CMD Investigating Claims Against Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. and Jeffrey Paul Dragon for Unsuitable UITs

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. and Jeffrey Paul Dragon for recommending and effecting a pattern of unsuitable short-term trading of UITs (Unit Investment Trusts).

FINRA has alleged that the short-term trading patterns were inconsistent with the design of the securities at issue and required the customers to pay substantial sales charges, most of which came back to the firm and the representative in the form of dealer concessions. Dragon recommended to the customers—many of whom were seniors, unsophisticated investors, or both—that they liquidate UIT positions that they had held for only a few months, and which they had purchased on Dragon’s recommendations, and then use the proceeds to purchase other UITs. Because each UIT purchased carried a new sales load, and because UITs are designed not to be actively traded, Dragon’s recommendations were excessive and unsuitable. Dragon made the recommendations to the customers that they buy and sell UITs without having reasonable grounds for believing that the consistent pattern of short-term UIT trading he recommended was suitable for any of the customers, given their age, personal and financial situations and needs, the nature of the recommended UIT transactions, including the sales charges and other costs associated with them, and the availability of less costly alternatives. Dragon also routinely structured the UIT purchases he recommended to the customers in order to prevent the customers from qualifying for sales-charge discounts, which would have reduced the dealer concessions paid to him and the firm. Dragon made the structured recommendations to the customers without having a reasonable basis to believe that those recommendations, which prevented the customers from receiving available discounts to which they were entitled, were suitable for those customers or for any customer,

FINRA also alleges that Berthel, Fisher allowed this activity to occur, and in fact, profited from it, as a direct result of its inadequate system for supervising UIT trading. Berthel, Fisher failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system that was reasonably designed to ensure compliance with its and its representatives’ suitability obligations under the federal securities laws and FINRA and NASD rules in connection with sales of UITs, and to ensure that customers received sales-charge discounts to which they were entitled on UIT purchases. The firm’s supervisory system was also inadequate because it was not reasonably designed to prevent short-term and potentially excessive trading in mutual funds.

From 2010 through 2014, the firm failed to detect that more than 2,700 of its customers’ UIT purchases did not receive applicable sales-charge discounts. As a result, firm customers paid excessive sales charges of approximately $667,000, nearly all of which was paid to the firm and its registered representatives as dealer concessions

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Jeffrey Paul Dragon and/or Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, 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 Brent Porges and Zachary Bader for Churning, Unsuitability, Unauthorized Trading and Fraud

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against brokers Brent Porges and Zachary Bader for churning (excessive trading), making unsuitable recommendations, unauthorized trading and fraud, particularly related to ETFs (exchange traded funds) and ETNs (exchange traded notes).

According to Brent Porges’ FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least five (5) customer complaints, which include allegations of churning, fraud, unauthorized trading, and unsuitability.

Similarly, according to Zachary Bader’s FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least eight (8) customer complaints, which include allegations of churning, fraud, unauthorized trading, and unsuitability.

These acts may have occurred while Mr. Porges and Mr. Bader were registered with the following broker-dealers: Craig Scott Capital, LLC, National Securities Corporation, Newbridge Securities Corporation and Meyers Associates, L.P.  These broker-dealers have an independent duty to supervise Mr. Porges and Mr. Bader, as well as the customer accounts they service.  If the broker-dealers did not properly supervise Brent Porges and/or Zachary Bader, they can be held liable for their acts.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Brent Porges and/or Zachary Bader 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 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 Mauricio Jaramillo and Ultralat Capital Markets, Inc. for Unsuitable Trading, Unsuitable use of Margin, Short-term Trading and for Failure to Supervise

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Mauricio Jaramillo and Ultralat Capital Markets, Inc. for unsuitable trading, unsuitable use of margin, short-term trading and for failure to supervise.

As reported by FINRA, Mr. Jaramillo recommended unsuitable trades in at least three customer accounts, in that he recommended short-term trading in bonds, undue concentration of positions, and the use of margin to customers who were not suitable for such trading. The findings stated that Jaramillo maintained limited trading authorization over various customer accounts at his member firm and received compensation on trades he placed in such accounts. Two of the customers had long-term growth investment objectives and another customer had a moderate risk tolerance, but their accounts were almost totally concentrated in bonds typically denominated in Brazilian Reais. These customers also had significant margin balances in their accounts. Jaramillo did not have any reasonable basis to believe that such short-term trading, concentrations of positions and use of margin was suitable for the customers, or that such trading was consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerances, and financial situations and needs.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Mauricio Jaramillo or Ultralat Capital Markets, 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 Christopher B. Ariola, Bay Mutual Financial, LLC and Financial Telesis Inc. for Unsuitable Recommendations in High-Risk Gold and Energy Stocks

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Christopher B. Ariola, Bay Mutual Financial, LLC and Financial Telesis Inc. for unsuitable recommendations and failure to supervise related to high-risk gold and energy stocks.

