Articles Posted in Current Investigations

Bull BearMiller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating for clients of former Morgan Stanley broker Barry F. Connell and all firms and broker dealers who may be victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to abuses such fraud, mutual fund abuses, unsuitable mutual fund investments and failure to supervise, breach of fiduciary duty, overcharging , and unauthorized trading.

Securities and Exchange Commission closed its case against a former Morgan Stanley broker who served prison time, barring him from the securities industry after ensuring that he has repaid more than $5.1 million stolen from customers, according to FINRA.

Connell pled guilty in December 2018 to stealing the money between 2015 and 2016, spending the $5 million to support his “lavish lifestyle,” according to the SEC. He perpetrated the fraud by moving funds among client accounts and using falsified wire transfer forms and checks.

Bull BearMiller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Transamerica and all firms and broker dealers who may be victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to abuses such as failure to supervise, breach of fiduciary duty, overcharging , and unauthorized trading.

As posted from FINRA.ORG

“Firm Ordered to Pay $4.4 Million in Restitution to Approximately 2,400 Affected Customers

Bull BearFINRA’s ongoing campaign to rein in alleged sales abuses involving short-term trading of unit investment trusts in customer accounts has led a 23-year veteran advisor to accept a $10,000 fine and three-month suspension.

Miller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Stifel Nicolaus and all firms and broker dealers who may be victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to abuses such as short-term trading of unit investment trusts, breach of fiduciary duty, overcharging , and unauthorized trading.

cropped-High-Res-TA-2018-2019-284x300FINRA fined a small independent broker-dealer in California $35,000 for failing to adequately conduct background investigations on registered reps and for failing to obtain regulatory pre-approval for a seven-month growth spurt, according to Advisor Hub.

Infinity Financial Services, an Oakland, CA-based firm founded 13 years ago by a former Merrill Lynch broker, failed to contact former employers and had no procedures for conducting searches of public records, according to an “acceptance, waiver and consent letter” it signed with Finra.

It hired as many as 16 registered reps over three years through April 2017 without searching their Central Registration Depository records, including five who had pending bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens that Infinity failed to detect, Finra said.

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NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – Miller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Citigroup who are victims of, and suffered damages and losses in their pension funds, due to regulatory fines and penalties. A securities class action against Citigroup has been filed in New York federal court.  Their plaintiff is the City of Sunrise Firefighters’ Pension Fund, which claims in the Oct. 30 lawsuit that Citi’s risk management evaluation exposed the company to more than $1 billion in regulatory penalties. A month ago, Citigroup was fined $400 million. In September, when it became evident penalties were coming, the company’s stock dropped from $51 per share to $43.68 by October.  The company had mistakenly sent Revlon creditors $900 million of its own funds. Citi said it would boost investment in internal procedures by $1 billion. “In total, because of Citi’s deception relating to its internal controls and compliance systems, $17.43 billion of shareholder value has evaporated and class members were the ones who suffered from the defendants’ actions”, it states

Miller Stern Lawyers, LLC, a Baltimore Securities Law firm, currently represents investors for claims of investment losses from unauthorized trading, over concentration, irregular options trading, margin and unsuitability claims, broker fraud, securities fraud, securities litigation and other broker and broker/dealers for investment losses and fraud.  If you or anyone you know have experienced investment losses from the actions above or other situations, please call 410-LAW-FIRM ( 410-529-3476 ) or fill out the contact us form for a no cost consultation and evaluation of your claim

 

 

Miller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Wells Fargo Advisors who are victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to the failure to supervise.  It has been reported that Wells Fargo Advisors has agreed to pay more than $550,000 in fines and restitution for failing to follow up on warnings it received about two now-barred California brokers who piled their customers into speculative energy stocks, according to FINRA.  Miller Stern Lawyers recently won a $1.5 Million award against Stifel for similar actions of piling their customers into biotechnology and health care stocks.

According to FINRA, the firm failed to investigate trading across customer accounts managed by the brokers. Red flags were raised about overconcentration in the accounts of four customers in a single, low-priced energy stock (ranging from 35.2% to 87.0%), according to a consent letter signed on Thursday by Wells Fargo Advisors CEO Jim Hays.

