Investors of Judith Johnston, NY Life

Investors of Judith Johnston of Frisco, formerly employed by NY Life, may have recourse for investment products sold to them.  Ms. Johnston was recently barred from the securities industry for failing to comply with an investigation into her annuity and insurance sales.  Please call 1-866-817-0201 for a free consultation with an attorney.

Ms. Johnston came to the attention of the regulator, FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Invest photo 2Authority, due to the high number of customer complaints.  Eight different investors have submitted written complaints and have either sued NY Life concerning Johnston’s sales activities or threatened to sue.

The complaints by investors included Johnston’s solicitation and sale of variable universal life and variable annuities.  These complaints asserted that Johnston mislead them concerning various aspects of the financial products, such as the fees, the costs and the feasibility of taking .  They also assert that the husband of Johnston engaged in deception during the sale of these products and that Johnston was complicit.

On November 6. 2018, FINRA Enforcement sent a request to her address, requesting that she appear to provide testimony on December 4, 2018. On November 20, 2018, Johnston hired an attorney and testimony was rescheduled for January 24, 2019.

On January 24. 2019. Johnston appeared to start her testimony.  At the conclusion of one day of testimony on January 24th, FINRA staff determined that it needed additional testimony from her and requested that she appear to continue her recorded hearing.

By email dated February 11, 2019. Counsel for Johnston stated that Johnston would not comply with FINRA’s request to provide any additional testimony, and no longer wished to cooperate with the investigation. As stated in the email to FINRA staff on February 11, 2019, and by this agreement. Johnston acknowledges that she received FINRA’s request to provide testimony. and will not comply with that request.

Attention Investors of Richard Niemann, UBS

Investors of Richard Niemann, a securities broker with UBS in Sugar Land, Texas, may have recourse for unauthorized transactions in their accounts.  Please call 1-866-817-0201 to speak to an attorney.

UBSFrom June 2010 through November 2017, while registered through UBS, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority alleged that Niemann effected approximately 400 discretionary transactions, purchase or sale of stocks without the owner’s approval.  This was done in 13 accounts belonging to 11 customers without UBS having accepted the accounts as discretionary.

Although the customers had given Niemann express or implied authority to exercise discretion in their accounts, none of the customers had provided written authorization for Niemann to exercise discretion. Furthermore, Niemann did not obtain written authorization from UBS to make trades in the accounts on a discretionary basis; indeed, UBS’s written supervisory procedures prohibited representatives from doing so.

Mr. Niemann has been the subject of four prior customer disputes.  This includes a $575,000 settlement to a customer concerning the sale of auction rate securities – though Niemann asserts he was not at fault for this loss and was not name in the ultimate suit.  This level of complaint history likely means that UBS was required to give Niemann heightened supervision in his operations as a UBS broker.  UBS should have detected the unauthorized transactions.

Christopher Duke Bennett Fraud Victims

If you have suffered losses with Christopher Duke Bennett of J.J.B. Hilliard, please call 1-866-817-0201.   Victims may receive a free and confidential consultation with an attorney.  Bennett is accused of participating in systemic fraud of his investors.

Bennett engaged in unauthorized trading, or churning.  This is where a broker makes trades in an account to effectuate commissions for himself without regard for the investor.  Between January 2014 and December 2015, Bennett violated federal and state securities laws by exercising discretionary trading authority in the accounts of several customers without written authorization, in violation of NASD Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010.  This was the grounds for a regulatory action filed against Bennett by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Between January 2014 and December 2015, Bennett made unauthorized trades in the accounts of four customers, one of whom was a senior investor, by placing approximately 75 total trades in those accounts. A broker is required to speak to an investor contemporaneously to a trade, or have written authorization that the broker has authority to make a trade at the broker’s discretion.  Bennett did not obtain express authorization from those customers for those trades prior to placing them, did not have written authorization from the customers to exercise discretionary authority in those accounts, and neither sought nor obtained from Hilliard Lyons prior written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary.

To date, at least 10 of Bennett’s former clients have filed suit, via FINRA arbitration, seeking redress.

Dennis Allen Hayes Investors

Investors of Dennis Allen Hayes, recently with Newbridge Securities Corp., should call 1-866-817-0201 for a free and confidential consultation.

In January 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulatory organization policing securities brokerages and brokers, filed suit against Hayes.  That complaint stated Hayes engaged in prolonged fraud in the handling of investor accounts.  In particular, he sold investments that were not approved by his employer and that were not legitimate investments.  Such an action is commonly referred to as “selling away.”

