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According to published materials, two years ago the SEC started investigating, American Realty Capital Properties Inc (ARCP) and its executives, for allegedly overstating financial results and deliberate concealment of financial mistakes, which rattled the REIT brokerage empire built by Nicholas Schorsch. After investigations, the SEC reported that it recently brought charges against Brian S. Block and Lisa P. McAlister, the former chief financial and chief accounting officers of American Realty Capital Properties Inc.

The FBI announced Block’s arrest at his home in Pennsylvania on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy. In June, McAlister reportedly pled guilty to four securities fraud and false filing counts. According to the charges brought by the SEC, they are alleged to have intentionally inflated a key metric to make sure that the REIT met analysts’ estimates for the first two quarters of 2014. As per AdvisorHub, Block’s attorney was quoted saying “[t]here is little precedent for the notion that criminal charges are appropriate when accountants make decisions involving these sorts of accounting principles [non-GAAP principles applicable only to REITs].”

After ARCP, with apparent market capitalization of $11.5 billion, publicly disclosed its intentional errors and result inflation in 2014, Schorsch controlled REITs and holding companies lost billions of dollars and ten broker dealers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The investment and securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding L.O. Thomas & Co , Inc. financial advisor Anthony Librizzi.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Librizzi was most recently with Wells Fargo Advisors LLC before resigning amid allegations.

FINRA records indicate that Mr. Librizzi resigned from Wells Fargo voluntarily in 2013 amid allegations that he “accepted $8,000 from a client.”

businesswoman-with-briefcase-silhouette_1463647The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Megan Resch.  Ms. Resch is currently registered to sell securities with LPL Financial LLC in the broker-dealer’s Morristown, New Jersey office, according to her publicly available BrokerCheck records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Ms. Resch has been registered with LPL Financial since November, 2010, and before then was registered to sell securities with Multi-Financial Securities Corporation in Martinsville, New Jersey from January 2006 to November 2010, according to her BrokerCheck records.

Ms. Resch’s BrokerCheck records indicate that two customers have raised disputes regarding her recommendations, including 2014 allegations of an unsuitable limited partnership investment that causes losses, which was settled for $78,400.  Additionally, a customer alleged in 2011 that there were misrepresentation and suitability issues on investments from April 2007 to December 2010, which dispute was settled for $105,000, according to the BrokerCheck records.

Generally speaking, FINRA Rules require that recommendations made by the broker to the customer be suitable.  This means that the broker must consider the investor’s age, investment experience, age, tax status, other investments, as well as other factors when making a recommendation to buy or sell securities.

Malecki Law’s team of investment fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding broker David S. James. Mr. James was most recently working with UBS in California before being terminated by the firm, according to reports and industry records.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. James has been the subject of at least two customer disputes during his career in the industry.

It was recently reported that UBS let Mr. James go by UBS “for business practices that persistently drew compliance scrutiny.” Reports indicate that Mr. James was a high producing broker with UBS, a member of UBS’s Pinnacle Council and ranked as a Barron’s “Top 1200 Advisors” five times.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Robert A. McAllister.  Mr. McAllister was formerly registered to sell securities from December 2011 to February 2016 with Edward Jones a broker-dealer in Ocean City, New Jersey, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

In 2016, Mr. McAllister was fined and suspended from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer for two months by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2016048831201 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. McAllister violated FINRA Rule 3240 (Borrowing from or Lending to Customers) and 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) because in May 2015, he borrowed $8,500 from a family friend and customer of Edward Jones.  According to the AWC, Mr. McAllister did not provide written notice to his registering firm of the loan with the customer, and did not receive approval to participate in the transaction.

According to Mr. McAllister’s publicly available BrokerCheck records, he was discharged from his employment with Edward Jones on January 12, 2016 amid allegations that his “employment was terminated for violating Firm policy by soliciting and accepting a loan from a client without approval from the Firm.”

The investment and securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have purchased structured notes or other complex products from Merrill Lynch or its parent company, Bank of America.

According to a recent SEC press release, “Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay a $10 million penalty to settle charges that it was responsible for misleading statements in offering materials provided to retail investors for structured notes linked to a proprietary volatility index.” The issues surrounding the notes stemmed, at least in part, from disclosure of the fees paid by investors and the fee structure related to the “volatility index” to which the notes were linked, per the SEC.

For example, the notes reportedly were subject to a 2% sales commission and 0.75% annual fee. According to the SEC, for investors to earn back their original investment on the maturity date, the index would need to increase by at least 5.93%. The SEC also alleged that the offering materials failed to “adequately disclose” the 1.5% execution factor, which was an additional cost.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Christopher B Ariola.  Mr. Ariola was last employed and registered with Financial Telesis, Inc., an Aliso Viejo broker-dealer, from November 2012 to September 2014, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  He was previously registered with Bay Mutual Financial LLC from September 2004 to September 2012, according to BrokerCheck records.

FINRA filed Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2012034139101 against Mr. Ariola on August 25, 2016 alleging that he recommended that three elderly retiree investors invest a “substantial portion of their limited retirement assets in certain gold and energy stocks.”  The Complaint further alleged that these recommendations were unsuitable because they were not appropriate given each investor’s respective financial circumstances, investment objectives and low risk tolerances, and because the recommendations resulted in each account becoming concentrated in gold and energy stocks.  Gold is a commodity, which like energy stocks, can be traded.  Both commodities and energy stocks tend to risky investments, and can lead to large losses.

According to his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Ariola has been the subject of four customer complaints.  The latest customer complaint led to a FINRA arbitration proceeding, according to BrokerCheck records.  The BrokerCheck records reveal that the customer alleged churning and unsuitability.  Churning is generally defined as excessive trading by the broker in the client’s account to generate commissions.  FINRA Rules require that recommendations made by the broker to the customer be suitable.  This means that the broker must consider the investor’s age, investment experience, age, tax status, other investments, as well as other factors when making a recommendation to buy or sell securities.

The investment and securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Garden State Securities financial advisor Anthony Joslin.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Joslin was most recently with JP Turner & Co and Grayson Financial. Grayson Financial has since been expelled by FINRA according to industry records.

Mr. Joslin has at least seven customer disputes and 2 regulatory events in his history, per FINRA.

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Forbes recently published a list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors. This list is published annually and rates thousands of advisors based on asset under their management, revenue, experience, and compliance. The Malecki Law team noticed that some top managers have several disclosure events in their BrokerCheck record. BrokerCheck is a free tool from FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) that helps investors’ research brokers, investment advisors, and their firms.

Here is a list of a few of the top advisors with disclosure events for unauthorized trading, unsuitability, and more. (Not all top advisors on their list had reported events or all of the above reported events on BrokerCheck and the list below does not comprehensively include all top advisors with such disclosure events).

Lyon Polk ranked at #24 has 4 disclosure events between 1992-1994, according to Broker Check, they include allegations by customers of alleged unauthorized trading, misrepresentation, unsuitability, excessive trading, violation of commissions discount agreement. Each of these customer dispute was settled. In 1992, Lyon Polk was the subject of a regulatory disciplinary action, where he was sanctioned with suspension, censure, and a fine amounting to $27,500, per BrokerCheck.

Malecki Law’s team of investment fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding broker Brett A. Baffa. Mr. Baffa was most recently licensed through NYLife Securities before being terminated by the firm, per industry records.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Baffa has been the subject of two employment separations after allegations and a regulatory inquiry.

Mr. Baffa’s FINRA records indicate that in 2006, Mr. Baffa was “discharged” by J.P. Turner & Co, LLC for “failure to follow principal’s instructions; use of unapproved correspondence that included price predictions.”