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Two-South-Florida-Brokers-in-the-FINRA-Spotlight-for-Making-Inappropriate-Loans-300x199On May 1, 2018, FINRA Department of Enforcement entered into a settlement via Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) with Respondent Laidlaw & Company. Without admitting or denying any wrongful acts, Laidlaw consented to a public censure by FINRA, the imposition of a $25,000 fine, as well as agreeing to give FINRA a written statement saying that systems mentioned in the AWC are designed to achieve compliance with “applicable securities laws, regulations, and rules.

FINRA Enforcement alleged that from April 2014 through December 2015, Laidlaw did not establish and maintain a supervisory system and written supervisory procedures (WSPs) designed to ensure that recommendations of leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) complied with applicable securities laws and FINRA rules.

Non-Traditional ETFs are risky financial products because they are designed to return a multiple of an underlying benchmark or index over the course of a trading session. They are not intended to be held for more than a single trading session. FINRA Regulatory Notice 009-31 states “The performance of Non-Traditional ETFs over periods of time longer than a single trading session can differ significantly from the performance of their underlying or benchmark during the same period of time.”

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Have-You-Lost-Money-Investing-With-Bennett-Broad-300x225Paul William Murans (CRD #3266607, aka “Peace Murans”) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Thurston Springer Financial (CRD #8478) of Indianapolis, IN. His previous employers include UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD #8174) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD #7691), also of Indianapolis, and UBS Painewebber Inc. (CRD #8174) of Weehawken, NJ. He has been in the industry since 1999.

Murans is the subject of six disclosures, two of which are employment separations. His most recent disclosure was filed on 11/18/2018, carried over from his previous employment with UBS Financial Services. The client claims that from 12/2/2013 through 10/20/2017, Murans misrepresented a “life settlement contract” that was ultimately unsuitable, and unauthorized trading of “structured products.” The client also alleged that she was completely unaware that she was borrowing from her loan account. Murans denies the allegations, and has requested copies of the complaint, as has Thurston Springer Financial, but UBS has not supplied the requested information to verify the complaint. The case was settled for $250,000.

A customer dispute filed on 5/16/2018 is currently listed as “pending.” The customer alleges “Unsuitable investments, unauthorized credit line agreement, unauthorized trades, uninvested funds, lost market opportunity,” and requests damages of $183,000. Murans denies the allegations.

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Boca-Raton-Financial-Advisor-Robert-Child-Faces-Yet-Another-Customer-Dispute-300x199Erik Patrick Pica (CRD #4829533) is a currently registered broker employed with Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C. (CRD #159744) of New York, NY. His previous employers include Global Arena Capital Corp (CRD #16871, expelled by FINRA on 4/1/2016), First Midwest Securities, Inc. (CRD #21786), Chicago Investment Group, LLC (CRD #11853, expelled by FINRA on 9/14/2010) and Eastbrook Capital Group LLC (CRD #39781, expelled by FINRA on 9/23/2009), all of New York City. He has been in the industry since 2004.

Pica is the subject of seven disclosures, all customer disputes. The first one was filed on 5/10/2018, alleging “unauthorized trade of 6000 shares Rite Aid Corp unauthorized trade of 550 shares Valeant Pharmaceutical.”  The client requests damages of $7,613.65. This case is currently pending.

The next customer dispute was filed on 5/4/2018, with allegations of negligence, over-concentration and suitability.” This client requests damages of $293,000. This case is also currently “pending.”

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Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224-300x224Katherine Greer Nishnic (CRD #2499553, a/k/a Katherine Greer Martinson, Katherine Diane Nishnic, Katherine G. Nishnic) is a currently registered broker employed with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (CRD #30833) of Lexington, SC. Her previous employers include J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (CRD #43177), Gunnallen Financial, Inc (CRD #17609) and First Allied Securities, Inc. (CRD #32444), also of Lexington, SC. She has been in the industry since 1994.

Nishnic is the subject of three disclosures, all recent customer disputes. The first was filed on 11/18/2018, alleging that Nishnic made unsuitable recommendations as well as “other allegations” that were not disclosed. The client is asking for damages of $100,000. Nishnic denies the allegations, and indicates that this may be a client’s family creating the dispute. This case is currently “pending.”

The next customer dispute was filed on 8/21/2017, alleging that the products sold to the client while she and her late husband were customers of Nishnic’s at a different brokerage were unsuitable. This client requests damages of $95,000. Nishnic also denies these allegations. The case was ultimately closed without any action.

