Securities Lawyer Blog | Victim of Securities Fraud?

Jul/15

29

Former Top Producer with Merrill Lynch Indianapolis Barred by FINRA

THOMAS J. BUCK (CRD# 1024868), a former top producer with Merrill Lynch, Indianapolis, Indiana, was barred by FINRA amid several allegations, including failing to discuss pricing alternatives with his clients, improperly charging customers, and unauthorized trading. Buck was fired from Merrill Lynch in March, but is currently employed by RBC Wealth Management of Indianapolis.

According to FINRA, Buck allegedly decided to use commission-based accounts, although it would have been less expensive for clients to remain in fee-based accounts, and was accused of misleading clients regarding the advantages or disadvantages. Also, Buck traded on behalf of clients without proper authorization.

After Buck’s termination from Merrill Lynch, he racked up eleven more customer complaints. These disputes involve unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading, among other allegations.

THOMAS J. BUCK has been registered with the following firm since 04/2015:

RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC (CRD# 31194) 8888 KEYSTONE CROSSING, SUITE 200, INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46240-4610

THOMAS J. BUCK was registered with the following firm:

12/1981 – 04/2015 MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED (CRD# 7691) – INDIANAPOLIS, IN

If you have become a victim of unauthorized trading or other improper actions by your broker or financial advisor, please contact Soreide Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney at 888-760-6552.

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Jul/15

29

FINRA Orders Morgan Stanley of Ridgeland, Mississippi, to Pay Clients $2.4 Million

In a recent FINRA arbitration, Morgan Stanley of Ridgeland, Missippi, has been ordered to pay a group of physicians and their families, $2.4 million plus fees and interest. These were the clients of a former Morgan Stanley broker, STEVEN M. WYATT (CRD# 2522129). Wyatt was fired by Morgan Stanley in 2012. This case is one of many brought against Wyatt and Morgan Stanley. There have been four previous cases which have settled without admission of guilt, two cases in which Wyatt was found liable, and there are currently two cases pending.

Wyatt was accused of unauthorized and excessive trading. Allegedly, Wyatt purchased thinly-traded stocks, speculative exchange-traded funds, and other high risk securities.

Allegedly, Morgan Stanley lacked supervision and failed to see the ‘red flags,’ including Wyatt’s unauthorized trading. Other employees at Morgan Stanley named in the case were the branch manager, Fred Eugene Brister III, and advisor, Hilary Zimmerman.

According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, STEVEN M. WYATT was previously registered with the following firms
06/2009 – 07/2012
MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY (CRD# 149777) – RIDGELAND, MS
12/2007 – 06/2009
MORGAN STANLEY & CO. INCORPORATED (CRD# 8209) – RIDGELAND, MS
09/1994 – 12/2007
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC. (CRD# 7059) – JACKSON, MS

Soreide Law Group represents our clients nationwide before FINRA. If you were a former client of Steve Wyatt of Morgan Stanley, call for a no-cost consultation with an attorney on how to potentially recover your investment losses: 888-760-6552.

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Today, July 24, 2015, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities revoked the registration of KWEN Y. CHUN (CRD# 3136403) also known as KEN CHUN, 58 years-old, of Midland Park, New Jersey. Chun pled guilty to stealing more than $650,000 from at least eight of his clients and using the investors’ money for his own personal benefit.

Chun was working as a registered representative for MetLife Securities, Inc., Fairfield NJ (from November 1998 to July 2014) when he converted his clients’ funds to his own use. Chun stole from his clients without authorization and deposited their money into his own bank account or into an account he controlled using one of his client’s identity. Chun took advantage of several of his investors because of their limited knowledge of English, or their lack of understanding as far as what exactly was being done with their money. Chun is no longer an employee at MetLife Securities, Inc.

KWEN Y. CHUN (Ken Chung), according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck was previously registered with the following firms:

11/1998 – 07/2014 METLIFE SECURITIES INC. (CRD# 14251) – FAIRFIELD, NJ
11/1998 – 07/2007 METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (CRD# 4095) – LAKE SUCCESS, NY

Defauded investors may have a claim against MetLife Securities, Inc., which was Ken Chun’s supervising firm where he was registered. If you sustained investment losses due KWEN Y. (KEN) CHUN, call Soreide Law Group for no-cost consultation on how to potentially recover your losses at 888-760-6552. Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide.

