ndependent Financial Group Sued Over Unreasonable Advice
Independent Financial Group (CRD#: 7717, San Diego, California) is a brokerage firm regulated by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) who has reported five regulatory events about the firm’s alleged violations of investment-related regulations. Also, several Independent Financial Group representatives, including Steven Collins, John Michael Cione and Leticia Hewko, have disclosed customer-initiated investment-related disputes. The following customer disputes concern claims against Independent Financial Group for sales practice violations including unauthorized trading, omissions, and unsuitable sales:
June 19, 2017 Arbitration Involving Independent Financial Group, Steven Collins
Steven Collins (CRD#: 4590987, Rockville, Maryland) has been a registered representative of Independent Financial Group since October 2, 2009. Collins’ FINRA BrokerCheck Report shows that a customer disputed his sales practices by filing FINRA Arbitration #17-01610 on June 22, 2017. First, the customer alleged that Collins or the firm breached a fiduciary duty and breached contract provisions. Second, the customer alleged that Collins made unauthorized trades in the customer’s investment advisory account. Third, the customer claimed that the firm or Collins violated FINRA Rules through the activities that took place in the customer’s account. On September 10, 2018, in order to settle the customer’s claims, Independent Financial Group agreed to pay the customer $20,000.00. Before joining Independent Financial Group, LLC, Collins was a registered representative of H. Beck, Inc. (Rockville, Maryland).
July 17, 2018 Arbitration Regarding Broker John Michael Cione
John Michael Cione (CRD#: 1742561, San Diego, California), who has been a registered representative of Independent Financial Group, LLC since December 10, 2003, disclosed that a customer complained about his sales practices. The customer named Cione in FINRA Arbitration #18-02569, filed on July 17, 2018. According to the customer, from September 2007 to August 2016, Cione gave the customer poor advice in regards to the customer’s investments in real estate investment trust (REIT) products, oil & gas investments, direct investment products, and a variable annuity. Cione’s alleged unsuitable investment recommendations apparently caused the customer to incur losses and missed investment opportunities. Specifically, the customer alleged to have: lost $83,321.00 in principal; lost out on $493,460.00 in investment opportunities; and paid $95,709.00 in investment advisory fees. This matter is still pending a resolution.
Records also show that National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”) issued Cione a censure and $2,000.00 fine according to a Decision & Order of Offer of Settlement. NASD found that when Cione was an AIMCO Securities Co., Inc. registered representative, he violated Article III, Section 1 of the Rules of Fair Practice.
March 26, 2018 Complaint Involving Independent Financial Group, Leticia Hewko
Leticia Hewko (CRD#: 6211451, Tustin, California) has been an Independent Financial Group registered representative since February 26, 2016. Hewko disclosed on her FINRA BrokerCheck Report that an Independent Financial Group, LLC customer complained about her sales practices on March 26, 2018. That customer claimed that Hewko did not provide the customer with important information pertaining to the sale of stock from the customer’s brokerage account. Apparently, Hewko solicited the transaction, failing to inform the customer about the tax ramifications. As a result, Independent Financial Group, LLC agreed on April 18, 2018 to pay the customer $13,875.00 to settle the matter. Evidently, Hewko personally contributed funds towards the settlement.
If you have suffered losses by investing with Independent Financial Group brokers such as Steven Collins, John Michael Cione or Leticia Hewko , call (888) 760-6552 for a free consultation with Soreide Law Group’s experienced counsel. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for investors who have been victim to broker and brokerage firm misconduct. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis and advance all costs.