CMD Investigating Claims Against Lawrence Roberson and Capital City Securities, LLC for Misrepresentations and Fraud

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against securities broker Lawrence Roberson and brokerage firm Capital City Securities, LLC for misrepresentations and omissions, fraud and failure to supervise.  According to Mr. Roberson’s FINRA BrokerCheck, he has been the subject of at least five (5) regulatory inquires.

In September 2016, Roberson consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he made material misrepresentations and omissions in the sale of a $40,000 bond debenture to a customer when the purported investment was not a genuine security.  Roberson did not invest the customer’s funds and instead converted the funds to pay for his personal expenses.  As a result of his conduct, Roberson willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5, and FINRA Rules 2010 and 2020.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Lawrence Roberson and/or Capital City Securities, 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 is Investigating Claims Against IMS Securities, Inc. and Jackie Wadsworth Over the Sale of Variable Annuities and Real Estate Securities

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against IMS Securities, Inc. and Jackie Wadsworth for unsuitable recommendations, over-concentration and failure to supervise.

According to FINRA, Ms. Wadsworth faces allegations of negligence, over-concentration, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and failure to supervise.  The product types in the complaint are variable annuities and real estate securities, such as REITs.

IMS Securities, Inc. is a small Houston, Texas based firm that posted $11.5 million in revenue last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its balance sheet is tilted heavily in the direction of high-commission products like variable annuities and non-traded REITs; close to 86% of its revenue in 2015 came from commissions, according to the SEC filing.

IMS Securities was one of the four leading sellers of real estate investment trusts sponsored by United Development Funding (UDF).  The bottom fell out of those REITs last December, after an investor website posted a report that alleged that UDF IV, which was a non-traded REIT that later listed as a publicly traded REIT, operated for years like a Ponzi scheme.  Management at UDF has denied those allegations.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with IMS Securities, Inc. and/or Jackie Wadsworth, 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 is Investigating Claims Against Glenn King and Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc. for Excessive Trading and Failure to Supervise

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating claims against securities broker Glenn King and brokerage firm Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc. for unsuitable recommendations, excessive trading (a/k/a churning) and failure to supervise.

In August 2016, Glenn King was barred from association with any FINRA member.   The sanction was based on findings that Glenn Robert King fraudulently misrepresented and omitted material facts to customers, recommended and executed unsuitable transactions in customer accounts, and exercised discretion in customer accounts without authority and his member firm’s approval.  The findings stated that Glenn Robert King used telephone and email to knowingly and willfully make numerous false statements to customers, and omitted material information in connection with his sales of Unit Investment Trust (UITs) to the customers. Glenn Robert King sold UITs to elderly and retired customers of the firm by misrepresenting to them that he was offering safe, high-yield, tax-free bonds and CDs, and omitting material information about the products that he actually sold to the customers.

Glenn King also omitted many of the features and risks of UITs from his sales pitches to firm customers. Additionally, Glenn King failed to disclose to firm customers the sales charges and costs associated with the UITs that they purchased or affirmatively misrepresented to them that he would not charge commission. Glenn King recommended bonds to his customers, but instead purchased UITs that possessed features that he failed to disclose.  Glenn King received $38,000 in commission from these sales.

As a result of this conduct, Glenn King violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5, FINRA Rule 2020 and NASD Rule 2120. The findings also stated that Glenn Robert King engaged in excessive and unsuitable short-term trading of long-term investments, such as UITs and closed-end funds (CEFs), in the accounts of firm customers. Glenn Robert King’s trading was quantitatively and qualitatively unsuitable. Glenn Robert King’s frenetic trading was inconsistent with their objectives and financial circumstances, and resulted in customer losses of approximately $163,000.  Glenn Robert King’s misconduct was intentional and resulted in his monetary gain of approximately $210,000 in commissions. Glenn Robert King did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the number of CEF and UIT transactions that he executed in the customers’ accounts were not excessive. The findings also included that Glenn King exercised discretion in customer accounts by effecting trades in their accounts, including transactions involving UITs and CEFs, without obtaining prior written authorization from those customers. Glenn King also failed to obtain the firm’s written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary. In fact, Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc. prohibited the use of discretion by its representatives.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Glenn King and/or Buckman, Buckman & Reid, 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.

Complaints Against Securities America, Inc. (CRD# 10205)

Securities law firm Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating complaints against broker-dealer Securities America, Inc., a a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Inc.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Nebraska based brokerage firm Securities America, Inc. (CRD# 10205) has been the subject of at least 29 customer complaints and 46 regulatory events, including sanctions.