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Anthony Diaz (CRD #4131948, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania)

(Anthony Diaz currently has 20 Customer Disputes Pending on his FINRA BrokerCheck.)

(Also, please read our blog on Anthony Diaz from September 4, 2014:

http://www.securitieslawyer.com/securitieslawyerblog/?s=Anthony+Diaz&submit=Go)

was barred by FINRA for allegedly enticing several clients to enter into variable annuity (VA) exchanges, often subject to significant surrender charges, without a reasonable basis for recommending those exchanges. Diaz failed to conduct any due diligence or quantitative analysis for his clients.

FINRA’s findings stated that Diaz falsified the net worth of clients in order to satisfy the net worth requirements. Diaz misled or attempted to mislead his member firms and the issuers of the products into allowing these clients to purchase investments for which they were ineligible. Also, Diaz attempted to induce an insurance company to transfer a client’s VA to his control by altering the signature date on a transfer authorization form.

FINRA’s findings also stated that Diaz made false statements of material fact to induce customers to purchase securities, and Diaz falsified his member firm’s books and records by creating VA switch forms with false reasons for the exchanges.

FINRA also found that Diaz made unauthorized trades in clients’ accounts.

(FINRA Case #2011030254902)

Anthony Diaz was previously registered at the following firms:

09/2012 – 04/2015
IBN FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (CRD# 42360) – SCOTRUN, PA
03/2012 – 09/2012
SANDLAPPER SECURITIES, LLC (CRD# 137906) – SCOTRUN, PA
08/2011 – 03/2012
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS, INC. (CRD# 40375) – SCOTRUN, PA
04/2011 – 08/2011
KOVACK SECURITIES INC. (CRD# 44848) – SCOTRUN, PA
03/2010 – 04/2011
MATRIX CAPITAL GROUP, INC. (CRD# 33364) – NEW YORK, NY
03/2009 – 03/2010
SII INVESTMENTS, INC. (CRD# 2225) – SCOTRUN, PA
06/2005 – 04/2009
FIRST ALLIED SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 32444) – SCOTRUN, PA
12/2004 – 06/2005
ROUND HILL SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 35223) – ALAMO, CA
12/2002 – 12/2004
RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (CRD# 6694) – ST. PETERSBURG, FL
07/2000 – 12/2002
EDWARD JONES (CRD# 250) – ST. LOUIS, MO
03/2000 – 06/2000
HORWITZ & ASSOCIATES, INC. (CRD# 5611) – HIGHLAND PARK, IL

This ends the summation of information from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other Actions July 2015.”

Soreide Law Group represents our investors nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). If you feel you have inappropriately been placed in investments that were not appropriate for your portfolio, call Soreide Law Group and speak to an attorney at: 888-760-6552.

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Thomas Morley Hogle (CRD #3047483, Houston, Texas)

was barred by FINRA for failing to provide FINRA-requested documents and information into an investigation that he allegedly made unsuitable investment recommendations in a 101-year-old client’s securities account.
(FINRA Case #2015044304801)

Thomas M. Hogle was previously registered with the following firms:

10/2011 – 05/2015 B.B. GRAHAM & COMPANY, INC. (CRD# 41533) – ORANGE, CA
04/2008 – 09/2011 NELSONREID, INC. (CRD# 45503) – HOUSTON, TX
05/2005 – 03/2008 AURORA FINANCIAL SERVICES, L.L.C. (CRD# 43149) – HOUSTON, TX
10/2001 – 05/2005 A. G. EDWARDS & SONS, INC. (CRD# 4) – ST. LOUIS, MO
07/1998 – 06/2001 MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED (CRD# 7691) – NEW YORK, NY

This ends the summary of information from FINRA’s website July 2015 Disciplinary Report.

Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide. If you or an elderly family member sustained financial losses due to your broker or financial advisor’s recommendations, call for a no-cost consultation on potential recovery your losses at: 888-760-6552.

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Jul/15

23

Illinois Broker Barred by FINRA for Misappropriation of Client’s Funds

Margaret Kopecki (CRD #1260147, Winnetka, Illinois)

was barred by FINRA and ordered to pay $14,793.99, plus interest, in restitution to an elderly client for allegedly converting the client’s funds.

According to the FINRA report, the elderly client allegedly gave Kopecki $75,000 to sponsor a community outreach program. However, Kopecki used $14,793 for her own personal use and paid her personal expenses, which were unrelated to the outreach program. Kopecki did this without the elderly client’s permission.

