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 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 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.