vincent DiDonna CRD# 7283414) is a former registered broker last employed with Equitable Advisors, LLC (CRD#:6627) of Woodbury, NY. He began working in the industry with Equitable in 2020, and has no other employers of record. Continue reading ›

Ronald Molo (Ronald Terrence Molo CRD# 4371241) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Edward Jones (CRD#:250) of Joliet, IL. He began working for Edward Jones on 05/15/2001. The firm terminated him on 06/15/2021 and has no other employment in the industry. Following Molo’s termination, three customers filed disputes on 6/16/2021, 6/18/2021, and 6/22/2021 with identical allegations of “former FA stole funds from them by wiring client funds to a bank account controlled by former FA's spouse under the guise that they were making an investment.” It is not known if these were all filed by the same client or three different clients.Ronald Molo (Ronald Terrence Molo CRD# 4371241) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Edward Jones (CRD#:250) of Joliet, IL. He began working for Edward Jones on 05/15/2001. The firm terminated him on 06/15/2021 and has no other employment in the industry. Continue reading ›

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