FINRA’s findings also stated that Kopecki improperly deposited and commingled the client’s funds in her own bank account. The FINRA findings stated that Kopecki failed to amend her Form U4 to disclose an unsatisfied civil judgment.
(FINRA Case #201103078120)

Margaret Kopecki was previously registered with the following firms:

06/2010 – 09/2012 INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL GROUP, LLC (CRD# 7717) – GLENVIEW, IL
09/2009 – 05/2010 LPL FINANCIAL CORPORATION (CRD# 6413) – GLENVIEW, IL
04/2010 – 04/2010 AUSDAL FINANCIAL PARTNERS, INC. (CRD# 7995) – GLENVIEW, IL
08/2003 – 09/2009 WATERSTONE FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. (CRD# 10078) – GLENVIEW, IL
01/2002 – 08/2003 LINSCO/PRIVATE LEDGER CORP. (CRD# 6413) – BOSTON, MA
04/1991 – 12/2001 RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (CRD# 6694) – ST. PETERSBURG, FL
10/1985 – 04/1991 STIFEL, NICOLAUS & COMPANY, INCORPORATED (CRD# 793) – ST. LOUIS, MO
07/1985 – 10/1985 FIRST PARK EQUITIES, INC. (CRD# 5269)

This ends the info from FINRA’s Disciplinary Actions July 2015.

If you or your elderly family member have suffered investment losses because of your broker/financial advisor, please call Soreide Law Group for your no-cost consultation on how to potentially recover those losses at 888-760-6552. We represent our clients nationwide before FINRA.

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Jul/15

23

Did You Invest In UBS ETRACS 2xM Lvg Lng Alrn MLP Infr ETN (MLPL)?

Soreide Law Group is currently investigating claims on behalf of investors in UBS ETRACS 2xM Lvg Lng Alrn MLP Infr ETN (MLPL). This investment may clearly be inappropriate for many investors, in particular seniors who wanted safe, risk-free investments in their conservative, retirement portfolios. FINRA has warned investors of the volatility of exchange traded notes (ETNs).

The investment seeks to replicate, net of expenses, 200% through utilizing leverage, the monthly performance of the Alerian MLP Infrastructure index. The index provides exposure to the infrastructure component of the Master Limited Partnership asset class. Its constituents each earn at least 50% of their EBITDA from assets that are not directly exposed to changes in commodity prices. The index is a composite of 25 energy infrastructure MLPs.

Several of the Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) seem tax efficient to most. These investments place their main focus on energy. However, these MLPs have taken a real hit with the collapse of the oil prices. With the possibility of interest rates rising, the oil prices could take an even greater tumble. Increasing supply of oil, declining cartel influences because of a more global market, and weak global economies, could result in a major downward spiral of these stocks.

If your broker or financial advisor encouraged you to invest in the highly volatile UBS ETRACS 2xM Lvg Lng Alrn MLP Infr ETN (MLPL), when in fact you were interested in only low-risk investments for your conservative portfolio, call Soreide Law Group for a no-cost consultation with an attorney at (888) 760-6552.

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Jul/15

22

Important Investor Information on Private Placements

Private Placement are sold pursuant to Regulation D of the Securities Act to accredited investors. FINRA Notice to Members 03-71, “Non-Conventional Investments”, warns of the dangers of placing investors into investments that don’t fall into a common category.

All of the investments listed below can be classified as “Non-Conventional” and according to FINRA 03-71 these investments should not be sold without:

(1) performing due diligence to understand the features of the product;
(2) perform a reasonable basis suitability analysis;
(3) perform a customer specific suitability analysis;
(4) provide a balanced disclosure of both the risks and rewards, especially when selling to a retail investor;
(5) implement appropriate internal controls; and
(6) training registered persons regarding the features, risks, suitability of these products.

