CMD Investigating K.C. Ward Financial and Craig David Dima for Unauthorized Trading

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against K.C. Ward Financial and Craig David Dima for unauthorized trading and failure to supervise.

As reported by FINRA, Craig David Dima, a former K.C. Ward Financial registered rep, allegedly sold off almost all the holdings of one of his 73-year-old retired clients who accumulated Colgate stock during his employment. According to FINRA, the client did not want the stock sold but the broker allegedly sold the stock and then bought the stock back when confronted.  As a result, the customer paid Dima $375,000 in fees, mark-ups and mark-downs, while losing out on “substantial” dividends in the process, according to the press release from FINRA.  FINRA also alleges Dima’s trades in Colgate were unsuitable and broke rules on excessive mark-ups and mark-downs.  In response, FINRA barred Craig David Dima whom FINRA says made $15 million in unsuitable and unauthorized trades in this elderly client’s account.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with K.C. Ward Financial or Craig David Dima, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against Legend Securities, Inc., Hank (Henry) Werner and Michael Stanton for Excessive Trading, Churning and Failure to Supervise

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Legend Securities, Inc., Henry Werner and Michael Stanton for excessive trading, churning and failure to supervise.

FINRA has filed a complaint against Legend Securities, Inc., Michael Salvatore Stanton and Henry (Hank) Werner alleging that Mr. Werner churned and excessively traded each of a customer’s three accounts, charging more than $243,000 in commissions and fees, and causing the customer net losses of nearly $184,000, within just over three years. The complaint alleges that Mr. Werner willfully violated Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act, and FINRA Rule 2020.  The complaint also alleges that Mr. Werner recommended an unsuitable variable annuity exchange to the customer, without having a reasonable basis to believe that the transaction was suitable.  The complaint further alleges that Legend failed to enforce its written supervisory procedures (WSPs), to prevent Mr. Werner from churning and excessively trading the customer’s brokerage accounts. Legend and Mr. Stanton failed to adequately investigate red flags demonstrating that Mr. Werner was churning the customer’s accounts. Legend and Mr. Stanton also failed to adequately investigate, or simply ignored, that Mr. Werner engaged in aggressive, “in-and-out” trading, repeatedly purchasing securities and then selling them after relatively short holding periods to purchase other securities, for no apparent reason.  Such in-and-out trading is a hallmark of excessive trading and churning.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Henry (Hank) Werner and/or Legend Securities, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against Broker John Kakonikos for Churning, Excessive Trading, Unsuitable Recommendations and Unauthorized Trading

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against stock broker John Kakonikos for churning, excessive trading, unauthorized trading and unsuitable recommendations. According to Mr. Kakonikos’ FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least five (5) customer complaints while registered with Southeast Investments and Caldwell International Securities.

According to FINRA, Mr. Kakonikos engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading in a customer’s account, causing realized trading losses of $72,524.53, while generating $41,617.56 in fees and commissions. The findings stated that Mr. Kakonikos recommended and executed securities transactions in the customer’s account, over which he had de facto control.  Considering the customer’s financial situation, lack of investment experience and needs, and requiring a minimum return of nearly 50 percent just to break even, Mr. Kakonikos’ trading in the customer’s account was excessive and quantitatively unsuitable for the customer.  Overall, the account generated $53,168.22 in cumulative costs, including margin interest.  The findings also stated that Mr. Kakonikos effected purchase and sale securities transactions in the customer’s account without her authorization, knowledge or consent.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with John Kakonikos, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against Stuart Graham Dickinson and WFG Investments, Inc. for Fraud, Failure to Supervise and Unsuitable Investments into Limited Partnerships

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Stuart Graham Dickinson and WFG Investments, Inc. for fraud, failure to supervise and unsuitable investments into limited partnerships.  According to Mr. Dickinson’s FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least two (2) customer complaints and two (2) regulatory investigations.

