The recent market correction has caused many people to worry about the performance of their securities accounts.  Senior-aged investors (and other conservative investors) are particularly at risk for losses in their accounts if they were inappropriately invested too heavily in equities and other alternative investments.

The Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal on August 24, 2015 notes that the low-yield bond environment has enticed some investors to “climb on the bandwagon of rising share prices.”  Brokers may be similarly tempted to recommend risky stocks to their conservative investors, and to recommend concentrated levels of stocks.  However, what may be suitable for a middle-aged investor may not be suitable for an senior-aged investor.

Suitability is an important investor-specific inquiry both the broker and broker-dealer must perform to ensure the investments that are recommended are appropriate given the age, relative wealth, experience and risk tolerance of each investor, among other factors.  A broker’s unsuitable recommendations could be especially problematic for those investors seeking stability and safety of principal, including senior-aged investors who rely on their securities portfolios to generate income.

The risks to these investors would include overconcentration in stock investments.  Overconcentration occurs when a portfolio is not appropriately diversified.  Generally, senior-aged investors and other conservative investors need portfolios that include an appropriately diversified mix of investments.  The risk to the investor of overconcentration in stocks is obvious: when the value of those stocks drop, the investor has instantaneous losses.  Because of this, it would be unsuitable in the low-yield bond environment to recommend only equity investments for conservative and senior-aged investors.

Investors have the right to seek to hold their stockbroker accountable for the losses in their securities account caused by inappropriate overconcentration and unsuitable recommendations.  Generally, the investor would bring an arbitration case with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

The attorneys at Malecki Law have successfully represented many senior-aged and other conservative investors in arbitrations against broker-dealers to recover losses sustained as a result of unsuitable and overconcentrated positions that were inappropriately recommended to them.  If you believe you have suffered losses in your securities account, as a result of questionable securities recommended to you, or questionable actions taken in your securities account, please contact us for a free confidential consultation.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in investigated possible claims on behalf of investors who have complaints regarding former stockbroker Manuel Dopazo.  According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Dopazo has been the subject of multiple customer disputes in just the past ten years.

Per FINRA, in 2015 a customer complaint involving Mr. Dopazo alleged misrepresentations, omissions, failure to supervise, and the recommendation of unsuitable investments seeking $640,000 in damages.

In 2009, Mr. Dopazo was involved with another customer dispute alleging a $30,000 loss, per BrokerCheck.  Another customer complaint, in 2008, alleged more than $50,000 in losses stemming from suitability violations.

Over his 21 years in the financial industry, Mr. Dopazo was registered with multiple firms including Keystone Capital, Cantella & Co., Raymond James Financial, Dreyfus Service Corp., Natwest Investor Services, Landmark Brokerage Services, MML Investors Services, and Massachussetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

If you or a family member lost money invested with Manual Dopazo, you are encouraged to contact the securities fraud lawyers at Malecki Law for a free consultation and case evaluation at (212) 943-1233.

Malecki Law has successfully brought securities actions on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of unscrupulous actions taken in their securities accounts, recovering millions of dollars for their clients.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to the financial news of today: actively engaging in fact-finding analysis on prospective cases from around the world. Our thorough knowledge of securities law’s history and fine points makes us ideal consultants for investors who have suffered losses due to misadvice from their broker or other financial counsel.

businessman-with-the-notebook-1-1362246-m

According to an article by Rob Lenihan of Thomson Reuters, published in August 2014, Sean McKessey, head of the SEC’s whistleblower program, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that the numbers [of whistleblower complaints] will soon grow and “we’re getting close to the sweet spot.” Malecki Law had reported on this Wall Street Journal article and examined the state of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower program, as it existed then, in this blog post. A year into it, let’s examine where we are at with the growing numbers.

During the 2014 fiscal year, the number of whistleblower tips and complaints received by the Commission grew 10.1 % from the year before to 3,620. The Dodd- Frank Whistleblower program, which promises cash rewards for those whose tips lead to a successful investigation by the SEC, has witnessed many milestones in past four years. In a recent development, SEC paid a handsome $3 million to a company insider in July 2015, who helped crack a complex fraud case.

According to Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Insiders may hold the key to helping our investigators unlock intricate fraudulent schemes,” and “by providing significant financial incentives for people to come forward, the SEC’s whistleblower program continues to be profoundly effective in helping us protect investors and hold wrongdoers accountable.” The SEC’s whistleblower program has already paid more than $50 million to 18 whistleblowers, since its inception in 2011, including $30 million in awards in 2014, more than doubling the $14 million rewards it paid in 2013. Let’s hope the trend continues!

