Securities Lawyer Blog | Victim of Fraud?

Oct/14

29

Palm Beach Gardens Broker Fined $110,000 and Barred by the OFR

Ralph Oelbermann (CRD# 1962900) an investment advisor and broker from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was fined $110,000 by state regulators and barred by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) from working in Florida’s financial industry.

Oelbermann was previously registered at LPL Financial and J.W. Cole Financial, both of Palm Beach Gardens. It was reported that Oelbermann did not respond to the administrative complaint by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. He was terminated after customers allegedly reported unauthorized trading in their accounts.

The OFR alleged that Oelbermann had 15 trading accounts but 12 of them were not funded by clients. In the non-funded accounts, he would allegedly purchase securities close to the end of the month and then sell it all within 15 days. This in turn made Oelbermann $23,200 in commissions.

According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Ralph Oelbermann was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

10/2013 – 12/2013 J.W. COLE FINANCIAL, INC. (CRD# 124583) – PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL

12/2012 – 10/2013 LPL FINANCIAL LLC (CRD# 6413) – PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL

09/2011 – 11/2012 SECURITIES AMERICA, INC. (CRD# 10205) – PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL
07/2008 – 10/2010 NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION (CRD# 7569) – BOCA RATON, FL
09/2001 – 08/2008 GUNNALLEN FINANCIAL, INC (CRD# 17609) – PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL
07/1997 – 09/2001 FIRST UNION SECURITIES FINANCIAL NETWORK, INC. (CRD# 11025) – ST. LOUIS, MO
07/1997 – 08/1997 WORTHINGTON CAPITAL GROUP, INC. (CRD# 28595) – GARDEN CITY, NY
04/1996 – 07/1997 INVESTORS ASSOCIATES, INC. (CRD# 958) – HACKENSACK, NJ
FINRA expelled the firm in 05/1998
07/1994 – 04/1996 CORPORATE SECURITIES GROUP, INC. (CRD# 11025) – ST. LOUIS, MO
06/1989 – 08/1994 HIBBARD BROWN & CO., INC. (CRD# 18246) – NEW YORK, NY
FINRA expelled the firm in 02/1996

Call the Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your investment losses as a result of your broker/financial advisor’s recommendations at 888-760-6552.

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Oct/14

28

Attorney Lars Soreide Quoted in Article on UBS Puerto Rico Bond Cases

In an October 28th. 2014, InvestmentNews article by Mason Braswell,
“UBS Facing Nearly $1 billion in Puerto Rico Claims,” attorney Lars Soreide of Soreide Law Group is quoted by the author commenting on the cases he has filed in the alleged UBS Puerto Rico bond fraud. Soreide Law Group is still actively filing select UBS Puerto Rico lawsuits.

Excerpts from the article appear below:

“Claims tied to UBS Wealth Management Americas’ Puerto Rico closed-end municipal bond funds have risen to nearly $1 billion, the firm said in its third-quarter earnings report Tuesday.

Total damages sought exceed $900 million, up from $600 million in the second quarter and $300 million in the first quarter, according to the report. Clients of UBS’s Puerto Rico unit who owned the Puerto Rico municipal bonds have alleged fraud, misrepresentation and unsuitability, the firm said.

“There’s a very aggressive marketing campaign going on in Puerto Rico among lawyers,” said Lars Soreide, an attorney who is representing some investors in the funds.

The complaints have been cropping up since the funds started to lose value rapidly in August 2013 as investors became skeptical of Puerto Rico’s ability to pay back its debts.

In February, a shareholder action was filed against a number of UBS entities alleging hundreds of millions in losses. Another federal class action was filed in May seeking damages for investor losses from May 2008 to May 2014, according to the firm’s earnings report.

Earlier this month, the firm settled with the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for $5.2 million over charges that its brokers may have made unsuitable recommendations in selling the funds.

UBS said in its earnings report that an internal review had shown that some clients, mostly on the advice of one broker, invested proceeds of non-purpose loans in closed-end fund securities in violation of UBS policies.

UBS said it had set aside it estimated it would need to cover the actual damages, but did not disclose the amount. Last quarter, the firm set aside $44 million.