According to FINRA, Stuart Dickinson sold securities without reasonable grounds for believing that the investment was suitable for any investor. The findings stated that Mr. Dickinson sold more than $1 million of limited partnership interests in a company whose purported business was to acquire and operate automated teller machines (ATMs) to seven customers while he was associated with WFG Investments, Inc.  The company did not own any ATMs.  WFG Investments, Inc.’s permitted Mr. Dickinson to sell interests in the company as private securities transactions. Mr. Dickinson recommended the securities without first conducting adequate and reasonable due diligence on the company.  Mr. Dickinson failed to verify or confirm information he obtained from interested parties, and failed to detect multiple red-flag warnings that the company was a fraudulent Ponzi scheme.  As a result, the customers lost their entire investments. If Mr. Dickinson had conducted a reasonable investigation, he would have recognized red flags indicating that the offering was fraudulent and thus unsuitable for any investors regardless of their wealth, risk tolerance, age or other individual characteristics.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Stuart Dickinson and/or WFG Investments, Inc., you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against John E. Burns for Unsuitable Recommendation and Unauthorized Trading

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against stock broker John E. Burns for unsuitable recommendation and unauthorized trading.   According to Mr. Burns’ FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least six (6) customer complaints.

According to FINRA, John Burns, while registered with SagePoint Financial and Ameriprise Financial, engaged in a pattern of unauthorized trading in customer accounts and made unsuitable, risky investments for seniors.  The findings stated that John Burns did not have written discretionary authority to place trades in any of these customer accounts. In some of the customer accounts, John Burns executed the trades without any authorization, while in other customer accounts, John Burns had some verbal authorization to exercise discretion generally, but exceeded that verbal authorization by executing trades in excess of the available funds in the account.  The findings also stated that John Burns made unsuitable and unauthorized investments over a two-year period in the account of a senior retired couple, both of whom were over 65 years old.  These transactions involved repeated high-risk investments in small drug company stocks which were unsuitable for the customers’ moderate risk tolerance and investment profile.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with John Burns, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against First American Securities, Inc. for Unsuitable Recommendations of Private Placements

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against First American Securities, Inc. for recommending unsuitable private placements, failure to supervise, inadequate due diligence, and investor offering documents (PPM) that contained misleading and unwarranted statements, omissions of material information and material misrepresentations.

According to FINRA, First American Securities, Inc. was censured, fined $150,000, and ordered to disgorge commissions of $190,000, plus interest in connection with private placements.  In addition, according to FINRA, First American Securities, Inc. failed to follow its written supervisory procedures (WSPs) relating to due diligence requirements for private placements.  As well as supervisory deficiencies and inadequate due diligence which caused the firm to lack a reasonable basis to recommend one of the offerings to customers. First American Securities, Inc. distributed offering documents to investors which negligently made untrue statements of material facts or omitted to state material facts necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading, and made statements which were not fair and balanced, and were misleading, exaggerated and unwarranted.

In order to invest in a private placement, the investor must be an accredited investor.  For a person to to be an accredited investor, the investor must be any natural person who had an individual income in excess of $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with that person’s spouse in excess of $300,000 in each of those years and has a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level in the current year; or any natural person whose individual net worth, or joint net worth with that person’s spouse, exceeds $1,000,000.

If you or someone you know lost money investing in private placements with First American Securities, Inc. or was not an accredited investor at the time of the private placement, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against Dougherty & Company LLC for Failure to Supervise, Unsuitability and Unauthorized Trading

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Dougherty & Company LLC for failure to supervise, unsuitability and unauthorized trading.

According to FINRA, Dougherty & Company LLC was censured, fined $140,000 and required to pay $78,910 in restitution to a customer. According to FINRA, for more than four years, Dougherty & Company LLC, did not adequately supervise a representative who initiated hundreds of trades for two elderly customers without contacting them, and unsuitably recommended dozens of transactions to those customers. The findings also stated that Dougherty & Company LLC did not have supervisory resources that were reasonably designed to detect the representative’s misconduct. The findings also included that Dougherty & Company LLC failed to respond appropriately to warning signs about the representative’s business, such as a dramatic increase in his commissions without a commensurate change in the number of accounts that he handled or the type of products that he sold.

Dougherty & Company LLC’s system of supervision was not reasonably designed under the circumstances to prevent violations of securities laws and rules, including rules governing trading without customers’ approval (unauthorized trading) and unsuitable recommendations.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Dougherty & Company LLC, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against VFG Securities and Jason Bryce Vanclef for Over-Concentration in Illiquid Alternative Investments

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against VFG Securities and securities broker Jason Bryce Vanclef for over-concentration and failure to supervise in in connection with the recommendation and sale of illiquid alternative investments, such as non-traded direct participation programs (DPPs) and non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  According to Mr. Vanclef’s FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least six (6) customer complaints.

