Articles Posted in Investment Fraud

United Development Funding (“UDF”) has come under fire in recent months – being accused of operating like a “Ponzi scheme.”  It has allegedly disclosed that since April 2014, it has been under SEC investigation.

UDF operates several publicly-traded and non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) along with other real estate related companies, according to reports.  UDF reportedly operates in a manner that is different from traditional REITs – in that its assets are not real estate holdings, but rather development loans that it originates.

The UDF fund family is reportedly comprised of four public companies – United Mortgage Trust (non-traded), UDF III (non-traded), UDF IV (publicly traded symbol: UDF), and UDF V (non-traded).

FINRA’s recently released Regulatory and Examinations Priority Letter made specific mention of multiple critical areas that the regulator will be focused on for the upcoming year.  The one that we will focus on today is the Senior investor and the steps that are and should be taken to prevent elder abuse.

As we have discussed here before, with the growing population of senior aged investors, this demographic is becoming increasingly significant in the retail investor pool nationwide.  Baby boomers are beginning to hit retirement age just as advancements in technology and medicine are leading to longer and longer lifespans.

Per 2012 census data, there are 76.4 million baby boomers which represent close to one-quarter of the then estimated U.S. population of 314 million.  These figures have coupled with longer lifespans across the boards, means that there is the potential for disaster if baby boomers’ retirement savings are not properly managed.  FINRA recognizes that “the consequences of unsuitable investment advice can be particularly severe for this investor group since they rarely can replenish investment portfolios with fresh funds and lack the time to make up losses.”

The investment and securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints about Wells Fargo stockbroker Gregg D. Lazarescu.

According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Lazarescu has been the subject of at least two customer complaints while registered with his prior firm Morgan Stanley.

In addition to Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley, FINRA reports that Mr. Lazarescu was registered with MetLife, Chemical Investment Services Corp., Citicorp Investment Services, and Chase Investment Services Corp.

Shares of OncoMed (OMED) plunged more than 40% today, January 25th, in the wake of a report concerning a pancreatic cancer drug the company had reportedly been working on.  According to Marketwatch, “an independent data safety monitoring board advised ‘of several findings regarding futility’ of a Phase 2 treatment of pancreatic cancer.’”

Investors who have lost money in OncoMed may be legally entitled to recover some or all of their losses and are encouraged to contact the attorneys at Malecki Law to explore their rights.

Unfortunately, issues like the one presently facing OncoMed can happen in the market.  Even more unfortunate is that often times financial advisors will improperly advise their clients to take large positions in advance of the release of a report concerning a company’s prized drug, like Tarextumab.

The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against Florida stockbroker John T. Keyser. Mr. Keyser is reportedly registered with Dawson James Securities, Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida. Industry records indicate that Mr. Keyser has also recently been registered with Viewtrade Financial and SAL Financial Services.

According to BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Keyser has been the subject of three customer complaints and a suspension of his license.

In 1998, Mr. Keyser reportedly had his FINRA (then NASD) license to sell securities suspended for failing to pay an arbitration award against him.

The securities and investment fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors with complaints involving Scott Teich of Raymond James. Per his BrokerCheck Report, maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Teich is a registered stock broker with Raymond James, based out of Florida.

Mr. Teich’s BrokerCheck Report indicates that he has been the subject of at least six customer complaints. He has also reportedly been the subject of an “employment separation after allegations.”

In addition to Raymond James, Mr. Teich has also been registered with Gruntal & Co., First Colonial Securities, Paragon Capital Corp (which FINRA reports was “expelled” from FINRA in 2004).

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Timothy L. Pilkington.  Mr. Pilkington was employed and registered with Stephens, a broker-dealer with an office in Memphis Tennessee from January 2012 through March 2015, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  He was also previously registered with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, according to industry records.

According to his BrokerCheck, Mr. Pilkington was the subject of one customer complaint in 2009.  More recently, a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) was accepted by FINRA stating that Mr. Pilkington was barred from associating with any broker-dealer for failing to respond to the FINRA 8210 request for information.  8210 Requests require that people registered to recommend and sell securities must provide documents, testimony and information regarding matters under investigation.  According to the AWC, Mr. Pilkington failed to disclose two FDIC orders to FINRA.  One of those orders disclosed that Mr. Pilkington agreed to pay $2,500, where “the FDIC considered the matter and determined it had reason to believe that the [he] has engaged or participated in violations of law, unsafe or unsound banking practices and/or breaches of fiduciary duty.”  In another FDIC order, Mr. Pilkington was “prohibited from participating in the conduct of affairs of, or exercising voting rights in, any insured institution without the prior written approval of the FDIC.”

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

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Robert Emmet Gill.  Mr. Gill is employed and registered with Chelsea Financial Services, a broker-dealer with an office in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  He was also previously registered with J.P. Turner & Company, LLC, Grayson Financial, LLC, M.S. Farrell & Company, Inc. and Investors Associates, Inc.  Grayson and Investors Associates were expelled from FINRA in 2006 and 1998, respectively.

According to his BrokerCheck report, a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) was accepted by FINRA stating that Mr. Gill was fined $5,000 and suspended from associating with any broker-dealer for borrowing $100,000 from a customer without notifying his then-employer J.P. Turner & Company, in violation of industry rules.  Mr. Gill’s BrokerCheck report also discloses that he was “permitted to resign” from J.P. Turner based on the same allegations as those set forth in the AWC.

Mr. Gill’s BrokerCheck report sets forth that he was the subject of four customer disputes involving allegations of unsuitable investment recommendations, misrepresentations made and churning.  Three of those four disputes resulted in settlements of $700,000 (with Mr. Gill contributing $50,000 personally), $32,500 and $35,610, respectively, according to industry records.

The securities fraud attorneys are interested in hearing from investors with complaints involving Jeffrey G. Lyon.  Per his BrokerCheck Report, maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Lyon is no longer a registered stock broker.  Per BrokerCheck, Mr. Lyon was last licensed to sell investments through FINRA in 2013 when he was registered with Joseph Gunnar & Co LLC.

Mr. Lyon’s BrokerCheck Report also indicates that he has been the subject of at least two customer complaints in his final three years in the brokerage industry.  Per FINRA, the complaints against Mr. Lyon have alleged unsuitable investment recommendations and unauthorized trading.

In addition to Joseph Gunnar & Co., Mr. Lyon has also reportedly been registered with Charles Vista LLC and John Thomas Financial.  Both of these firms were expelled by FINRA in 2014 and 2013, respectively, per FINRA records.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Rudolf Malebranche.  Mr. Malebranche was employed and registered with Santander Securities LLC.  He was previously registered with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Chase Investment Securities Corp., Wachovia Securities, Morgan Stanley DW, Inc., Prudential Securities, Inc. and Whale Securities Co., L.P., according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

According to his BrokerCheck report, a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) was accepted by FINRA stating that Mr. Malebranche was fined $5,000 and suspended from associating with any broker-dealer for three months as a result of submitting a switch form, which authorized the sale of two mutual funds, after himself filling in the customer’s initials on the form without the authorization from the client.  As a result of this conduct, Mr. Malebranche was also discharged from employment with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, according to industry records.

Mr. Malebranche also was the subject of a customer complaint alleging unsuitability in connection with the sale of a fixed annuity, resulting in $15,892.28 repaid to the customer (more than the $15,650 requested), according to the BrokerCheck report.