UBS spokesman declined to comment but the firm has said in the past that the funds had performed well for more than 20 years and provided additional tax benefits to investors. Other firms, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, also face litigation.”

If you purchased funds from UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico or through UBS in the United States, please call Soreide Law Group at (888) 760-6552 for a free consultation on how to recover your investment losses. Soreide Law Group is currently representing investors nationally and internationally against UBS.

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Oct/14

28

Two Indiana Brokers Barred by FINRA

Blair Christopher Mielke(CRD #1878222, Evansville, Indiana) and Frederick William Shultz(CRD #5239977, Evansville, Indiana)

were barred by FINRA for allegedly participating in undisclosed private securities transactions, engaging in undisclosed outside business activities, and failure to report their outside business activities to their firm.

FINRA’s sanctions also alleged that Shultz and Mielke failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for information and/or documents. Also, Shultz caused his firm to maintain inaccurate records and misused client funds by misallocating them to a limited liability company as profits.

This has been appealed to the SEC and the sanctions are in effect pending review.
(FINRA Case #2009019837302)

BLAIR C. MIELKE was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

06/2007 – 11/2009 BROOKSTONE SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 13366) – EVANSVILLE, IN
FINRA expelled the firm in 10/2012
12/2004 – 06/2007 FFP SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 16337) – EVANSVILLE, IN

05/2003 – 12/2004 WATERSTONE FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. (CRD# 10078) – BOSTON, MA

03/1998 – 05/2003 FFP SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 16337) – CHESTERFIELD, MO

09/1997 – 12/1997 FIRST ALLIED SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 32444) – SAN DIEGO, CA

06/1996 – 09/1997 LASALLE ST SECURITIES, L.L.C. (CRD# 7191) – ELMHURST, IL

02/1995 – 06/1996 FFP SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 16337) – CHESTERFIELD, MO

10/1988 – 02/1995 AAL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CORPORATION (CRD# 18387) – MINNEAPOLIS, MN

FREDERICK W. SHULTZ was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

06/2007 – 11/2009 BROOKSTONE SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 13366) – EVANSVILLE, IN
FINRA expelled the firm in 10/2012
12/2006 – 06/2007 FFP SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 16337) – EVANSVILLE, IN

The above summation of information is from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

Contact the Soreide Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney on how to potentially recover your investment losses at 888-760-6552. The Soreide Law Group has represented clients nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).

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Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (CRD #705, St. Petersburg, Florida)

FINRA censured and fined Raymond James & Associates $22,500. FINRA’s findings stated that allegedly Raymond James failed to execute customer limit orders in OTC (over-the-counter) securities after Raymond James traded each security for its own market-making account, and occasionally, failed to execute the order at a price that would have satisfied each customer’s limit order.

FINRA also stated that allegedly Raymond James & Associates failed to immediately publish a bid that reflected the price and the full size of customer limit orders for OTC equity securities the firm held that were at a price that would have improved the firm’s bid in these securities.
(FINRA Case #2011028038301)

This summation of information was obtained on FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

Call Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney on how to potentially recover your investment losses at 888-760-6552. Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).

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Oct/14

24

Claims Filed Against Former VSR Financial Services Broker of Naples, Florida

PAUL C. LARSEN (CRD# 1066833), formerly of VSR Financial Services, has had a long history of complaints with FINRA. He also has been sued many times for selling Tenant-in-Common (TIC) investments, non-traded REITs, and oil and gas investments.

Larsen was permanently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public in 2011. Allegedly, Larsen would not cooperate with a FINRA investigation into his activities regarding, CW Capital, Yokam Ranch and Camenisch Fann.

The last know location of Paul Larsen was Naples, Florida. Allegedly, Larsen is currently involved in selling insurance, real estate, and investment opportunities targeting Christians.

Many people trusted Larsen with their life savings, and now find themselves without their retirement accounts. Some of his former clients asked to not have their money placed in high-risk, illiquid investments, but were placed in high-risk investments such as TICs, REITs and oil and gas investments instead, causing them to lose their life savings. There have been reports listing possible victims’ losses totaling over $6 million as a result of Paul Larsen’s alleged actions.

