CMD Investigating Claims Against Kelly Althar and Financial West Group for Unsuitable Recommendations and Engaging in Excessive Trading

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Kelly Althar and Financial West Group for unsuitable recommendations, engaging in excessive trading (churning) and failure to supervise, particularly related to elderly customers.

According to FINRA, Kelly Althar made unsuitable recommendations and engaged in excessive trading in an elderly customer’s accounts. FINRA alleges that Althar engaged in high-volume trading to generate commissions and over-concentrated the customer’s accounts in risky securities, despite the fact that the customer was close to retirement and wanted only low-risk investments. Althar’s trading decimated the customer’s accounts, which constituted the bulk of her net worth and retirement savings. Althar exercised control over the customer’s account at his member firm. Althar rarely consulted the customer about the transactions in her accounts and made the investment decisions for her, including what to buy and sell, the quantities, and when each transaction would occur.  Althar used this control to excessively trade the accounts in a manner that was inconsistent with the customer’s investment objectives, financial situations and needs.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Kelly Althar and Financial West Group 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 CUSO Financial Services, L.P. for Recommending Unsuitable Unit Investment Trusts (UITs)

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against CUSO Financial Services, L.P. for recommending unsuitable Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) and for failure to supervise.

As reported by FINRA, CUSO Financial Services, L.P. through a registered representative unsuitably solicited and sold to customers certain unit investment trusts (UITs) that invested in closed-end mutual funds that employed leverage. The findings stated that CUSO Financial Services, L.P., through the registered representative and the two principals who supervised him and approved his UIT transactions, failed to have a reasonable basis to recommend and approve UIT transactions sold to customers. Neither the registered representative nor the principals who approved the UIT transactions understood the potential risks of the UITs and, in particular, neither understood that the UITs might employ leverage. CUSO Financial Services, L.P., through the registered representative and principals, sold these UITs to customers, including some seniors, in transactions totaling $4,636,146. The customers lost approximately $443,000 on the UITs that the registered representative sold without a reasonable basis. Some of these customers indicated that they had low risk tolerances, which should have raised questions about the suitability of the UITs for them. The firm voluntarily provided restitution totaling approximately $325,000 to many of the customers who indicated that they had low or medium risk tolerances.

The findings also stated that these unsuitable UIT recommendations occurred, in part, because of the firm’s lack of reasonable supervision.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with CUSO Financial Services, L.P. 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 Lance J. Ziesemer and Feltl & Company for Unsuitable Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) and Failure to Supervise

Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims against securities broker Lance J. Ziesemer (CRD# 2342087) and Feltl & Company for recommending unsuitable UITs and for failure to supervise.

In May, Lance J. Ziesemer submitted an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $7,500, suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months and ordered to pay deferred disgorgement of commissions received in the amount of $38,889, plus interest.  Without admitting or denying the findings, Ziesemer consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he implemented a trading strategy and made unsuitable recommendations to customers to switch from UITs to other UITs after holding the investments for a short time period.  The findings stated that Feltl & Company’s procedures in place at the time required him to obtain a switch letter signed by the customer before selling any UIT and purchasing another UIT that carried a sales charge.  Although all of the customers’ short-term UIT trades fell into this category, Ziesemer failed to obtain switch letters for any of them. These short-term UIT transactions resulted in approximately $160,000 in combined net losses for the customers. In addition, the customers paid total commissions of $64,815 on these transactions, of which Ziesemer received $38,889.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Lance J. Ziesemer and/or Feltl & Company, 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 Caldwell International Securities Corporation For Excessive Commissions, Fees and Unauthorized Trading

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Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims against Caldwell International Securities Corporation, and securities brokers Greg Allen Caldwell, Alex Evan Etter, Alain J. Florestan, Lennie Simmons Freiman, Paul Joseph Jacobs, Richard Andrew Lee, Lucas Dylan Lichtman and Richard Lim.

FINRA’s Department of Enforcement filed a complaint alleging that  alleging that Caldwell International Securities Corporation, by and through one or more of its registered representatives and principals, put profits before customers, growth before compliance and subterfuge before transparency. The complaint alleges that the Caldwell International Securities Corporation’s culture of non-compliance led to serious sales practice, supervisory and reporting violations at its home office and multiple branches. Alex Evan Etter, Alain J. Florestan, Richard Andrew Lee, Lucas Dylan Lichtman and Richard Lim made unsuitable recommendations of an active trading investment strategy to their customers despite the fact these representatives failed to understand the risks of the investment strategy being recommended, or the impact the staggering commissions and fees generated by this active trading investment strategy would have on their customers’ accounts. These representatives had no reasonable basis to recommend such a strategy to their customers. As a result of the recommendation of an unsuitable active investment trading strategy, customer accounts suffered more than $1.1 million in realized trading losses while paying over $1 million in commissions and fees.

The complaint alleged that Caldwell International Securities Corporation and its brokers are liable for the unsuitable recommendations of an active trading investment strategy made by Etter, Florestan, Lee, Lichtman and Lim under the doctrine of respondeat superior because each representative was an agent of the firm acting within the scope of his duties when he engaged in this misconduct. Caldwell International Securities Corporation, acting by and through its registered representatives, made unsuitable recommendations involving inverse and/or leveraged Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) without a reasonable basis for believing these investments were suitable for their customers.

The complaint also alleges that the Caldwell International Securities Corporation, Caldwell, Freiman and Jacobs failed to establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities alleged that was reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations and NASD/FINRA rules. Caldwell International Securities Corporation, Caldwell, Freiman and Jacobs failed to monitor for, detect and, when detected, investigate multiple instances of potential misconduct by the firm’s brokers involving unsuitable active trading investment strategies, unsuitable ETFs, discretionary trading without written authorization and excessive trading/churning in multiple customer accounts across multiple branches of the firm. In addition, the firm, Caldwell, Freiman and Jacobs failed to implement a reasonable supervisory system to adequately review trades for unsuitable recommendations, such as ETFs, and to adequately monitor whether the firm’s representatives understood the risks and benefits of the active trading investment strategy they were recommending, nor did the firm monitor whether the representatives had done any due diligence on the recommended active trading investment strategy. This grossly inadequate supervisory system resulted in many firm customers suffering significant losses and paying staggering commissions and fees. Caldwell International Securities Corporation, Caldwell, and Freiman failed to establish and maintain a system to supervise the firm’s activities that was reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations and NASD/FINRA rules and/or the firm’s written supervisory procedures in multiple other ways. Caldwell International Securities Corporation, Caldwell, and Freiman failed to place representatives on heightened supervision, review all electronic correspondence to and from customers, identify and report customer complaints received, and apply right of reinvestment/right of reinstatement fee waivers, resulting in overcharges of $107,367.08 to customers’ accounts.  Moreover, the complaint alleges that the firm willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-10 by charging customers misleading and/or discriminatory miscellaneous fees in several transactions.

If you or someone you know has a complaint or lost money investing with Caldwell International Securities Corporation, and/or securities brokers Greg Allen Caldwell, Alex Evan Etter, Alain J. Florestan, Lennie Simmons Freiman, Paul Joseph Jacobs, Richard Andrew Lee, Lucas Dylan Lichtman and Richard Lim, you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at CMD are experienced in representing investors in fraud, suitability, unauthorized trading, excessive commissions, excessive fees, ETFs and failure to supervise actions against brokers and brokerage firms. 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.