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Articles Tagged with Cetera Financial Group

Silver Law Group represents many of Mr. Vazquez investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging Daniel Vazquez and Gilbert Fluetsch of running a home flipping scam that defrauded dozens of investors out of their retirement savings.  Vazquez was a registered stockbroker with Cetera Advisors and Investors Capital Corp. from 2011-2015.

According to the SEC, Daniel Vazquez serves as the CEO of Hoplon Financial Group. Through Hoplon, Vazquez created the “New Economic Opportunities Fund,” an entity that purported to buy and flip residential real estate using investor funds.

Morgan Stanley Discharges and FINRA Permanently Bars Broker Samuel Wylie Sloane on silverlaw.comFINRA entered into a settlement with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (CRD# 13572) over improprieties related to mutual sales fund charge waivers.

According to the Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC’) entered into between Cetera and FINRA, Cetera disadvantaged certain retirement plan and charitable organization customers that were eligible to purchase certain shares in mutual funds without a front-end sales charge.  Instead, Cetera sold these customers shares with front-end or back-end sales charges and higher ongoing fees and expenses.

Cetera did not waive the additional mutual fund sales charge even though customers qualified for it and, according to the AWC, Cetera carried on this conduct between July 2009 and January 2017.

Failure to Comply with FINRA Request Terminates Broker Lance Shaw’s Securities Industry Career on silverlaw.comSilver Law Group is investigating former Ohio-based Concorde Investment Services, LLC (CRD# 151604) broker Larry S. Werbel (CRD# 828351) for three pending FINRA arbitrations and a litany of disclosures on his FINRA BrokerCheck report.

According to Werbel’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, Werbel has three pending FINRA arbitrations filed in the last four months that allege unsuitable recommendations, failure to supervise, fraud, breach of duty of loyalty, and negligence for an aggregate amount of over $1.25 million.  At least one of the complaints alleges securities violations spanning back to Werbel’s employment with LPL Financial LLC (CRD# 6413) from February 2009 to February 2011.

FINRA’s BrokerCheck tool is a valuable way to examine a broker’s background.  The investor tool discloses FINRA arbitrations that have been settled, are pending or have been denied; bankruptcies, civil judgments and tax liens; employment separations and other discharges; criminal proceedings; and regulatory actions.  According to an InvestmentNews report, only about 12 percent of financial advisors have any type of disclosure events on their records.

Our firm has filed a complaint against Irvine, California-based Cetera Advisors (CRD# 10299) relating to broker Daniel B. Vazquez Sr. (CRD# 3141463) after FINRA permanently barred Vazquez.

According to Vazquez’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, FINRA permanently barred him from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public in June 2016 for failing to respond to a FINRA request for information.

The permanent bar comes just two months after a FINRA arbitration was filed alleging unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trades which led to portfolio losses.

Silver Law Group is investigating Colorado-based Cetera Advisors LLC (CRD# 10299) broker Ken A. Balser (CRD# 704053) after FINRA permanently barred him.

According to Balser’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, FINRA permanently barred Balser from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.  The permanent bar follows Cetera Advisor’s discharge of Balser in July 2016 due to allegedly engaging in private securities transactions in violation of Cetera Advisors policy.

Balser, according to the FINRA BrokerCheck report, consented to sanctions and the entry of findings that he refused to appear for testimony and provide documents and information requested by FINRA for an investigation into the allegations that Balser had engaged in private securities transactions with Cetera Advisors.

Cetera Brokerage Firm Investors Capital Corp Fined $1.1 Million Over Sales of Unit Investment Trusts

Silver Law Group is investigating investor claims against Cetera Financial Group-owned Investors Capital Corp. (CRD# 30613) after FINRA fined the firm and ordered it to pay restitution of over $1.1 million for allegations of short-term trading of unit investment trusts (“UITs”).

According to the Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (“AWC”) Investors Capital Corp. (“Investors Capital”) and FINRA entered into in October 2016, FINRA found that Investors Capital recommended unsuitable short-term trading of UITs and Steepener Notes (“Steepener Notes”) in 74 customer accounts.  Additionally, Investors Capital failed to apply sales charge discounts to certain customers’ purchases of UITs, according to the AWC.  The misconduct occurred between June 2010 and September 2015.

Silver Law Group is investigating former Georgia-based Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (CRD# 34643) broker Clay E. Hoffman (CRD# 4371162) due to multiple FINRA actions pending against him and his racking up of 16 BrokerCheck disclosures in the past five years.

FINRA has initiated four regulatory actions against Hoffman in 2016, according to Hoffman’s FINRA BrokerCheck report.  Our attorneys have been monitoring FINRA’s actions against Hoffman.

The first, initiated in February, alleged Hoffman exercised discretion in a customer’s account and made unauthorized transactions without written authorization from the customer or the approval of Hoffman’s firm.  Hoffman was fined $5,000 and suspended for 15 days.

Silver Law Group is investigating Houston, Texas-based Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (CRD# 34643) broker Keith A. Bradley (CRD# 868141) after a customer filed a FINRA arbitration alleging unsuitable recommendations and negligence.

According to Bradley’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, a customer filed a FINRA arbitration against Bradley in July 2016 alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, and $100,000 in damages.

In addition to the FINRA arbitration filing, Bradley has four other disclosures on his FINRA BrokerCheck report.  The other four are all tax liens accrued in separate cases.  His first came in 1989 and is for an unspecified amount.  His second tax lien was in 1999 in the amount of $109,000.  His third came three years later in 2002 in an amount of $108,000.  His most recent tax lien was in 2011 in the amount of $400,000.

Silver Law Group is investigating former Plano, Texas-based VSR Financial Services, Inc. (CRD# 14503) broker John H. Towers (CRD# 700221) due to an extraordinarily high amount of FINRA BrokerCheck disclosures alleging unsuitable recommendations and negligence.

According to John H. Towers FINRA BrokerCheck report, Towers has 46 misconduct disclosures, most of which are FINRA arbitrations.  All the FINRA arbitrations allege that Towers recommended unsuitable investments and many allege overconcentration, and all but five of the disclosures have come in the last five years.

This is an extraordinary amount of FINRA BrokerCheck disclosures.  While one or two complaints over a long period of time in the industry is not unheard of, the complaints Towers has amassed over a short period of time is concerning.  Out of the 46, 42 are FINRA arbitrations and 35 of those have settled.

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