Brokerage firms that sell Private Placements rely on 3rd party opinions to perform their due diligence. One such widely used 3rd Party due diligence firm is that of the law firm of Mick & Associates. Mick & Associates, according to their website has performed due diligence into the following energy private placements:

Oil States Trading Sponsor Opinion
Legacy Income Fund I, Ltd. (Oil States Trading, Production Program)
ICON Oil & Gas Public Fund 2012 (Drilling)
Waveland Resource Partners II, L.P. (Leasebank Program)
Waveland Capital Group, LLC Sponsor Opinion
Noble Access Fund 13 Program (Royalty Program)
U.S. Energy Alpha 2012 (Drilling)
Catalyst Energy 2012 (Drilling)
Penneco Oil & Gas 2012 (Drilling)
Hard Rock Exploration 2012 (Drilling)
Atlas Resources Series 32-2012 (Drilling)
MDS Energy Sponsor Opinion
MDS 2012 Marcellus Shale Development, LP (Drilling)
Bradford Drilling Associates 32 (Drilling)
APX Drilling Partners 2012, LP (Drilling)
Aztec Oil & Gas XII Program (Drilling)
Energy Hunter/Magnum Hunter Sponsor Opinion
Miller Energy Resources Sponsor Opinion
Resources Royalty, LLC (Royalty Program)
Coachman Bakken Income Fund (Production/Drilling)
Coachman Bakken Drilling Fund II (Drilling)
Reef 2012-A Private Drilling fund (Drilling)
Franklin Square Energy & Power Fund (BDC)
Madison Capital Energy Income Fund III (Royalty Program)
Vista Drilling Program 2012 (Drilling)

If your stock broker or financial advisor sold you any private placement that you feel wasn’t suitable for you, call the securities arbitration law firm of Soreide Law Group at (888) 760-6552. Representing investors nationwide before FINRA.

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Jul/15

20

Did You Experience Losses in UBS ETRACS Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs)?

Investors in Master Limited Partnerships (MLP) have been hard hit in 2015 suffering devastating losses. UBS offers the following exchange traded notes (ETNs) that use leverage to track a multiple of the following MLP indexes.

These investments might not be suitable for all investors. They typically offer a higher current yield than the underlying index, but the pricing will be much more volatile and may not be suitable for all investors.

If you feel your broker over concentrated your account into an ETRACS Exchange Traded Note call (888) 760-6552 to speak with Securities Lawyer at Soreide Law Group.

MLPI: linked to the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index
MLPL: linked to the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index
MLPG: linked to the Alerian Natural Gas MLP Index
MLPW: linked to the Wells Fargo Master Limited Partnership Index
BDCS: linked to the Wells Fargo Business Development Company Index
BDCL: linked to the Wells Fargo Business Development Company Index
RWXL: linked to the Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Select Real Estate Securities Index
DVYL: linked to the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index
SDYL: linked to the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index
MORL: linked to the Market Vectors Global Mortgage REITs Index
DVHI: linked to the NYSE Diversified High Income Index
DVHL: linked to the NYSE Diversified High Income Index
CEFL: linked to the ISE High Income Index
FMLP: linked to the Wells Fargo MLP Ex-Energy Index
LMLP: linked to the Wells Fargo MLP Ex-Energy Index
HDLV: linked to the Solactive US High Dividend Low Volatility Index
SMHD: linked to the Solactive US Small Cap High Dividend Index
LRET: linked to the MSCI US REIT Index

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Soreide Law Group recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of an investor who purchased the Tonon Bioenergia S.A. 9.250% Senior Notes due 2020. Tonon Bioenergia is a Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer which has been reportedly seeking debt restructuring due to the fact that Brazil’s sugar and ethanol producers are struggling because of a fall in sugar prices. The current drop in prices is the lowest drop in six years. This is due to the worst drought in eighty years and a multi-year cap on ethanol prices. This makes it nearly an impossible for the producers to meet their obligations. Forty-seven ethanol and sugar mills closed since 2011 and seventy are under bankruptcy protection.

Recently, Tonon Bioenergia announced that its subsidiary, Tonon Luxembourg S.A., offered to exchange all of its outstanding $300,000,000 debt with the 9.25% Senior 2020 Notes for a new “step-up Senior notes due 2020″. If this doesn’t happen, Tonon Bioenergia S.A. 9.250% notes will likely default. Soreide Law Group is interested in speaking to investors who purchased Tonon notes at the recommendation of their stock broker or financial advisor.

Tonon’s balance sheet reflects losses for several years leading up to the issuance of these notes to investors. Investors who purchased the Tonon Bioengergia S.A. 9.250% Senior Notes may be able to recover their investment losses by filing a claim in arbitration against the brokerage firms that recommended their purchase.

For more information call Securities Lawyer, Lars Soreide, at (888) 760-6552 or visit http://www.SecuritiesLawyer.com.

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