According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Paul Larsen was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
06/2004 – 09/2010 VSR FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (CRD# 14503) – NAPLES, FL

05/2002 – 06/2004 PROEQUITIES, INC. (CRD# 15708) – BIRMINGHAM, AL

10/2001 – 06/2002 ROAN-MEYERS ASSOCIATES, LP (CRD# 34171) – NEW YORK, NY

08/1995 – 10/2001 FAS WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC. (CRD# 10164) – SARASOTA, FL

04/1993 – 08/1995 DEAN WITTER REYNOLDS INC. (CRD# 7556) – PURCHASE, NY
01/1989 – 12/1989 R.J. STEICHEN & COMPANY (CRD# 694)
03/1988 – 01/1989 R.J. STEICHEN & COMPANY (CRD# 694)
07/1986 – 03/1988 A. G. EDWARDS & SONS, INC. (CRD# 4)
09/1982 – 07/1986 IRI SECURITIES CORPORATION (CRD# 10004)

If you were a client of Paul Larsen, VSR Financial Services, or a similar situation, and lost your investment, please call Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney at 888-760-6552. We represent clients nationwide before FINRA.

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Oct/14

22

Connecticut Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty in “Cherry Picking” Scheme

NOAH L. MYERS (CRD# 2387620) 43, an investment advisor from Lyme, Connecticut, pled guilty October 20, 2014, in federal court to defrauding his clients by “cherry-picking” securities. Myers admitted taking profits of $460,000 for himself, while his clients lost over $2 million. The majority of his clients who lost their investments were retired or using their accounts for their retirement funds. They had specified ‘low-risk’ investments. Myers is the owner of MiddleCove Capital, LLC, which is located in Centerbrook, Connecticut.

Myers would assign a trade to an account after he saw whether it was profitable, which is defined as “cherry-picking.” Myers admitted to the “cherry-picking” and admitted taking profits from the successful investments for himself and other favored accounts, while passing the losses on to accounts he did not favor.

Myers’ fraud was discovered by employees of MiddleCove. In 2010 these employees discovered illegal trading through a computer program which had been set up to detect favorable allocation of profitable day trades. Noah Myers pled guilty to one count of security fraud which could bring a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine. Myers will be sentenced January 12, 2015.

NOAH L. MYERS was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
02/2008 – 04/2012 PURSHE KAPLAN STERLING INVESTMENTS (CRD# 35747) – CENTERBROOK, CT

02/1994 – 02/2008 CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC. (CRD# 7059) – ESSEX, CT

08/1993 – 02/1994 JOHN HANCOCK DISTRIBUTORS, INC. (CRD# 468) – BOSTON, MA

08/1993 – 02/1994 JOHN HANCOCK MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (CRD# 5181) – BOSTON, MA

Soreide Law Group represent clients nationwide. If you were a victim of securities fraud, call for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses at: 888-760-6552.

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Alan J. Becker (CRD #4870553, Bedford, New Hampshire)

was assessed a deferred fine of $46,045, including the disgorgement of commissions received for $36,045, and was suspended by FINRA for 18 months for allegedly making unsuitable recommendations to six clients in the sales of variable universal life policies (VULs) based on their financial situations.

FINRA’s findings stated that Becker made inaccurate statements and failed to make disclosures regarding the risks of VULs. Becker failed to disclose his connection with a sale of a VUL to one customer, and in his recommendation to increase the face value of the VUL another customer owned.

FINRA’s findings also stated that despite the fact that Becker knew a customer had not agreed to purchase a VUL, he surrendered a variable annuity that the customer already owned, and used the proceeds to purchase a VUL with a face value of $1,500,000 on the customer’s behalf.

FINRA’s findings also included that Becker recorded false information on VUL policy applications for four customers regarding their net worth.
The suspension is in effect from August 18, 2014, through February 17, 2016.
(FINRA Case #2011030400501)

Alan J. Becker was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
08/2011 – 06/2012 MML INVESTORS SERVICES, LLC (CRD# 10409) – BEDFORD, NH

09/2005 – 08/2011 NYLIFE SECURITIES LLC (CRD# 5167) – BEDFORD, NH

The above summation of information is from FINRA’s website listed under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

If you or a family member have become victims of insurance fraud, contact an insurance fraud attorney for a free consultation on how to recover your investment losses at 888-760-6552. Soreide Law Group will represent Insurance Fraud Victims in Federal Court, State Court and before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).

