Articles Posted in Featured Investigations

exclamation-point-icon-1444386The investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law announce the firm’s investigation into potential securities law claims against broker-dealers relating to the improper sale of natural gas and oil linked structured notes and similar products to investors.

Malecki Law is interested in hearing from investors who purchased structured notes issued by well-known financial institutions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), UBS (NYSE: UBS), and Barclays (NYSE: BCS).

These investment products, often bearing such names as “Phoenix,” “Plus,” “Enhanced Return,” “Principal Protected,” “Bullish,” “Leveraged Upside” or “Accelerated Return,” were reportedly marketed to investors as a way to make significant returns and income from the rising price of oil.  In addition to promises of increased gains, investments like these are frequently also sold to investors with assurances that their potential losses would be limited and their initial investment would be protected.

However, the steep declines in the price of oil over the past 12-18 months have cost investors in these products deeply, according to reports.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the market for these and similar structured notes linked to the price of oil and other energy related assets totals at least $1.3 billion for 2015 alone.  There were more than 300 such products issued – nearly one per day – in 2015, per the WSJ.

Despite the enormous volume of structured notes sold to investors by large firms, products like these frequently have no secondary market, meaning that they are illiquid.  This makes it very difficult for investors to sell after they made their initial investment.  Occasionally, investors may be able to get out of illiquid investments, but more often they are forced to sell at a significant discount, thereby incurring large losses.  For example, one HSBC-Morgan Stanley note reportedly was issued to investors at $10 and is now valued on paper at roughly $7.23 but will only sell for $7.02, as of last week – a roughly 30% decline.

Unfortunately, the complexity of many structured products frequently hides significant risk factors.  These risk factors apparently came to fruition for investors in one recent structured note issued by Barclays in April of 2014.  As reported by Bloomberg, the largest deal of 2014, a $104.6 million issuance from Barclays, lost 42 percent of its value.  In total, $437.1 million in structured notes matured in the first 10 months of 2015.  Out of that pool, investors lost a staggering 44%, or roughly $194.3 million, according to reports.

As a general matter, these investments are too risky and unsuitable for retirees or other investors who are in the market for conservative investments because of their complexity, illiquidity, and hidden risks.  Yet, large Wall Street firms continue to create complex products and sell them to their customers –generating large commissions and fees for themselves – without regard to the devastating losses their customers may suffer.

Investors are not without hope, however.  Those who suffered losses in oil linked structured notes and related products may have a claim against the firm that sold them and could be entitled to reimbursement for their losses.

Investors are encouraged to contact the investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law for a free, no obligation consultation and case evaluation at (212) 943-1233.

The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors in MainStay Investments’ Cushing series Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and Energy Equity mutual funds.  MainStay Investments is a subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company.

Among the MainStay Cushing portfolio of funds, a number of them declined between 33% and 57% in 2015 year to date, per Morningstar.  These funds include:

  • MainStay Cushing® Royalty Energy Inc A (CURAX)
  • MainStay Cushing® Royalty Energy Inc I (CURZX)
  • MainStay Cushing® Royalty Energy Inc Inv (CURNX)
  • MainStay Cushing® Royalty Energy Inc C (CURCX)
  • MainStay Cushing® MLP Premier I (CSHZX)
  • MainStay Cushing® MLP Premier A (CSHAX)
  • MainStay Cushing® MLP Premier Investor (CSHNX)
  • MainStay Cushing® MLP Premier C (CSHCX)

For example, CURCX, a fund that reportedly manages more than $61.2 million in assets, has had its net asset value decline significantly in the past year, from approximately $9.06 NAV in January 2015 to approximately $3.23 in January 2016, according to recent reported pricing data provided by Morningstar.  According to Morningstar data, CSHZX, a master limited partnership, is reported to manage more than 1.15 billion in assets and suffered a price decline of approximately 50% over the past year, down to approximately $10.72 in January 2016 from approximately $21.03 in January 2015.

These MainStay Cushing funds were said to have been marketed to investors and sold by financial advisors at brokerages such as Cetera Advisors LLC, Mid Atlantic Capital Corp., JPMorgan, Ameriprise Brokerage, Raymond James, RBC Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley, and Securities America Inc.

Investments in these or other MainStay Cushing funds have proven to be risky, and only suitable to certain investors.  If you were promised good returns with safety to your principal over a short investment horizon, yet were not informed of the many risks associated with energy sector investments, you may have a claim premised on suitability.

Given that MLPs and other energy sector funds are non-traditional products and typically focus on one sector with significant historical volatility, great care should be taken by an advisor to ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor in light of their specific risk tolerance, investment objectives and other factors.  When a product is sold to an investor, despite being unsuitable for that investor, the financial advisor’s firm may be liable to the investor for those recommendations.

Investors who lost money in these investments at the recommendation of their financial advisor may be entitled to recover their losses from the brokerage house who sold it to them.  If you or a family member invested in MainStay Cushing funds, you should contact the attorneys at Malecki Law for a free consultation and to explore your legal rights and options.

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.

The investment and securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Florida-based UBS stockbroker Brian J. Gold.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Gold has been the subject of no less than five customer complaints and was discharged from Morgan Stanley DW in 2004.

