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In September, we told you about Morgan Stanley brokers James Polese and 29-year-old Cornelius Peterson, who were found guilty of financial charges ranging from conspiracy to aggravated identity theft. They have both been sentenced in the case.

How to Report Elder Financial Fraud on elderfinancialfraudattorneys.comJames Polese has been sentenced to 60 months (five years) in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of investment adviser fraud and eight counts of bank fraud as well as a charge of aggravated identity theft. The government originally requested 75 months, and the federal guidelines indicate a minimum sentence of 87 months. Polese’s attorney argued for a shorter sentence of 40 months.

Polese was ordered to pay $462,000 in restitution plus a $30,000 fine. After his release from prison, he will be supervised for three years. He will be restricted from working in financial services, and prohibited from drinking alcohol beyond a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10. The judge recognized Polese’s work towards rehabilitation, which included speaking with two ministers who offered letters of support.

Vicente Davila (CRD #4419824) was employed by Morgan Stanley from April 2016 through February 2018. Previous employment included Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. from November 2009 to May 2016 and Barclays Capital Inc. from April 2002 to September 2002.

Zachary-Bader-Suspended-After-Multiple-Allegations-of-Churning-300x232Davila was suspended on April 27, 2018, from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.  If Davila fails to request termination of the suspension within three months of the date of the Notice of Suspension, he will automatically be barred on July 6, 2018, from association with any FINRA member in any capacity pursuant to FINRA Rule 9552 (h).

Contact Our Firm if You’ve Invested with Vicente Davila

Francisco Jose Faraco (CRD #5095972) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777) of New York, NY. His previous employers include J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (CRD #79), also of New York, NY, Santander Securities (CRD #41791) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD #7691) both of Miami, FL. No other employment information is available, and he is not currently registered with any FINRA member firm. He has been in the industry since 2006.

FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Broker-Richard-McGuire-for-Taking-Funds-and-Forging-Signatures-300x200Faraco is the subject of three disclosures. Two are for one specific incident.

In January of 2016, Faraco allegedly began assisting an institutional customer obtain a $15M loan from Morgan Stanley Private Bank. In the course of applying, he attempted to keep the process moving after two roadblocks—an expired passport for one individual, and forging two signatures on two assurance documents for collateral. Faraco felt the documents were duplicates. Those signatures were representatives of affiliated companies. The bank approved the loan, and the forgeries were discovered only after one of the affiliates complained.

Silver Law Group is investigating claims against former Boston, Massachusetts-based Morgan Stanley brokers James Polese (CRD# 2636427) and Cornelius Peterson (CRD# 5769919) after FINRA barred both of them for allegedly stealing $450,000 from an elderly client.

Both Boston, Massachusetts brokers were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) in January 2018 and agreed to plead guilty to the charges conspiracy, advisor fraud and bank fraud.

The SEC alleges in its complaint that Polese and Peterson misappropriated money from their Morgan Stanley customers starting in 2014. According to the SEC, Polese and Peterson fraudulently misappropriated $350,000 in March 2016 from an elderly customer. Polese and Peterson used a portion of the money to make investments in their own names, and directed a larger portion to Polese’s personal bank account. Then, according to the SEC, from March through May 2017, Polese made numerous unauthorized transactions from the same elderly customer’s account totaling approximately $93,000 to pay Polese’s credit card and college tuition expenses for Polese’s children.

Former broker and investment advisor Michael Edward Fitz-Gerald (aka Michael Edward Fitzgerald, CRD #209062) was last registered with Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777) of San Francisco, CA. Previous employers include Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated (CRD #8209) and UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD #8174), both of San Francisco. He began working in the industry in 1969.

New-York-Broker-Gregory-Flemming-Suspended-by-FINRA-300x200Fitz-Gerald is the subject of six disputes, dating back to 1987. The latest, filed on 6/6/2018, is pending, and requesting damages totaling $240,000 and allege, “inter alia, unsuitability with respect to investments in accounts -2014 to 2015.”

The previous dispute, filed on 2/14/2017, requested damages of $2,348,175.00, and settled for $185,000. The client alleged that his portfolio was insufficiently diversified from 2012 to 2016. A year before, in 2016, another dispute was filed, with the same allegation of insufficient diversification in the account from 2010 through 2015. The damages were unspecified, and case was settled for $50,000.