In 2015, Securities America entered into an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with FINRA and consented to sanctions and findings that it failed to identify and apply sales charge discounts to certain customers’ eligible purchases of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). As a result, the firm was censured, fined $275,000 and ordered to pay $477,686.88 in restitution.

In 2015, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, sanctioned Securities America following allegations of unsuitability, failure to supervise, and failure to enforce its written supervisory procedures.  Securities America was fined $70,000.

In 2005, a customer alleged that Securities America made misrepresentations, breach its fiduciary duty, breached its contract and was negligent in the handling of the customers account.  A FINRA arbitration panel awarded the customer $7,284,439.01.

In 2010, a customer alleged that Securities America made misrepresentations and/or omitted facts, breached its fiduciary duty, was negligent and failed to supervise the customer’s account.  A FINRA arbitration panel awarded the customer $1,155,466.01.

In 2012, a customer alleged that Securities America breached its fiduciary duty and made misrepresentations concerning Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).  A FINRA arbitration panel awarded the customer $573,316.29.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Securities America, 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 Steven Ellsworth Larson and Oakbridge Financial Services for Fraud

Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims against securities broker Steven Ellsworth Larson (CRD# 2422755) and Oakbridge Financial Services for unauthorized trading and failure to supervise.

FINRA has filed a complaint alleging that Steven Ellsworth Larson made numerous misstatements or omissions of material facts concerning the present values and safety of “church bonds”—bonds issued by religious organizations to construct or develop real property, and which are secured by first mortgages on the real property to be constructed or developed.  The complaint alleges that Larson made these misstatements or omissions in order to mislead customers about the true value of their church-bond holdings, which were securities, to avoid confrontation with customers, and to prevent customers from liquidating their holdings or closing their accounts.  By May 2013, most of the church bonds that Larson’s customers held in their accounts had already gone into default, bankruptcy, forbearance or restructuring.  Due to a decline in real-estate values, many of the church-bond issuers were underwater on their mortgages.  Nonetheless, Larson represented to customers that their defaulted church bonds retained all or most of their original value and even, in many instances, significantly more than their original value.  Larson knew or was reckless in not knowing that his statements and omissions in the church bond update about the church bonds and church bond issuers were false and misleading, and that pricing reports provided to customers repeatedly and significantly inflated the values of his customers’ church-bond holdings.

The complaint also alleges that when recommending the purchase side of each cross trade, Larson knowingly, willfully, or recklessly misrepresented or omitted material facts regarding the prices at which he recommended those purchases.  In particular, Larson knew or was reckless in not knowing that the bonds involved in those cross trades should have been bought or sold only at significant discounts from par value, that the prices at which he recommended his customers buy the bonds were not reasonably related to the prevailing market prices or fair market values for the bonds, and that he recommended each purchase without exercising reasonable diligence to discover whether the purchasers could have obtained the bonds at more favorable prices. As a result, Larson violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act Rule 10b-5.

If you or someone you know lost money investing with Steven Ellsworth Larson and/or Oakbridge Financial Services, 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 Clams Arising from Investments in REITs of Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc., now known as InvenTrust Properties Corp.

Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims arising from investments in REITs of Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc. (Inland American), now known as InvenTrust Properties Corp.  Inland American has been the largest issuer of non-traded REITs in the United States.

Generally, a non-traded Real Estate Investment Trust, or “REIT”, is a company that owns and operates income producing real estate, such as apartment buildings, office buildings and shopping centers.  The company sells shares to investors to raise capital to purchase the underlying assets and operate the company.  Non-traded REITs are not traded on any stock exchange, and are generally, illiquid.  Non-traded REITs are often marketed by brokers to older investors as providing high yields, price stability and a steady income stream through periodic distributions.  What brokers often gloss over when selling these products to clients are the high commissions they receive, the lack of liquidity, high fees and other substantial risks.  Among the risks that are often not adequately disclosed is the fact that a REIT may suspend its shareholders’ ability to redeem his or her shares, or reduce, or entirely suspend distributions – the income stream that many brokers use to entice retirees to invest in a REIT.

Many non-traded REITs, including Inland American Real Estate Trust, have fallen short of brokers’ rosy promises and representations of price stability and a steady income stream.