In addition to UBS and Morgan Stanley, FINRA reports that Mr. Gold has also been registered with Merrill Lynch in Florida, Advest in Connecticut, and Prudential in New York City.

Per FINRA, Mr. Gold was discharged from Morgan Stanley, where he had worked from 2000 to 2004 “after allegations” and in the midst of a firm investigation into his conduct.

That same year, in 2004, a customer made allegations of unsuitability against Mr. Gold, which was reported on his FINRA BrokerCheck Report.

In 2006, Mr. Gold was again the subject of a customer complaint alleging unsuitability; according to FINRA records, this was settled for roughly 50% of the alleged damages.

Again in 2009, a customer of Mr. Gold complained regarding unsuitability, and FINRA records indicate the matter was settled for $150,000.

The next year, 2010, Mr. Gold was again the subject of a customer complaint alleging unsuitability, and this claim was reportedly settled for $125,000.

Finally, this past October 2015, Mr. Gold was the subject of a fifth customer complaint, again alleging unsuitability, per FINRA.

Unsuitability is especially dangerous for elderly and retirement age investors because unsuitable investments frequently involve the investor taking on more risk than they should.  When these risks manifest, large and devastating losses may be incurred.  The older an investor is at the time of the losses, the less time they have to recover those losses.  This is why it is imperative – and required – for brokers to understand their client’s risk tolerance and investment objective before making a recommendation.

If you or a family member lost money with Brian J. Gold, 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.

Oil briefly dropped below $30 per barrel today.  For those who drive SUVs, this may feel like a blessing. However, for those who are heavily invested in Oil and Gas, it can be frightening.  People who invested in Oil and Gas at the recommendation of their financial advisor may be feeling anger and confusion, in addition to that fear – these investors rightfully want answers.

Aside from buying Oil and Gas futures directly, there are two frequently used products that investors use to invest in Oil and Gas – Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

As we wrote here last year, investors lost millions as gas prices dropped at the beginning of 2015.  As prices have continued to slide over the past 12 months, losses have compounded.  This is terrible news for those whose financial advisors recommended that they invest in Oil and Gas, and then convinced them to stay in and “ride it out” on promises of a price recovery.

Unfortunately, MLPs can be very risky investments.  Normally reserved for sophisticated and high-net-worth individuals, these can be completely inappropriate for your normal “mom and pop” investors.  Unfortunately, some financial advisors sell them to their clients anyway, without fully disclosing the potentially devastating risks – as we highlighted here in 2014.

According to reports, a number of oil and gas MLPs have lost more than 60% in the past twelve months.  These include:

  • EMES     Emerge Energy Services LP           -88.88%
  • LNCO     LinnCo                                                -83.00%
  • LINE       Linn Energy LLC                              -81.69%
  • BBEP      BreitBurn Energy Partners LP      -80.39%
  • HCLP      Hi-Crush Partners LP                     -78.80%
  • MCEP    Mid-Con Energy Partners LP        -76.07%
  • EVEP      EV Energy Partners LP                  -75.15%
  • LGCY      Legacy Reserves LP                        -74.32%
  • MEMP   Memorial Production Ptrs LP       -73.48%
  • VNR       Vanguard Nat. Resources LLC      -73.23%
  • SDLP      Seadrill Partners LLC                     -64.67%
  • PAGP     Plains GP Holdings                         -63.98%
  • KMI        Kinder Morgan Inc                          -62.68%
  • ETE        Energy Transfer Equity LP            -61.01%

 

Investors who lost money in these investments at the recommendation of their financial advisor may be entitled to recover their losses.

It is the right of any and all investors who believe they may have suffered losses as a result of recommendations of their financial advisor to contact our offices to explore their legal rights and options. If you or a family member invested in Oil and Gas MLPs, contact the investment 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.

The investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are investigating potential claims by investors against Morgan Stanley stockbroker David H. Bindelglass.  According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Bindelglass, who works out of Morgan Stanley’s Paramus, New Jersey branch, has been the subject of at least three customer complaints.

Mr. Bindelglass is believed to have regularly recommended investments in Puerto Rican bonds to his clients.  It is believed that Mr. Bindelglass may have recommended such investments in high concentrations.  In high concentrations, even investments believed to be “safe” can be unsuitable and result in significant losses.  If a financial advisor recommends investments in a concentration that is unsuitable, the investor may be entitled to recover some or all of their losses.

According to FINRA records, since 2006, Mr. Bindelglass has been accused by at least three different customers of recommending unsuitable investments.  In each case, FINRA records indicate that those investors were able to recover for their losses.

If you or a family member lost money invested with David Bindelglass, 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 improper 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.​

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding former stockbroker James J. Bracey IV.  According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Bracey is no longer FINRA licensed to sell investments.  He has reportedly been the subject of no less than four customer complaints.

Mr. Bracey has also reportedly been barred by FINRA for his conduct related to real estate projects.  FINRA reports that this misconduct involved Mr. Bracey receiving an unapproved loan from a customer in violation of FINRA rules and falsifying a customer document.  Per FINRA, Mr. Bracey was discharged from LPL Financial, where he had worked since 2010, “after allegations.”

