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Scott Patrick Klor of Midlothian, Texas submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for allegedly engaging in unapproved private transactions in violation of NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010.

In March 2011, Scott Patrick Klor registered with LPL Financial LLC as a General Securities Representative and General Securities Principal. According to FINRA , Klor solicited investors, including some of his firm customers, to form an LLC to purchase a variable life insurance policy for $1.4 million on the life of an elderly individual with a terminal illness. The findings stated that the transaction was structured as a viatical settlement and Klor did not notify his firm of his involvement. FINRA stated that Klor used his Firm email account to communicate with investors and received a four-percent interest in the LLC. According to FINRA, when the insured passed away the death benefit on the policy was worth less than invested and the investors who owned 90 percent of the LLC lost over $200,000. Additionally, Klor allegedly made false statements on the Firm’s annual compliance questionnaires when asked whether he had ever participated in a viatical settlement. Continue Reading

Gary Arthur Forrest of Swartz Creek, Michigan submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he has been fined and suspended for allegedly engaging in unapproved private transactions in violation of FINRA Rules 3280 and 2010.

In February 2007, Gary Arthur Forrest joined American Portfolio as a General Securities Representative where he remained until his termination on November 16, 2016. According to the FINRA findings, Forrest engaged in private securities transactions involving the sale of Woodbridge promissory notes totaling $826,986 to 15 investors, 13 of whom were his firm’s customers. The findings stated that Forrest sold the promissory notes, despite being denied approval from his firm upon request. In addition, Woodbridge later filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition and subsequent judgment required Woodbridge and it former owner to disgorge their ill-gotten gains. Continue Reading

Cory Lee Mireau of Eden Prairie, Minnesota submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for allegedly engaging in unapproved private transactions in violation of NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rules 3240, 3270 and 2010.

In July 2006, Cory Lee Mireau joined Ameriprise as a General Securities Representative and Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Representative. According to the FINRA findings, Mireau borrowed $150,500 from two customers and used $140,000 to personally invest in private transactions without notice or approval from his firm. The findings stated that Mireau allegedly failed to repay the principal within two years with a 10 percent interest and the agreed shared 10 percent of his initial profits with one of the customers. The FINRA findings also stated that Mireau also performed outside consulting work for one of the customers and received $1,250 in compensation without approval from his firm. In addition to those findings, Mireau also allegedly falsely attested on annual compliance questionnaires that he had not engaged in unapproved private transactions and disclosed all outside business activities to his firm. Continue Reading

James Bradley Schwartz of New York, New York submitted an Offer of Settlement to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he allegedly churned, excessively traded and engaged in unauthorized transactions in willful violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, Rule 10b-5, and FINRA Rules 2111, 2020 and 2010.

From June 2013 through June 2016, James Bradley Schwartz was registered with Aegis Capital Corp. as a General Securities Representative. According to the FINRA findings, James Bradley churned and excessively traded customer accounts.  He executed approximately 535 trades in four customers’ accounts resulting in a combined loss of more than $660,000. The findings also stated that Schwartz’s received more than $194,000 of the generated gross sales and commissions of approximately $277,705. In addition to the FINRA findings, James exercised de facto control over the customers’ accounts and executed 261 trades with a value of approximately $10 million without his customers’ authorization, including unauthorized trades in a deceased customers account. FINRA stated that Schwartz did not have a reasonable basis to believe that his trading in the customers’ accounts were suitable. Continue Reading

Daniel Gordon Maughan submitted an Offer of Settlement to the  Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he allegedly churned, excessively traded and made unsuitable recommendations in a customer’s account in violation of Section 10(b) of the exchange Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5, and FINRA Rules 2020 and 2010.

From May 18, 2010 until August 17, 2017, Daniel Maughan was registered with Financial West as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, Mr. Maughan exercised de facto control over a customer’s trust account, executing approximately 1,648 trades, totaling $70 million. FINRA stated that Daniel Maughan’s churning and excessive trading generated commissions of $841,000 while causing the account to incur losses of $812,000. FINRA’s findings also stated the trading was inconsistent with the customer’s objectives and financial needs, and Mr. Maughan did not have a reasonable basis to believe the transactions were suitable. In addition, FINRA stated that by churning and seeking to maximize his own financial benefit Daniel Maughan acted either with intent to defraud the account or with reckless disregard for the customer’s interests. Daniel Maughan has been barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Continue Reading

Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is investigating and representing investors nationwide that were sold investments in UBS Financial Services Yield Enhancement Strategy (YES) program.  UBS offered the high-risk YES program to customers whose net worth was at least $5 million.  UBS financial advisers across the United States presented the YES program as a safe way to earn additional income by using existing assets at UBS as collateral.  UBS further represented to its clients that the YES program had “excellent risk metrics” and would allow its clients to increase returns, while reducing risk.  Unfortunately, many UBS brokers failed to adequately understand and/or disclose the risks associated with this high-risk investment program.

