Articles Tagged with financial advisor

Patrick Churchville of Rhode Island has been accused of orchestrating a $21 million Ponzi scheme and was recently sentenced to 7 years in prison by a federal judge, according to an Investment News report. Mr. Churchville is thefinancial-fraud-300x200 owner and president of ClearPath Wealth Management and according to SEC’s complaint, he allegedly diverted funds from investors to pay older investors, used their funds as collateral for loans or converted investments to benefit ClearPath Wealth Management. According to the news report, he allegedly used $2.5 million of borrowed money to buy a lavish waterfront home in Rhode Island.

Mr. Churchville started running his Ponzi scheme 2010 onwards and like in any Ponzi scheme, he added to his net worth at the cost of his victims, who lost their homes and all their savings. One of his victims was left on food stamps and needed heating assistance by the end of it, and others were forced back into the workforce in their retirement years. U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith called the whole scheme a “tragedy”. Churchville allegedly pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one of tax fraud for failing to pay more than $820,000 in taxes. He has also reportedly been ordered to pay restitution to his 114 victims although the number is unspecified.

Being victimized by financial fraud not only means lost savings but can completely wreak someone’s life and strain personal relationships. At Malecki Law, we regularly help victims of Ponzi scheme get justice and restitution. If you suspect a financial advisor or brokerage firm has been taking advantage of you or your loved ones, reach out for legal advice.

office_suit_corportate_237605_lThe securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Paul G. Liebezeit.  Mr. Liebezeit is currently registered to sell securities with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments at the broker-dealer’s Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania office, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Per his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Liebezeit was previously registered by LPL Financial LLC from December 2010 to October 2014, NRP Financial, Inc. from October 2009 to Determine 2010, and with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney from June 2009 to October 2009.

In 2016, Mr. Liebezeit was fined and suspended from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer for six months by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2014043011201 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. Liebezeit violated NASD Rule 3040 (Private Securities Transactions of an Associated Person) and FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) because from December 2013 to February 2014, Mr. Liebezeit recommended and then facilitated a $1,000,000 investment in a fund that was not approved for sale through LPL Financial.  According to the AWC, Mr. Liebezeit did not provide written notice of his participation in the transaction to LPL Financial, and did not obtain LPL’s written approval to participate in the transaction.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Robert E. Heath.  Mr. Heath was previously employed and registered with Presidential Brokerage, Inc. at the broker-dealer’s Colorado Springs, Colorado office, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Per his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Heath was previously employed and registered by AXA Advisors, LLC from December 2008 to December 2012, and employed by VALIC Investment Services Company from September 1990 to December 2008.

In 2016, Mr. Heath was fined and suspended from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer for three months by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2015046946301 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. Heath violated FINRA Rules 3240 (Borrowing From or Lending to Customers) and 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) because in July 2012, “while associated with AXA Advisors, Heath borrowed $7,500 from his customer … made one monthly interest payment to [the customer] in August 2012,” even though AXA Advisors prohibited their registered representatives to borrow money from their customers under any circumstances.

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This week, it has been reported that the Department of Labor proposed tougher laws after issuing new regulations requiring financial advisors and brokers managing 401k and retirement accounts to act in the best interest of their clients. These rules were proposed a year ago and after deliberating on it for a year, the White House has finalized these tougher requirements. However, it might be a year before these rules go into effect.

An academic study commissioned by the White House revealed that “conflicts of interest” in financial investing was costing Americans about $17 billion a year in retirement savings. Although brokers are required to only recommend “suitable” investments under the current “suitability standard”, they can push a more expensive product that pays a higher commission than a cheaper fund that would be equally appropriate for that investor.

The new rule fiduciary rule is aimed to at reducing fees and commissions that erode retirement savings and hold brokers to higher standards. It will cast a wider net on who is subject to the fiduciary standard.