In 2010, Mr. Bracey was the subject of two customer complaints, per FINRA.  One complaint alleged “misrepresentation and suitability issues,” while the other alleged “misrepresentation of the REITs she purchased and the fees involved.”  FINRA records indicate that one customer recovered $105,000 as a result of their complaint.

The attorneys at Malecki Law are regularly contacted by and regularly represent individuals who have lost money as a result of misrepresentations and unsuitable investment recommendations made by their financial advisor.

In 2003, Mr. Bracey was discharged from his job at Morgan Stanley amidst allegations of impropriety, per FINRA.

In addition to LPL and Morgan Stanley, FINRA reports that Mr. Bracey has also been registered with Multi-Financial Securities Corp. and CIBC World Markets.

If you or a family member lost money invested with James J. Bracey IV, 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.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Jared Cohen.  Mr. Cohen is reportedly registered with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., based out of Armonk, NY.  He has also recently been registered with IDS Life Insurance Company, according to industry records.

According to BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Cohen has been the subject of two customer complaints in the past six years.  Mr. Cohen has been the subject of complaint alleging misrepresentations of investment risk and over-concentration in non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”), as well as misrepresentations surrounding the sale of preferred stock recommendations, per FINRA records.

Of these customer disputes, FINRA records indicate that one customer initiated a FINRA arbitration and recovered $25,000 in a settlement with Ameriprise.

The recommendation of REITs can be especially risky for investors because non-traded REITs are notoriously illiquid, meaning they cannot be easily sold if the investor needs access to the money.  Since the recession, many investors suffered significant losses in non-traded REITs.

Other investments that can be equally illiquid and risky, if not more so, include Oil & Gas Limited Partnerships, Tenants-In-Common real estate investments (“TICs”), and variable annuities.

If you or a family member lost money invested with Jared Cohen, you are encouraged to contact the securities fraud lawyers at Malecki Law for a free consulation 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.

The securities fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors with complaints involving John Smallwood of Commonwealth Financial Network.  Per his BrokerCheck Report, maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Smallwood is a registered stock broker with Commonwealth, based out of Red Bank, NJ.

Mr. Smallwood’s BrokerCheck Report indicates that he has been the subject of at least two customer complaints in the past three-plus years.  Per FINRA, the complaints against Mr. Smallwood have alleged unsuitable investment recommendations and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.

FINRA records indicate that Mr. Smallwood’s customers have recovered $90,000 and $97,500 respectively in connection with their complaints.

In addition to Commonwealth, Mr. Smallwood has also reportedly been registered with Securities America, Inc., Multi-Financial Securities Corp., Vestax Securities Corp., LPL, and Walnut Street Securities.

If you or a family member lost money invested with John Smallwood, 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.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors with complaints involving Adam F. Coblin. Per his BrokerCheck Report, maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Coblin is currently not a registered stock broker or investment advisor. He was previously registered with the Gilford Securities Incorporated in New York.

Mr. Coblin’s BrokerCheck Report indicates that he has been the subject of at least ten customer complaints.  At the center of several of these complaints was unsuitable investments leading to huge financial losses, negligence in handling customer accounts, unauthorized sales. In 2013, Adam Coblin resigned from Gilford Securities while he was being reviewed for customer complaints involving unsuitable investments, activity and negligence.

According to BrokerCheck, there are numerous customer disputes in the past, dating from 2012 to 1995, involving Mr. Coblin which have been settled by awarding damages of $910,000, $3,000, $107,500 and $32,000. He has also been registered with the GMS Group LLC, Spencer Clarke LLC, Broadband Capital Management LLC, Dalton Kent Securities Group, Bluestone Capital Partners, Gruntal & Co., Prudential Securities Inc., Oppenheimer & Co., Merill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Co., Bear Stearns & Co.

If you or a family member lost money invested with Adam Coblin, 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.

 

The securities fraud team at Malecki Law is interested in investigating possible claims on behalf of investors who have complaints regarding broker and investment advisor Jeffrey A. Fladell. Registered with RBC Capital Markets, Fladell has been the subject of multiple investigations, customer disputes and settlements since 1987, according to Financial Industry’s Regulatory Authority (FINRA’s) BrokerCheck.

In 2014, there was a customer complaint reported against Fladell for alleged unsuitable investments and overconcentration in municipal bonds which was adverse to their investment objectives, and the claimant was granted $75,000 in damages. In another customer complaint involving similar securities misconduct allegations, the customer dispute was settled for $1,000,000 in 2013. Previous complaints registered with FINRA against Fladell involve allegations of unsuitability, overconcentration and misrepresentation dating back to 1987.

In 1992, National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) subjected him to a statutory disqualification as a result of his guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of submitting a false document to the IRS in connection with his income tax return. Fladell was previously registered with J.B. Hanauer & Co, Halpert and Company, Travelers Equities Sales, Swanton Securities, Hermes Securities and Bernard Schnitzer.

If you or a family member lost money with Jeffrey A. Fladell, please call the Securities Fraud attorneys at Malecki Law to discuss your options at (212) 943-1233. Initial consultation is free of charge. 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.