It also appears the UBS YES program was mismanaged.  UBS presented its YES program as using a “market neutral” options strategy, which means that it is not a directional wager that the price of the underlying asset will increase or decrease in value. The strategy instead seeks to profit from a relative lack of volatility in the price of the underlying asset.  Contrary to UBS’ presentation of the YES program, we believe the YES managers actively engaged in market timing and took directional positions on the market and suffered significant losses as a result.  We believe the UBS YES program was, in fact, an aggressive options strategy.  Consequently, YES posed a significant risk for investment portfolios, especially those that were over-concentrated in these securities. Continue Reading

Kalos Capital Inc. and Darren Michael Kubiak submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which Kalos Capital was fined for allegedly failing to supervise Darren Michaels unsuitable recommendations all in violation of NASD Rules 3010(a) and 3010(b) and FINRA Rules 3110(a), 3110(b), 2111 and 2010.

Darren M. Kubiak joined Kalos Capital as an investment company and variable contracts products representative in January 2007. According to FINRA Kubiak recommended the purchase of Leveraged and Inverse Exchange Traded Funds (LIETFs) to 17 customers without having a sufficient understanding of the risks and features. The FINRA findings stated that the customers only held the LIEFTs for 722 days during which they incurred losses of $98,000. FINRA also stated that the Kalos Capital Inc. failed to ensure Kobiak had reasonable basis to recommend the LIEFT’S and failed to enforce its supervisory system designed to ensure compliance of laws, regulation, NASD and FINRA Rules in relation to the sales. In addition, FINRA stated that Kalos Capital failed to provide training to all representatives before permitting them to sell the product. Continue Reading

Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is investigating and representing investors nationwide that were sold steepeners, which are notes or CDs that pay varying levels of interest depending on the steepness or flatness of the yield curve.  When the yield curve flattened in 2018, these steepeners rapidly declined in value and either stopped paying interest or paid much less interest.  In 2019, the yield curve inverted and short term interest rates rose to a higher level than long term interest rates. This yield curve inversion caused even more losses.

The negative impact on investors in the following types of structured products has been significant: Structured CDs, Market-Linked CDs, Leverage Callable CMS Curve Linked Notes, Callable Quarterly CMS Spread-Linked Notes, Callable Variable Rate Range Accrual CDs, Callable Interest Rate Spread CDs, Callable CMS Spread Notes, and Senior Callable CMS Steepener Notes. Continue Reading

NYLife Securities submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which they allegedly failed to enforce its written supervisory procedures in violation of NASD Rule 3010(b) and FINRA Rule 3110(b), and consequently FINRA Rule 2010.

NYLife Securities is a retail broker-dealer that has been a member of FINRA since 1970. According to the findings, NYLife failed to enforce it procedures for supervising the suitability of sales of higher risk mutual funds that were subject to volatility. According to those procedures, the firms representatives were required to reallocate or change risk tolerances and investment objectives for portfolios that were over-concentrated in higher risk securities. However, FINRA alleged that the firm did not seek the customers input to adjust the risk tolerances and investment objectives to accommodate sales of higher-risk mutual funds due partly to the workload of the reviewers and their supervisor, which prevented them from reasonably investigating each alert that Respondent’s automated surveillance generated. The findings stated that the adjustments permitted numerous customers to be over-concentrated in their portfolios, sustaining losses of $1.4 million. Continue Reading

Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is investigating and representing investors against brokerage firms and financial advisors who offered and sold securities issued by affiliates of GPB Capital.  GPB Capital Holdings, based out of New York, organized and manages the following nine private placements: GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP; GPB Cold Storage LP; GPB Holdings, LP;  GPB Holdings II, LP; GPB Holdings III, LP; GPB Holdings Qualified, LP; GPB NYC Development, LP;  and GPB Waste Management Fund, LP.

GPB Capital’s two most significant investment funds are GPB Holdings II and GPB Automotive Portfolio.  These two funds have collectively paid brokers $100 million in commissions at a rate of 7.9%!  Over the last year, it has been the subject of a series of federal, state, and self-regulatory agency investigations and other bad news.  For example, in September 2018, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin, announced an investigation into 63 broker-dealer firms that sold private placements sponsored by GPB Capital Holdings. More recently, in July 2019, David Rosenberg, a former business partner and chief executive of Prime Automotive Group, filed a lawsuit against GPB Capital Holdings, alleging severe financial misconduct. According to a Boston Globe article, Rosenberg allegedly accused GPB Capital Holdings of running a Ponzi-like scheme, in which it used investor money to prop up the performance of the auto dealerships it owns, as well as to finance payments to other investors. Continue Reading