VFG Securities and Jason Bryce Vanclef allegedly falsely claimed that non-traded direct participation programs (DPPs) and non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) provided both solid returns and capital preservation, according to the regulator. Vanclef allegedly promoted these illiquid alternative investments through a book he had written and peddled at company events. In the book, Vanclef allegedly claimed that investors could “reasonably achieve 8-12% results” with non-traded DPPs and non-traded REITs.

VFG also allegedly lacked any supervisory system from November 2009 to June 2013 to ensure that clients weren’t overly concentrated in such alternative investments, with at least two customers holding 90% of their net worth in just five non-traded DPP and non-traded REIT investments.  From November 2010 to June 2012, VFG allegedly received around 95% of its revenue from the sales of the two instruments. The regulator fined VFG $50,000 and suspended Vanclef from the industry for 10 days.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with VFG Securities and/or Jason Vanclef , you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

 

CMD Investigating Claims On Behalf of Investors Who Purchased Shares of United Development Funding IV (Symbol: UDF)

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims on behalf of investors who own or purchased shares of United Development Funding IV (Nasdaq: UDF).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a Wells notice against UDF, an indication that SEC staff has made a preliminary determination to possibly recommend an enforcement action against the company.  Further, the Nasdaq stock market has delisted UDF IV shares.

The UDF family of REITs have been in turmoil for almost a year.  A hedge fund with a short position in UDF IV shares last December said the company had been operating for years like a Ponzi scheme.  Then, the FBI in February raided the REIT’s offices in suburban Dallas.  At the time, Nasdaq halted trading of UDF IV shares at $3.20, down 81% over the prior 12 months.

UDF IV, with $684 million in assets according to SEC filings, is a mortgage and development REIT.  UDF branded REITs and private deals were high yield offerings, promising investors returns of 8% to 10%.  Various UDF REITs, including UDF IV, have halted paying investors distributions over the past year.  UDF IV was a nontraded REIT that listed on Nasdaq in June 2014.  It was sold to investors from 2009 to 2013 at $20 per share.

During the last few months, UDF IV has publicly claimed that it was working to file its 2015 annual reports and its last three quarterly reports with the SEC in order to begin trading again. However, this never happened.

If you or someone you know lost money investing in shares of United Development Fund IV , UDF IV or any of the UDF REITs , you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

CMD Investigating Claims Against Richard Gomez for Unsuitable Recommendations and Failure to Supervise

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against securities broker Richard Gomez and brokerage firms Woodstock Financial Group Inc. and Rockwell Global Capital, LLC for unsuitable recommendations and failure to supervise.  According to Mr. Gomez’s FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least three (3) customer complaints.

In September 2016, Gomez was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.  The sanction was based on findings that Gomez recommended the securities of two companies without a reasonable basis to conclude that the investments were suitable for any customer.  The findings stated that Gomez did virtually no investigation beforehand and failed to follow up on numerous red flags presented to him.

Most significantly, while one company and its entities claimed to hold hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-initial public offering stock, Gomez never independently verified those claims. When he asked questions, nobody at the company, the issuers of the stock, or the private equity firms through which the company purportedly had acquired its stock, would talk to him. In the end, Gomez based his diligence on the company almost exclusively on what was told to him by the company’s founder and one of its employees, or on information gathered from a handful of websites affiliated with the company’s founder. Gomez admits that he did not even search the SEC’s website during his investigation of the company. Gomez’s investigation of the other company was similarly limited since he primarily relied on information provided to him by the company’s founder and other registered representatives associated with other FINRA-member firms.

When Gomez questioned one of the representatives about the resignation of the company’s CEO, he took at face value the explanation that the CEO had resigned because he believed the company might be bought before it went public, and that there was nothing more for the CEO to do. Gomez was also unable to confirm what he had been told about a FINRA member firm being the second-largest shareholder in the company, and failed to press one of the registered representatives for answers to his questions regarding the firm’s shareholder status.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Richard Gomez, Woodstock Financial Group Inc. and/or Rockwell Global Capital, LLC, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses through FINRA arbitration. CMD accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid.  Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact us today at (212) 658-0458 or contact@cmdllp.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.