If you or someone you know lost money or were misled about a non-traded REIT, such as Inland American Real Estate Trust, now known as IvenTrust Properties Corp., you may be entitled to recover your 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 Ridgeway & Conger, Inc., And Securities Brokers Kenley Brisard, Philip Brisard and Leigh McCobb Garber

Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims against Ridgeway & Conger, Inc., and securities brokers Kenley Brisard, Philip Brisard and Leigh McCobb Garber.

FINRA’s Department of Enforcement filed a complaint alleging that Ridgeway & Conger, Inc., Kenley Brisard and Philip Brisard sold an unregistered security that consisted of interest-only strips from loans issued by the United States Small Business Association (SBA) meant only for Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) to individual retail investors at undisclosed markups using general solicitation emails that fraudulently misrepresented the product and their role in its development.

The complaint alleges that Kenley Brisard and Philip Brisard willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder when they engaged in fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions of material fact in connection with customer purchases of securities with respect to the emails they sent to customers.  The misrepresentations and omissions in Kenley Brisards’ statements to customers were material because a reasonable investor would consider them important in making investment decisions, because they significantly altered the total mix of information made available to the solicited customers, and because they denied the investors the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to invest in the SBA interest-only security. The complaint also alleges that Kenley Brisard and Philip Brisard, in connection with offers of the SBA interest-only security, sent false and fraudulent emails containing similar misrepresentations and omissions to additional customers and prospects, and failed to comply with Section 17(a)(1) of the Securities Act of 1933.   FINRA alleges that Kenley Brisard and Philip Brisard knowingly, willfully and/or recklessly ignored and/or contradicted the PPM for the SBA interest-only security to which they had ready access, and they made statements that had no underlying factual basis.  Kenley Brisard and Philip Brisard failed to reasonably and/or independently investigate and understand the SBA interest-only security before they recommended the investment to customers and failed to reasonably consider the information contained in the PPM.

The complaint further alleges that Ridgeway & Conger, Inc. charged excessive markups on customers’ unregistered securities transactions. In each of the transactions, the firm purchased the SBA interest-only security for its own account from a placement agent, and shortly thereafter sold it to individual retail customers. In each of these transactions, the firm already had the order from the customer in hand before it purchased the security from the placement agent. In each instance Leigh McCobb Garber, on the firm’s behalf, signed the trade tickets approving the markup. In total, the firm charged approximately $112,408 in markups for a security which the firm purchased for a total of about $548,722 and sold to customers for a total of about $661,131. Nothing in the nature of the Ridgeway & Conger, Inc.’s or Kenly Brisard or Philip Brisard’s business or the identified purchases of the SBA interest-only security justified the size of the markups on the purchases by the firm’s customers.  In addition, the complaint alleges that the firm fraudulently failed to disclose the excessive markups on trade confirmations or otherwise to purchasers of the SBA interest-only security, thereby willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and violated FINRA Rule 2020. Ridgeway & Conger, Inc.’s misrepresentations and omissions were material because a reasonable investor would consider them important in making investment decisions.

Furthermore, the complaint alleges that Ridgeway & Conger, Inc. and Leigh McCobb Garber failed to establish and maintain proper supervisory systems and procedures for the firm’s sales of Securities Act of 1933 Rule 144A securities, markup and Section 5 activities related to the sales of the interest-only unregistered security.

If you or someone you know has a complaint or lost money investing with Ridgeway & Conger, Inc., and/or securities brokers Kenley Brisard, Philip Brisard and Leigh McCobb Garber, you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at CMD are experienced in representing investors in fraud, suitability, private placements, 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.

CMD Investigating Unsuitable Recommendations to Purchase The Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP High Income ETN

Carmel, Milazzo & DiChiara LLP (CMD) is investigating potential claims against Morgan Stanley and its brokers who may have recommended unsuitable investments in the Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP High Income Exchange Traded Note (ETN).

Before recommending an investment, a broker-dealer has a fiduciary duty to adequately disclose the risks involved in the investment and to perform the necessary due diligence to determine whether the investment is suitable for the investor in light of that investor’s age, investment experience, net worth, income, and investment objectives.

The Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP High Income Index ETN is an exchange-traded note issued by Morgan Stanley.  The Notes aim to provide investors with a cash payment at the scheduled maturity or early repurchase and variable coupon payments each quarter, in each case based on the performance of the underlying index, the Cushing MLP High Income Index.

If you or someone you know lost money after a stock broker recommended an unsuitable investment in the Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP High Income Exchange Traded Note (ETN), CMD wants to hear from you. 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 for a free and confidential case evaluation.