FINRA has fined and suspended a former Edward Jones & Co. broker in Kansas who attempted to settle a customer complaint on his own, according to a settlement letter and Advisor Hub.

“Topeka-based broker Michael A. Erwin allegedly wrote a $2,500 check out of pocket to resolve a complaint from a customer who claimed she lost money after he failed to close an account in time as the market was tanking in March. The customer had instructed Erwin to close her account by March 10, but he did not close the account until March 17, according to the settlement.”

cropped-High-Res-TA-2018-2019-284x300According to Advisor Hub, “Joseph Woitkoski, who was terminated by Raymond James Associates in 2018 after 20 years as a registered rep, was suspended for 30 days and fined $7,500 for allegedly making discretionary trades for 12 customers without their written authorizations, according to an acceptance, waiver and consent letter that Finra accepted on August 20.” Miller Stern Lawyers, LLC – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating claims and allegations of brokers making discretionary non-authorized trades in clients accounts at brokerages such as Stifel, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and others.  If you or someone you know are victims of losses in your accounts because of unauthorized discretionary trades, please call for a free evaluation.

Finra has imposed the sanctions even though “over the course of longstanding relationships, the customers gave authorization to Woitkoski to exercise discretion in their accounts,” according to the letter that the Massachusetts-based former broker signed without admitting or denying the findings. This often occurs in elderly clients, with issues such as elder abuse.  Eight of the 12 customers were “seniors,” according to Finra.

“In addition to failing to get permission from customers in writing, Woitkoski never requested or obtained approval from Raymond James. The firm maintained inaccurate books and records because the broker attested in a 2017 compliance questionnaire that he did not exercise discretion in non-fee based accounts, according to the consent letter.” according to Advisor Hub

The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, LLC – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating allegations of fraud against Stephen Douglas Pizzuti in connection with an SEC settlement.

According to the settlement posted on www.sec.gov

“Pizzuti (CRD 1461660), age 58, is a resident of DeBary, Florida. At the time of the misconduct that led to his conviction, Pizzuti was associated with a firm that was a Commission-registered broker-dealer and a state-registered investment adviser. Between January 1986 and May 2015, Pizzuti was associated with other broker-dealers registered with the Commission, some of which were also registered as investment advisers. He held Series 7, 24, and 63 licenses. In August 2013 and May 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) sanctioned Pizzuti by fining him and suspending him from association with FINRA members. See FINRA Disciplinary Proceeding Nos. 2009017195204, 2011027666902. Merrimac Corporate Securities, Inc. (“Merrimac”), a broker-dealer Pizzuti controlled, was also a respondent in these proceedings. In March 2016, in No. 2009017195204, FINRA expelled Merrimac from membership. On July 17, 2019, the Commission denied Merrimac’s application for review of FINRA’s decision imposing sanctions in No. 2011027666902. See Securities Act Rel. No. 10662.”

Miller Law Group – The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, LLC is currently investigating allegations against John Hoff Russell CRD#: 728702 and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated pertaining to a multitude of allegations including broker fraud, subterfuge negligence and intentional actions in customer accounts without authority, breach of fiduciary duty, and other securities violations.  Please call 410 Law Firm for more information.

A FINRA arbitration panel has ordered Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. and one of their financial advisors to pay a client $800,000.oo for her claim of “being hoodwinked about allowing money to be withdrawn from accounts she held with her estranged husband.” The claims involve such complaints as broker fraud and negligence, typical complaints by clients in these matters.  John Hoff Russell, the broker with Stifel, was alleged to have worked with the now-deceased husband of the client and “intentionally used subterfuge” to obtain her consent to transfer assets from joint-tenancy accounts, according to a summary of the complaint that was published on March 22.

“[A]s a result of Russell’s actions, alone and in concert with the decedent, and because of Russell’s failure to provide claimant or her attorney-in-fact with material information, Claimant and her children were left substantially disinherited from the majority of the Decedent’s financial assets that had been provided for them under his and Claimant’s estate plans,” the summary of the complaint said.

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