Ricky Mantei (CRD# 1098981), a broker with Centaurus Financial, Inc. in Lexington, South Carolina is facing nine pending customer disputes as well as two regulatory disputes. Mantei has been with Centaurus since 2015, where he moved from the infamous J.P. Turner & Company, a firm that has since been shut down due to numerous regulatory issues. Previous employers also include Gunnallen Financial, Inc. and First Allied Securities, Inc.
Mantei’s Regulatory Issues
Mantei was named a respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint alleging that he violated FINRA Rules and circumvented his own firm’s supervisory system while recommending and selling structured certificates of deposit (structured CDs). Specifically, FINRA alleges that on several occasions while employed by J.P. Turner, when Mantei could not find a buyer to liquidate these structured CDs, he would arrange a transaction between J.P. Turner customers. If the allegations are true, Mantei was required to identify these transactions and justify the financial benefit to each customer, but FINRA alleges he did not disclose or justify the deals. Failure to do so violates regulatory rules and internal firm procedures, although Mantei denies all wrongdoing.
The other regulatory dispute is an enforcement action initiated by the State of Colorado against Centaurus, which alleges violations of state law and FINRA Rules. The action alleges that Centaurus failed to supervise the sales of structured CDs by Mantei and another Centaurus broker, Cindy Chiellini. The unusually high number of customer complaints against these brokers is what appears to have sparked the state investigation in the first place.
Customer Disputes Mount Against Ricky Mantei
Mantei has been the subject of 16 total customer disputes since he began his career in 1985. Nine of these disputes are currently pending.
The first of the pending disputes, initiated in November 2018, alleges that Mantei recommended unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations regarding these investments, and breached his fiduciary duty to his client. Another, initiated in April 2019, alleges negligent and potentially fraudulent activity and seeks $1 million in damages. Another six complaints allege that in his capacity as Branch Manager, Mantei failed to adequately supervise his brokers, resulting in claimed damages of $100,000 to $200,000 each. Mantei denies wrongdoing in all of these cases.
Structured CDs are long-term products tied to market sectors or debt obligations typically with terms of 10 to 20 years. These products pay an interest or coupon rate based on defined parameters. They are difficult to liquidate without taking a loss, which may be the reason why Mantei allegedly circumvented firm procedures and violated FINRA Rules when engaging in the structured CD transactions that formed the basis of the Colorado action, the FINRA complaint, and the alarmingly high number of customer disputes.
Structured products such as structured CDs should not be overconcentrated in any customer’s account, and are typically only suitable for accredited or highly sophisticated investors who are financially capable of bearing increased long-term risks. Furthermore, many states require special additional safeguards to be put in place by broker-dealers when recommending structured products to elderly investors. At the end of the day, the unique risks associated with these products must be disclosed to investors.
Did You Or Someone You Know Suffer Losses Investing With Ricky Mantei, Centaurus Financial, Or J.P. Turner?
It appears that Mantei continued his improper conduct as he moved from J.P. Turner to Centaurus Financial. Silver Law Group has experience bringing FINRA arbitration claims on behalf of investors against both J.P. Turner and Centaurus. In fact, Silver Law Group has already recovered money for investors who suffered losses with Rick Mantei and the firm is in the process of seeking recovery for losses caused by Mantei’s associate, Cindy Chiellini.
If you or someone you know suffered losses due to these brokers’ recommendations of unsuitable long-term structured products, please contact the Silver Law Group toll free at (800)-975-4799 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential consultation.