In another record-breaking development, SEC announced an award of more than $30 million to a foreign whistleblower in September 2014. In Liu v Siemans AG(4) the Second Circuit court had ruled that Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation provisions do not apply to conduct abroad and dismissed a suit brought by a former employee of a Siemens subsidiary in China who claimed to have been fired after reporting potential corruption. Although the whistleblower is a foreign resident and none of the termination actions occurred within the United States, SEC stated that the plaintiff provided “key original information” leading to a successful enforcement action by the SEC concerning U.S. Securities violations. Therefore, in such instances the whistleblower protection provision is deemed to have extraterritorial applications although not implicitly set forth in the whistleblower provisions. In 2014, according to the Commission, tips have been received from individuals in 83 countries outside the United States, including the United Kingdom, India, Canada, China and Australia.

The initial reluctance to come forward seems to be wearing off and with a better effort to protect the rights of national and international whistleblowers, more and more tipsters are inclined to step forward. If you feel you have valuable information, consult Malecki Law about your options.

people-4-1163712The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Michael Fasciglione.  Mr. Fasciglione is believed to be registered with National Securities Corporation, based out of Mineola, NY.  He has also recently been registered with Oppenheimer & Co. and First Montauk Securities, according to industry records.

According to BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Fasciglione has been the subject of more than 10 customer complaints.  Stretching back as far as 1995, Mr. Fasciglione has been accused of recommending unsuitable investments to customers, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, excessive trading, fraud, unauthorized trading, taking excessive risk, misrepresentations, allowing a customer’s account to exceed comfortable margin balances, and charging excessive commissions, per FINRA records.

Of these customer disputes, FINRA records indicate that some customers received back tens of thousands of dollars in connection with their complaints.  One customer reportedly received back $300,000 in connection with an unauthorized trading complaint, while another reportedly received $120,000 in a suitability claim.

Mr. Fasciglione’s BrokerCheck also indicates that he has been the subject of two regulatory investigations.  In 2004, the New York Stock Exchange reportedly suspended Mr. Fasciglione for two months.  Just this past year, Mr. Fasciglione was reportedly suspended for one month and fined $5,000 for failing to timely amend his form U4, a FINRA licensing and disclosure document.

If you or a family member lost money invested with Michael Fasciglione, you are encouraged to contact the securities fraud lawyers at Malecki Law for a free consultation and case evaluation at (212) 943-1233.

Malecki Law has successfully brought securities actions on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of unscrupulous actions taken in their securities accounts, recovering millions of dollars for their clients.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to the financial news of today: actively engaging in fact-finding analysis on prospective cases from around the world. Our thorough knowledge of securities law’s history and fine points makes us ideal consultants for investors who have suffered losses due to misadvice from their broker or other financial counsel.

 

One of the well-known and strictly enforced rules in the securities industry is that brokers should not enter into undisclosed private loan transactions with their clients.  A Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) was recently accepted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) Department of Enforcement from Paul F. Gans, Jr., who was employed as a registered broker by Raymond James Financial, Inc. up until November 2014.  According the AWC, Mr. Gans inappropriately loaned money to a “family friend” in exchange for a three-year promissory note bearing 8% annual interest, without disclosing the transaction to his employer and ensuring it complied with his employer’s policies and procedures.  Mr. Gans was accused by FINRA of violating FINRA Rule 3240 (Borrowing from or Lending to Customers) and Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade).

Rule 3240 prohibits brokers from borrowing from or lending to customers, unless the transaction is permitted by the employing firm after disclosure and in compliance with the firm’s policies and procedures.  According to the AWC, Mr. Gans did not disclose the promissory note transaction to his employer.

As detailed in the AWC, Mr. Gans was suspended from association with any FINRA member for ten business days, and fined $5,000.  The firm, Raymond James Financial, Inc., disclosed on FINRA BrokerCheck that Mr. Gans was discharged for his lack of disclosure of an outside business activity, which may or may not refer to the promissory note transaction.  It was also disclosed on FINRA BrokerCheck that Mr. Gans was also discharged from his prior employer Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2000 for also violating that firm’s policies and procedures, that time for mailing correspondence without prior approval.  FINRA BrokerCheck also revealed that Mr. Gans was the subject of one customer complaint in 1994 for allegedly failing to inform a client in the decline in value of a “mutual investment,” which claim was settled by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Malecki Law has successfully brought many securities actions on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of unscrupulous actions taken in their securities accounts, including recommendations to enter into outside business activities such as promissory notes.  If you believe you have suffered losses as a result of questionable securities recommended to you, or questionable actions taken in your securities account, please contact us immediately for a free confidential consultation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced this week that two Citigroup Affiliates, Citigroup GlobaCitigroup (1)l Markets Inc. (CGMI) and Citigroup Alternative Investments LLC (CAI), agreed to pay $180 million to settle charges of defrauding investors with false and misleading claims. According to allegations, these Citigroup affiliates had claimed that their hedge funds, Falcon fund and ASTA/MAT,  were low-risk products safe for traditional bond investors, however, these funds collapsed during the financial crisis.