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The Fort Lauderdale-based, Soreide Law Group, obtained the following summary of information from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

Ane S. Plate (CRD #1977401, Deland, Florida)

was barred by FINRA for an alleged 15 unauthorized trades in a client’s firm account, resulting in the cash proceeds of $176,080.

FINRA’s findings stated that allegedly Plate transferred the $176,000 in cash to the client’s bank account. Plate then made out 15 checks payable to herself and deposited the 15 checks into her own bank account, totaling $132,358, for her personal use.

FINRA’s report also states that allegedly Plate arranged for bi-weekly transfers from her client’s firm account to another bank account belonging to one of her relatives in which Plate transferred $7,700.

(FINRA Case #2014041705101)

Ane S. Plate was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

05/2005 – 06/2014 WELLS FARGO ADVISORS FINANCIAL NETWORK, LLC (CRD# 11025) – ORLANDO, FL

07/2003 – 05/2005 WACHOVIA SECURITIES, LLC (CRD# 19616) – ST. LOUIS, MO

07/2001 – 07/2003 PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES INCORPORATED (CRD# 7471) – NEW YORK, NY

03/1999 – 07/2001 MORGAN STANLEY DW INC. (CRD# 7556) – PURCHASE, NY

This ends the summary of information from FINRA’s website.

If you have become a victim of securities fraud or unauthorized trading, please contact Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney at 888-760-6552.

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Oct/14

20

St. Petersburg Broker Suspended by FINRA for Failure to Execute a Trade Order

Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group recently obtained this summary of information from FINRA’s website under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

Richard Happle (CRD #1095540, St. Petersburg, Florida)

was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000 and suspended by for 10 business days. Allegedly, Happle failed to execute a client’s trade order.

FINRA’s findings stated that allegedly Happle’s client asked him to sell all shares of a stock held in his account at the market open of the following day. On the following day, Happle did not sell the client’s shares at the market open because the stock price was declining rapidly and he wanted to discuss the decision to sell with the client.

After the client learned that Happle did not sell the shares, he instructed Happle to sell the shares immediately. From the time the market opened until the execution of the sell order, the client lost an additional $28,000. Happle and his member firm compensated the client for his losses.
The suspension was in effect from September 2, 2014, through September 15, 2014.
(FINRA Case #2012034739701)

Richard Happle was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
10/1984 – 12/2013 RAYMOND JAMES & ASSOCIATES, INC. (CRD# 705) – TAMPA, FL

03/1983 – 11/1984 EARL W. SHOMBER & CO., INC. (CRD# 13111)

This ends the information from FINRA’s website.

Call the Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover the losses you may have incurred as a result of your broker/financial advisor’s recommendations at 888-760-6552.

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Oct/14

20

Vero Beach Florida Broker Barred by FINRA for Misappropriation of Client’s Funds

The Soreide Law Group, based in Fort Lauderdale (888) 760-6552, obtained the following summary of information from FINRA’s website, under “Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions, October, 2014.”

Arhonda T’Lene Guinn (CRD #4401132, Vero Beach, Florida)

was barred by FINRA for allegedly converting $12,100 from a client’s account at her firm for her own use.

FINRA’s findings stated that without the client’s knowledge or consent, Arhonda Guinn transferred $12,100 from the client’s firm account to a bank account belonging to her landlord. Allegedly, Guinn falsified an authorization letter her client had signed previously. After the money was transferred to the landlord’s account, the client’s funds were used to pay Guinn’s rent for six months.

(FINRA Case #2014041192301)

Arhonda T’Lene Guinn was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
03/2009 – 05/2014 STIFEL, NICOLAUS & COMPANY, INCORPORATED (CRD# 793) – VERO BEACH, FL

01/2009 – 03/2009 STANFORD GROUP COMPANY (CRD# 39285) – VERO BEACH, FL

01/2008 – 01/2009 WACHOVIA SECURITIES, LLC (CRD# 19616) – VERO BEACH, FL

09/2001 – 01/2008 A. G. EDWARDS & SONS, INC. (CRD# 4) – VERO BEACH, FL

The summary of information from FINRA’s website ends here.

Call Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your investment losses at 888-760-6552.

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