Barry Garapedian (CRD #1039251) is a currently registered broker employed by Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777) of Westlake Village, CA. He has been with Morgan Stanley since 2009. He was previously employed by Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (CRD #7059), Lehman Brothers, Inc. (CRD #7506) and E. F. Hutton & Company, Inc. (CRD #235) He has been in the industry since 1982.

https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Massachusetts-based-Broker-Jeffrey-B.-Pierce-Permanently-Barred-by-FINRA-300x200.jpgGarapedian has been the subject of three FINRA customer disputes in 2018, all with similar allegations of “unsuitability.” The first one, on 3/20/2018 was denied. The second was filed on 03/22/2018 and involves the period 2013 to 2015, and is listed as “pending.” The third claim, filed on 04/01/18, requests damages of $713,000.00. Garapedian’s statement denies the allegations, and maintains that everything was discussed with the customer prior to any transactions, and the investments recommended were suitable for the client. This claim is also listed as “pending.”

One claim was also filed in 2017, alleging the same “unsuitablility,” and was closed with no action.

David Olson (CRD #1700644) was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Olson consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide complete documents and information requested by FINRA during an investigation into allegations that he was involved in an undisclosed outside business activity, and that he solicited a loan from a customer of his member firm for that outside business activity.

https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Silver-Law-9.2.20-300x150.jpgDavid Olson was with Morgan Stanley’s St. Petersburg, Florida office until January 2017 when he was discharged after an allegation he engaged in an outside business that was not presented to Morgan Stanley for approval and Olson solicited a loan from a client for that venture.  This is frequently referred to as selling away.

Contact Our Firm if You’ve Invested with David Olson

Leon-Vaccarelli-Fined-and-Sanctioned-by-FINRA-300x199-1-300x199Thomas Meier (CRD #1146044) was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Meier consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he effected approximately 1,290 unauthorized transactions, including both purchases and sales of equity securities, in eight accounts belonging to six customers. The findings stated that none of the eight accounts were discretionary accounts and Meier did not have discussions with the customers about the trades prior to the transactions and did not obtain the customers’ authorization prior to executing any of the transactions. Meier received approximately $265,000 in commissions for those transactions. Two of the customers realized losses of approximately $78,000. In addition, there were unrealized losses in the accounts. To-date, Meier’s member firm, Morgan Stanley, has paid a total of approximately $1,087,610 to five of the customers in connection with complaints about Meier. The findings also stated that Meier exercised discretion in five accounts belonging to four separate customers. The findings also included that Meier made inaccurate statements on four annual compliance questionnaires that he did not have any accounts in which business was transacted on a discretionary basis.

Contact Our Firm if You’ve Invested with Thomas Meier

If you invested with Thomas Meier and believe you have lost money due to his misconduct, you may be able to file a claim to recover your losses through FINRA arbitration. For a free evaluation of your potential case by as securities attorney, please contact Silver Law Group. Our Florida securities arbitration lawyers can meet with you at our offices or at your home to discuss your potential claims.

Vicente Davila has spent eight years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Morgan Stanley in Houston, Texas (2016 – 2018). Previous registrations include Merrill Lynch and Barclays Capital.

Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) state that former Texas-based Morgan Stanley broker/adviser Vicente Davila, who has received a customer dispute, was discharged from Morgan Stanley in connection to alleged rule violations and is currently not affiliated with any broker-dealer firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one customer complaint and was discharged from his former employer in connection to alleged rule violations.

We recently wrote about securities arbitration claims our securities attorneys are handling involving former Morgan Stanley broker Angel Aquino, (CRD #2687333), while he was a stockbroker with Morgan Stanley. He resigned from the company in July of 2017 after multiple customer complaints and securities arbitration claims. Current customer disputes filed against Aquino currently add up to nearly $12 million. A new related complaint was filed on May 8, 2018 against Aquino and Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777.)  He is not currently registered as a broker, and no current employment information is available.  Morgan Stanley continues to be subject to multiple claims relating to its recommendation and sale of Puerto Rico bonds.

The complaints stem from Aquino’s heavy emphasis on investments in Puerto Rico Cofina bonds. These are backed by the island’s sales tax revenue, and have triple-tax-free status. They became a popular investment for Wall Street banks to sell to retirees and other investors, but when things changed, the bonds didn’t pay as much and many advisors allegedly failed to disclose the risks with the bonds. But Aquino continued to sell his customers heavily on Puerto Rico bonds, even while they lost money.

Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy in May of 2017 for relief of $70 billion in municipal debt. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria swept through the island and destroyed crops, damaged aging infrastructure and flooded the cities. No clear path exists for Puerto Rico to meet its debt obligations.

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