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Scott Vincent Kaup (CRD #1002907) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (CRD #34643) of Stuart, NE. His previous employers include VSR Financial Services, Inc. (CRD #14503), also of Stuart, NE and American General Securities Incorporated (CRD #13626) of Phoenix, AZ. He has been in the business since 1981.

Lawrence-LaBine-Under-Fire-for-Alleged-Unsuitable-Recommendations-and-More-300x200Kaup has two disclosures on his record. The first one, filed on 7/13/2018, alleges “unsuitable investment recommendations, material misrepresentations and omissions, and supervisory due diligence failures.”  The client is requesting damages of $2,600,000.00. No additional information is available.

The second dispute was filed on 4/25/2016. This claim alleges that Kaup, from 3/30/2001 to 6/14/2010, breached his fiduciary duty, violated common law fraud regulations, made unsuitable recommendations for investments and committed negligence. The claim was settled for $173,000. Kaup denied all claims.

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Back in August, we told you about broker Cindy Lucille Porto Chiellini (CRD #1015592) who had three customer disputes on file in her record. Chiellini is still employed with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (CRD #30833) of Lexington, SC.

Lawrence-LaBine-Under-Fire-for-Alleged-Unsuitable-Recommendations-and-More-300x200Since our last report, four customers have filed additional disputes against Chiellini for various complaints and allegations. All four are currently listed as “pending,” and Chiellini denies the allegations in all four disputes.

The most recent dispute was filed on 9/12/2018, with the customers alleging that their investments were “inappropriate and unsuitable based on their investment objectives.” The clients are requesting damages of $150,000.

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Wenjinn James Chang (CRD #4536266) is a registered broker and investment advisor currently employed with Independent Financial Group, LLC (CRD #7717) of Rockville, MD. His previous employers include Ameritas Investment Corp. (CRD #14869), also of Rockville, AXA Advisors, LLC (CRD #6627) of New York, NY, and PFS INVESTMENTS INC. (CRD #10111) of Duluth, GA. He has been in the industry since 2002.

Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224Two customer disputes were filed this year against Chang. The most recent was filed on 10/15/2018, requesting damages of $50,000. The customer alleges that Chang over-concentrated in non-traded REITS that were unsuitable and caused losses to the account. Chang denies the allegations, and the firm plans to defend the claim.

His prior dispute was filed on 9/11/2018, alleging that Chang “failed to advise of the risks of the investments made and that the Claimant has suffered losses as a result of the investments made.” Although the client requested damages of $75,000, the firm settled the claim for $10,000 to avoid the costs of litigation. The firm also stated that the settlement was neither an admission of guilt or liability, and there were no facts to support the allegations.

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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.

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Back in October, we told you about Kyusun Kim (CRD #2864085), a broker who was barred by FINRA after it was discovered he approached individuals who were near or at retirement age, and urged them to liquidate their pensions to invest in “alternative investments.” These investments included risky, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs.)

Are-or-Were-Unsuitable-Non-Traded-REITs-in-Your-Portfolio-300x224-300x224BrokerCheck now reports that Sandlapper Wealth Management, LLC has discharged him from their employment as of 8/31/2018 after he was barred by FINRA.

The allegations against Kim included wrongful conduct, breaches of fiduciary duty, contract and conduct, violations of securities laws, fraud, financial elder abuse, negligent misrepresentation, inappropriate investments and unsuitable recommendations, as well as one allegation of forged signatures.

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Mohamed Racheed Yassin (CRD #1673281) is a previously registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was National Securities Corporation (CRD #7569) of Westbury, NY. His previous employers include Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777) of Garden City, NY, UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD #8174) of Uniondale, NY and Prudential Securities Incorporated (CRD #7471) of New York, NY. He has been in the industry since 1990.

David-Sullivan-Accused-of-Excessive-Trading-on-More-Than-One-Occasion-300x200-300x200Yassin is the subject of two FINRA disciplinary actions. The first, filed on 10/29/2018, suspends Yassin indefinitely for failure to comply with an arbitration award in a case of breach of promissory notes.

The earlier FINRA action on 8/21/2018 bars Yassin from any and all association with a FINRA member after he failed to respond to a request for information. FINRA then barred Yassin indefinitely from affiliation with any FINRA member effective 11/26/2018.

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