Securities Lawyer Blog | Victim of Fraud?

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

Daniel Timothy Cowperthwaite (CRD #1398178, Pinecrest, Florida)

was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000 and suspended for three months by FINRA for allegedly received two loans improperly for approx. $4,300 from a client of his firm, without the firm’s knowledge or approval.

FINRA’s findings stated that Cowperthwaite repaid all but $500 after the client complained to the firm. The suspension is in effect from August 18, 2014, through November 17, 2014.
(FINRA Case #2013035441402)

DANIEL T. COWPERTHWAITE was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
04/2005 – 01/2013 PRUCO SECURITIES, LLC. (CRD# 5685) – CORAL GABLES, FL

04/2001 – 09/2004 JEFFERSON PILOT SECURITIES CORPORATION (CRD# 3870) – CONCORD, NH

09/1985 – 08/2000 PRUCO SECURITIES CORPORATION (CRD# 5685) – NEWARK, NJ

This ends the information from FINRA’s website.

Call the Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group if you sustained losses due to your broker/financial advisor for a free consultation on how to potentially recover those losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552.

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Oct/14

17

New York Broker/Dealer Sued by FINRA for Marketing of Unregistered Securities

BRUCE MEYERS (CRD# 1045447), owner and CEO of Meyers Associates, New York, was sued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) for alleged improper marketing of an unregistered securities offering of a pharmaceutical company. Meyers and another firm exec were the majority owners of the company, SignPath Pharma Inc.

According to FINRA, Meyers Associates, through Mr. Meyers, allegedly made exaggerated claims of price performance and omitted facts, including full disclosure of Meyers, the firm and ownership in SignPath Pharma.

According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Bruce Meyers has eleven disclosure events on his BrokerCheck report, with two pending, including the current October FINRA action.

BRUCE MEYERS is currently registered with the following securities firm(s):

MEYERS ASSOCIATES, L.P. (CRD# 34171)
45 BROADWAY, 2ND FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10006 Registered with this firm since 07/1994

BRUCE MEYERS was previously registered with the following securities firm(s):

Registered Dates Firm
09/1993 – 08/1995 JANSSEN-MEYERS CAPITAL GROUP, INC. (CRD# 29019) – NEW YORK, NY
09/1991 – 09/1994 D. H. BLAIR & CO., INC. (CRD# 6833) – NEW YORK, NY
03/1989 – 07/1990 GLOBAL CAPITAL SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 13358)
04/1983 – 02/1990 E. G. FRANCES CO., INC. (CRD# 7797)
09/1989 – 10/1989 IHG CAPITAL CORP. (CRD# 22465)
08/1988 – 04/1989 COMMONWEALTH ASSOCIATES (CRD# 20833)
09/1986 – 08/1988 I. A. RABINOWITZ & CO. (CRD# 5155)
05/1988 – 06/1988 COMMONWEALTH ASSOCIATES, INC. (CRD# 20833)
06/1985 – 05/1988 TEICHBERG, LOEB, WAXMAN, RABINOWITZ, INC. (CRD# 15714)
09/1984 – 07/1987 HICKEY, KOBER, INCORPORATED (CRD# 10290)
01/1985 – 03/1985 SECURITIES FIRST INCORPORATED (CRD# 15655)
05/1982 – 11/1982 BLINDER, ROBINSON & CO.,INC. (CRD# 5096)

If you sustained financial losses because of your stockbroker or financial advisor’s recommendations in unregistered securities, call Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses at 888-760-6552.

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Oct/14

16

FINRA Takes Action Against Four South Florida Brokers

In an October 15, 2014, article from the South Florida Business Journal, Brian Bandell lists the following four FINRA actions taken recently:

1. Andrew S. Taubman of Weston, FL, formerly with NFP Securities from 2005 to 2010 and now a principal at Fort Lauderdale accounting firm Kaufman, Rossin & Co., was fined $10,000 and suspended for six months.

In 2004, Taubman formed WFG in which he was 50 percent owner, received a salary, benefits and profit sharing. Taubman was also a non-operating owner of WAC, which purchased mortgages from WFG.

According to FINRA, allegedly Taubman did not disclose his activities as soon as he was hired to his employers. FINRA uncovered nine other outside businesses that Taubman was affiliated with from 1994 to 2010 that he also failed to disclose to his brokerage employers.

2. Richard W. Ohrn of Boca Raton, Florida, formerly a broker with JPMorgan Chase Bank, had a civil complaint filed against him by FINRA alleging that he forged or falsified the signatures of four clients on 12 documents. Ohrn allegedly changed clients addresses from their homes to the bank branch where he worked so they didn’t receive their statements. He withdrew $15,250 from the accounts of two elderly customers for his personal use, according to FINRA.

3. Daniel T. Cowperthwaite, of Pincrest, Florida, formerly a broker at Pruco Securities, was fined $5,000 by FINRA and suspended for three months for allegedly taking out $4,300 in loans from a customer and only repaying $3,800. The firm was not aware of the loan.

4. Jose Fernando Lozano, of Miami, a broker with ITAU Europa Securities, was fined $5,000 and suspended for one month. He allegedly photocopied customers’ signatures from one letter of intent onto another letter of intent.

Call Fort Lauderdale-based Soreide Law Group if you have sustained losses due to your broker/financial advisor for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552.

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John J. Katsock, Sr., 74, a financial advisor and accountant from Yardley, Pennsylvania, has been accused of stealing over $200,000 from a client’s trust. His business, J. J. Katsock & Company, is in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.

Katsock was charged with second degree theft, second degree deception and second degree misapplication of entrusted property. His bail was set at $75,000.

Allegedly, John Katsock diverted money from the trust accounts. Katsock directed his client to make estimated tax payments to the IRS and the State of New Jersey Division of Taxation on behalf of the trust. Officials allege that the trust owed almost no taxes, and Katsock’s scheme generated large tax refunds that he then deposited into the trust. Katsock then transferred the money to accounts he controlled.

If you have sustained investment losses due to your financial advisor call Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney call 888-760-6552. We represent clients nationwide.

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