According to SEC’s investigations, the above mentioned Citigroup affiliates raised almost $3 billion from 4,000 investors by making false and misleading representations for their hedge funds. They are reported as having continued to claim that these funds were low-risk and made false assurances about liquidity even as the funds started collapsing. The investigation also revealed that CAI raised $110 million in additional investments even when the fund was in dire situation and Citigroup employees presented the funds to investors in a manner that was at odds with the fine print in the written and marketing materials provided to investors. The Citigroup affiliates consented to settle without admitting or denying the findings that they willfully violated Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933, GCMI willfully violated Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and CAI willfully violated Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act and Rules 206(4)-7 and 206(4)-8. The firms have also consented to censure and will cease and desist from future violations.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to national and international financial news of today. This represents a classic case of Securities Fraud where investors are misled into investing in unsuitable products. SEC holds investment firms and brokers accountable for looking out for investors’ best interests and the team at Malecki Law represents and guides investors who have been victimized by false claims, false assurances and misrepresentations. For a comprehensive list of kinds of Securities Fraud please click here and contact us if you feel you have suffered similar losses.

businessman-silhouette-1237565 The securities fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors with complaints involving Dwarka Persaud.  Per his BrokerCheck Report, maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Persaud is a registered stock broker with Buckman, Buckman & Reid, based out of Shrewsbury, NJ.

Mr. Persaud’s BrokerCheck Report indicates that he has been the subject of at least six customer complaints.  At the center of several of these complaints was churning and excessive commissions.  Churning is the frequent,over-trading of a customer’s account by the broker to generate high commissions paid by the customer, benefitting the broker and the firm.  Churning is against the law and industry regulations.

Mr. Persaud is reportedly the subject of at least two currently pending customer complaints, each alleging and “unauthorized trading.”  One of these complaints also alleges churning.  The other alleges that the unauthorized trading caused more than $45,000 in losses.

Just last year, Mr. Persaud was reportedly the subject of another customer dispute alleging “churning,” “breach of fiduciary duty” and “unsuitable investments.”  The case, alleging $100,000 in damages, was reportedly settled for $25,000.

In 2011, Mr. Persaud was again the subject of a “churning, excessive commissions” complaint that settled for $55,000, per FINRA.  Mr. Persaud was the subject of a 2000 customer complaint, in which the customer was reportedly granted $40,000 in damages.

In addition to Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Mr. Persaud has also reportedly been registered with Garden State Securities, Andrew Garrett, Inc., The Concord Equity Group, Gunnallen Financial and Aura Financial Services.

If you or a family member lost money invested with Dwarka Persaud, you are encouraged to contact the securities fraud lawyers at Malecki Law for a free consultation and case evaluation at (212) 943-1233.

Malecki Law has successfully brought securities actions on behalf of investors who suffered losses as a result of unscrupulous actions taken in their securities accounts, recovering millions of dollars for their clients.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to the financial news of today: actively engaging in fact-finding analysis on prospective cases from around the world. Our thorough knowledge of securities law’s history and fine points makes us ideal consultants for investors who have suffered losses due to misadvice from their broker or other financial counsel.

Per Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) announcement this week, a former registered representative of Caldwell International Securities Corp., Richard Adams aka Rasheed Aree Adams, has been barred permanently from the securities industry for churning customer accounts, other securities violations, and failure to report many unsatisfied judgments and liens on his U4 Registration Form as stipulated in FINRA rules. In addition to Caldwell, he was also previously registered with PHD Capital and E1 Asset Management Inc. from 2002 to 2011.

FINRA’s investigation revealed that Adams excessively traded the accounts of two customers, between July 2013 and June 2014, resulting in profits and commissions in the excess of $57,000 for himself while resulting in losses amounting to over $37,000 for customers. The findings stated that as a result Adams willfully violated section 10(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rule 10B-5, willfully failed to amend Form U4, and failed to provide documents requested by FINRA. Adams neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings.

Richard Adams is no stranger to regulatory and legal proceedings and has a reported history of customer disputes and violations. According to the CRD 13 judgement/liens, 5 customer disputes, 2 investigations and 1 regulatory disclosures have been reported against him. In 2001 there were allegations of unsuitability, unauthorized trading, and churning made against him while he was employed at The Golden Lender Financial Group, Inc, and this customer dispute was finally settled for $10,000. Currently, there is a pending FINRA investigation against Adams for potential violation of FINRA rules 2010 and 2111, and willful violations of Article V, section 2 from 2014.

FINRA aims to protect retail investors from broker activities such as churning and aggressively pursues brokers who put their own commissions ahead of customer interests. New York securities law attorneys of Malecki Law have successfully represented investors in cases involving account churning and overtrading, i.e. when a broker trades an account too frequently, usually for his or her own profit.

