Articles Tagged with investor fraud

In February 2016, academics Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos and Amit Seru at the University of Minnesota and University of Chicago business schools released a report titled “The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct” on financial advisers in the United States. The report reveals how rampant securities fraud and broker misconduct is throughout the country. For the purpose of the study, these academics have analyzed the full set of disclosures of approximately 10% of employees in the finance and insurance sectors between 2005 and 2015, and taken in to account customer complaints, arbitrations, regulatory actions, terminations, bankruptcy filings and criminal proceedings. Based on this study, 7% of advisers were reported to have engaged in misconduct. The actual unreported cases may add to this number.

Here at Malecki Law, it is our mission to protect individuals who have been victimized by unscrupulous brokers. Here are some excerpts highlighting the important findings from this study:

  • According to the report, prior offenders are five times more likely to repeat their misconduct as compared to an average adviser. Approximately one-third of advisers with misconduct reports are repeat offenders. That is why we encourage all investors to investigate their broker on FINRA’s BrokerCheck

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 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)

The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors in Tortoise Capital Advisors and explore their potential options for recovering their losses.

The Kansas-based Tortoise Capital Advisors is a “privately owned investment manager . . . that primarily provides its services to high net worth individuals . . . and caters to corporations, pooled investment vehicles, investment companies, and pension and profit sharing plans . . . typically invest[ing] in [the] energy and infrastructure sector,” per Bloomberg Business.

Among Tortoise’s portfolio of funds, a number of them declined between 17% and 36% in 2015 alone, per Morningstar.

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 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.

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.

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.

The investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints financial advisor Thomas E. Stratton-Crooke of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., based out of Beachwood, OH.

Records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”)  indicate that Mr. Stratton-Crooke has been suspended by FINRA for 10 business days and fined $10,000 for improperly executing discretionary transactions in customer accounts without prior written authorization from the customer or authorization from his firm.

According to his BrokerCheck Report, Mr. Stratton-Crooke was discharged by Merrill Lynch in 2014, after 25 years with the firm, for what is believed to be the same misconduct that led to his suspension by FINRA.

The investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding former stockbroker Robert H. Potter.  According to his BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Mr. Potter has been permanently barred by FINRA.  He has also reportedly been the subject of no less than three customer complaints.

Mr. Potter has reportedly been barred by FINRA for his failure to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that Mr. Potter comingled customer funds with his own personal funds.  Per FINRA, Mr. Potter was discharged from Cambria Capital in August 2015, after the firm questioned the validity of certain transactions involving Mr. Potter and his customers.

In 1997, Mr. Potter was the subject of a customer complaint alleging unauthorized, excessive trading, per FINRA.  FINRA records indicate that the customer recovered more than $66,000 as a result of their complaint.

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