As reported by FINRA, Christopher B. Ariola or Chirs Ariola, made unsuitable recommendations to elderly retirees to invest a substantial portion of their limited retirement assets in certain high-risk gold and energy stocks. The findings stated that these recommendations were unsuitable given these customers’ financial circumstances, investment objectives and low risk tolerances, and because the recommendations resulted in the customers’ accounts being unduly concentrated in gold and energy stocks. Ariola made similar unsuitable recommendations with respect to a former customer’s retirement account that he controlled on the former customer’s behalf. As a result of his unsuitable recommendations, these customers suffered combined realized losses of $137,993.13.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Christopher Ariola, Bay Mutual Financial, LLC and Financial Telesis 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 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 Dennis Albert Mehringer Jr. and Western International Securities Inc. for Churning, Unsuitable Recommendations and Failure to Supervise

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Dennis Albert Mehringer Jr. and Western International Securities Inc. for churning (excessive trading), unsuitable recommendations and failure to supervise.

According to FINRA, Mr. Mehringer made unsuitable recommendations that caused a customer to engage in excessively expensive short-term trading and intra-day switching of mutual fund Class A shares. The FINRA complaint alleges that Mehringer recommended the short-term mutual fund trading and the intra-day mutual fund switching without reasonable grounds to believe that the recommendations were suitable for the customer in light of the frequency and nature of the transactions, including the associated sales loads, based on the customer’s investment objectives. Given the long-term nature of Class A mutual fund share investments, along with the sales loads incurred in connection with frequent trading and switching between the relevant mutual funds and mutual fund families, Mehringer’s short-term trading and switching was also unsuitable for any customer. Mehringer received $169,735 in commissions from these transactions.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Dennis Albert Mehringer Jr. or Western International Securities 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 Scott Forrest Goldman, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. and H. Beck, Inc. for Unsuitable and Over-Concentration in Precious Metals

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Scott Forrest Goldman, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. and H. Beck, Inc. for recommending unsuitable over-concentrations in precious metals and failure to supervise.  Mr. Goldman’s CRD evidences a history of customer complaints, with at least six reported customer complaints.

As reported by FINRA, Scott Forrest Goldman recommended an investment strategy to an elderly customer that was unsuitable because it unduly concentrated her in risky, leveraged precious metal products. The findings stated that the customer received a prospectus but was not adequately informed of the investment components in that she did not understand the nature of and market risk associated with it.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Scott Forrest Goldman, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. or H. Beck, 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 Foothill Securities, Inc. for Unsuitable, Over-Concentration of Customer Accounts in REITs

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against Foothill Securities, Inc. for failure to supervise and for  over-concentrating and recommending unsuitable REITs in customer accounts.

FINRA’s findings stated that Foothill Securities, Inc. maintained written guidelines for limiting customers’ investments in non-exchange-traded REITs and other non-liquid investments that stated that no single order in one non-liquid product should equal more than 10 percent of a customer’s investable net worth as of the time the order is placed, and that no order should cause a customer to have more than 20 percent of his or her investable net worth in non-liquid investments.  FINRA found that Foothill Securities, Inc.’s registered representatives recommended these illiquid, non-traded REITs to its customers that exceeded these concentration guidelines.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Foothill Securities, 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 First Financial Equity Corporation For Recommending Unsuitable ETFs and Excessive Commissions

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against First Financial Equity Corporation For recommending unsuitable ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), charging excessive commissions and for failure to supervise.

As reported by FINRA, First Financial Equity Corporation had inadequate procedures with respect to the reasonable-basis suitability requirements, in that it had inadequate processes and procedures to ensure that requisite customer information was obtained prior to its representatives recommending securities and/or investment strategies involving securities to firm customers. Although First Financial Equity Corporation recommended and sold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) (including leveraged and inverse ETFs) to its customers, it did not have any written procedures for the supervision, approval and sale of ETFs.

FINRA also found that First Financial Equity Corporation failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative.  After the firm’s risk manager identified certain commissions being charged by the registered representative as being excessive, it failed to take reasonable steps to supervise and address the same.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with First Financial Equity Corporation 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.