In August 2016, FINRA filed a formal complaint against a broker, Hank Mark Werner of Northport, NY, for churning the account of his customer, a 77-year-old blind widow, and for excessive and unsuitable trading on her account. His actions, which allegedly span a three-year period, resulted in his receiving more than $243,000 in commission, which caused his client a net loss of approximately $184,000.
Category: Recent Investigations
In July 2016, Prudential Annuities Distributors were fined nearly one million dollars for failing to “detect and prevent a scheme” that resulted in the theft of approximately $1.3 million dollars from an 89-year-old’s variable annuity account.
FINRA filed a cease and desist order in the spring of 2015 against Avenir Financial Group, CEO Michael Clements, and registered representative Karim Ibrahim for fraud against elderly investors. In addition, another registered representative, Cesar Rodriguez, was barred from the securities industry for fraud and for improperly using $77,000 of investor funds for personal expenses. Among the list of complaints: the allegedly defrauding of $250,000 from a 92-year-old investor.
From December 2012 to August 2014, Jeffrey C. McClure allegedly wrote 36 checks to himself from an elderly customer’s bank account. FINRA reports that the checks totaled nearly $89,000, which McClure deposited in his own account so that he could pay his own rent. FINRA permanently barred the broker.
Two brokers, Fernando L. Arevalo and Jimmy E. Caballero, were permanently barred from the securities industry by FINRA in 2013, for allegedly stealing $300,000 from an elderly widow with diminished mental capacity.
As the sole distributor of a Real Estate Investment Fund, David Lerner Associates allegedly solicited thousands of customers without determining if it was suitable for investors. In addition, FINRA states the firm targeted “unsophisticated investors” and the elderly. In 2012, FINRA ordered the firm to pay $12 million in restitution to affected customers who purchased shares.
Brookstone Securities, as well as its owner/CEO, Antony Turbeville, and one of its brokers, Christopher Kline, were reported by FINRA to have made fraudulent sales of collateralized mortgage obligation to elderly and retired investors. The firm was not only fined $1 million, it was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $1.6 million.
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