Please contact Malecki Law if you suspect you have been a victim of securities fraud. To assess if your broker is responsible for misconduct, read here for typical signs associated with securities fraud and misconduct. Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA’s BrokerCheck at no cost.

Malecki Law is investigating potential claims by investors relating to Dennis C. Lee, a former AXA Advisors, LLC broker who was recently terminated by the firm in April 2015.  According to Mr. Lee’s publicly available Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, he was “discharged for failing to disclose financial issues requiring Form U4 amendments, mismarking trade tickets, and placing securities trades away from AXA.”  If substantiated, each of these failings could be potentially serious violations of securities laws and rules.

According to Mr. Lee’s BrokerCheck report, he has had other legal issues, including one FINRA Arbitration proceeding that was filed by a customer in February 2015 alleging that he made unsuitable investment recommendations, transferred funds to a new account without the customer’s knowledge or consent, engaged in unauthorized trading and submitted policy documents containing a forged signature.  The BrokerCheck report also details two settlements between Mr. Lee and American Express and Ballys Park Place Casino Resort.

It is believed that other investors may have been misinformed about trading that may have taken place in their accounts that were managed by Mr. Lee.  It is further believed that Mr. Lee may have used his ethnicity and religious background to obtain clients.  The SEC has cautioned investors against affinity fraud, which refers to investment scams that prey on members of religious or ethnic communities, the elderly or other professional groups.  More information regarding affinity and other investment-related fraud can be found on the Malecki Law website.

Malecki Law has previously successfully represented investors in claims arising from affinity fraud and other sales practice violations.  If other investors who entrusted Mr. Lee with their trading, retirement or insurance accounts have questions regarding their account statements, they should contact to attorneys at Malecki Law for a free and confidential consultation.  Malecki Law lawyers would also like to speak with anyone who may have any further information regarding Mr. Lee.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to the financial news of today: actively engaging in fact-finding analysis on prospective cases from around the world. Our thorough knowledge of securities law’s history and fine points makes us ideal consultants for investors who have suffered losses due to misadvice from their broker or other financial counsel.

Malecki Law is investigating possible claims by investors, involving Bright Lake LP and Bright Lake Management, and possibly  Ilan Preis, Mikhail Filshtinskiy, and Carlos Mejia, against various entities including large broker dealers, such as Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan or others.

Apparently, some investors in Bright Lake LP recently received correspondence from Mr. Preis at Bright Lake Management which informed them of large scale losses sustained in their accounts over a relatively short time period.  It is believed that some investors were misled about the risk and other material information relating to the Bright Lake LP fund, as well as that it may have been sold in concert with registered persons at brokerage firms.

These Bright Lake investors may be left confused as to what if anything can be done to recover all or at least some of these losses.  The securities law attorneys at Malecki Law are presently investigating these possibilities for recovery.

So, any and all investors who believe they may have suffered losses in Bright Lake LP or through other investments with Mr. Preis, Mr. Mejia and Mr. Filshtinskiy are encouraged to contact our offices to explore their legal rights and options for recovery, including potential claims against Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan or others..

As part of their investigation, the lawyers at Malecki Law are eager to speak with investors or anyone else with information about Bright Lake LP, Bright Lake Management, Mr. Preis, Mr. Mejia or Mr. Filshtinskiy.

According to FINRA BrokerCheck, Mr. Preis was registered through FINRA to sell securities from 2005 thought 2012, but is not presently registered with any FINRA member firm.  Per his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Preis was discharged from Citigroup in October 2012 amid allegations of wrongdoing in a customer account.

It is believed that after being discharged from Citigroup, Mr. Preis started Bright Lake Management which operates the Bright Lake LP fund.  Mr. Filshtinskiy and Mr. Mejia may have known Mr. Preis and may have worked with him.

According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Mr. Filshtinskiy and Mr. Mejia were both recently registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, a FINRA registered broker dealer.  Mr. Filshtinskiy was reportedly discharged in April 2014 following allegations of a “loss of management confidence involving certain activities undertaken for the purpose of meeting enhanced compensation goals.”

Mr. Mejia is reporting as having been registered with Wells Fargo Advisors from 2010 through April of 2015.  As of June 2015, Mr. Mejia has been reported as being registered with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, per FINRA.

If you or a family member invested in Bright Lake LP, contact the securities fraud lawyers at Malecki Law for a free consultation and case evaluation at (212) 943-1233.

Malecki Law takes a proactive and informed approach to the financial news of today: actively engaging in fact-finding analysis on prospective cases from around the world. Our thorough knowledge of securities law’s history and fine points makes us ideal consultants for investors who have suffered losses due to misadvice from their broker or other financial counsel.