Between March 2010 and June 2016 (the “Selling Away Period”), while he was associated with Newbridge Securities Corporation (BD No. 104065) (“Newbridge” or the “Firm”), Dennis Allen Hayes (“Hayes”) recommended that nine investors, eight of whom were Newbridge customers, invest a total of $2.7 million in five companies. Hayes did not provide any written or any other notification to Newbridge regarding his participation in these private securities transactions. The investors suffered losses of at least $2.3 million, after one of the companies filed for bankruptcy and the other companies ceased operations.

In addition, from June 2011 through June 2016, Hayes used two personal email accounts of his to communicate with four customers about their Firm accounts. Hayes also communicated via text message with one Firm customer about her Firm account between November 2015 and June 2016. The use of private email and text messaging is a common mechanism to perpetrate fraud because it is generally done with the intent of hiding the communications from an employer.

On September 16, 2016, Hayes was permitted to resign because, “first, the Firm has an open internal review regarding a customer complaint that evolved into a[n] arbitration for possible selling away and private securities transactions [and] second [Hayes] had little or no production [other than fraud] in the last 12 months”.

Upon Hayes’ recommendation and with Hayes’ assistance, nine investors purchased securities issued by five privately-held companies without Hayes’ employer’s knowledge. Eight of the investors were customers of Newbridge.

The securities Hayes sold were promissory notes issued by MSLLC and IRLLC, common stock and promissory notes of BTInc, common stock and promissory notes of KIInc (a successor of BTInc) and common stock of FXInc.

The owner of the five companies was a family friend of Hayes’.

These investments are currently lost, but investors have recourse.  The employer of Hayes, Newbridge, had a duty to oversee the transactions of Hayes and to supervise against the sale of investments that Newibridge had not researched or approved.

Adam Michael Lopez Loss Recovery

If you were an investor of Adam Michael Lopez, formerly of Country Capital Management, please call 1-866-817-0201 to discuss your options for loss recovery.

Invest photo 2Mr. Lopez has recently received a bar from the securities industry.  He refused to respond to allegations made against him by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  These allegations included claims that he stole funds  that clients had given to him for investment, namely funds for insurance policies.

FINRA is a self-regulatory organization that polices securities brokerages under the oversight of the SEC.  This entity is charged with policing securities brokers in their interactions with investors both with their firm and away from their investment firm.

The State of Illinois is also investigating since Mr. Lopez operated out of the Springfield area.  The allegations consist of theft of funds given to Lopez for the placement in certain insurance policies and securities.

Country Capital Management had a duty to oversee the activities of Lopez.  A securities broker-dealer has obligations to oversee outside business activities of its representatives.  Consequently, civil liability may exist on the part of Country Capital to compensate the clients of Lopez.

If you have suffered such losses, Jeffrey Pederson may be able to assist you.  Jeffrey Pederson handles FINRA arbitration cases across the country and is licensed with the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Pagartanis Loss Recovery

If you were a victim of Steven Pagartanis please call 1-866-817-0201.  The Law Offices of Jeffrey Pederson, PC is a firm that specializes in suits concerning securities brokers.

Pagartanis, the former Lombard and Cadaret broker from Long Island, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday, December 10, 2018, in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for running a Ponzi scheme over 18 years

Investors have recourse when investment professionals turn bad.

Investors have recourse when investment professionals turn bad.

Steven Pagartanis victims invested over $13 million and saw actual losses of more than $9 million,  according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

This former licensed securities broker solicited elderly victims to invest in real estate-related investments, including those affiliated with publicly traded companies and an international hotel conglomerate, according to the Department of Justice. Pagartanis promised his investors returns consistent with conservative investments-that their principal would be secure and earn a fixed return of 4.5% to 8% annually.

The victims wrote checks payable to an entity secretly controlled by Mr. Pagartanis at his direction, according to the government. He utilized a network of bank accounts to launder the stolen funds, which he used to pay personal expenses, buy luxury items and make the phony interest or dividend payments to other victims, according to the Department of Justice. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Recovery of these losses will focus on the employers of Pagartanis.  These employers are required to have supervisory safeguards in place to prevent such actions.  FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has rules that require licensed brokerages to take steps to monitor and detect private securities transactions away from the firm.  Consequently, liability exists even if such actions were not taking place right under the nose of the firms.  FINRA offers an arbitration forum to recover such losses.

The SEC also filed a civil suit concerning this matter in May 2018.

Jeffrey Pederson is an attorney who helps investors recover losses from brokerage firms through the FINRA arbitration process.

DAVID FAGENSON LOSS RECOVERY

Call 1-866-817-0201 to learn about potential loss recovery for investors of David Fagenson.  Mr. Fagenson was previously with Newbridge, Merrill Lynch and UBS Financial.  Initial consultations are free and most representations are done on a contingency basis.

FINRA, the regulator that oversees securities brokers, alleged that Fagenson engaged in churning and unsuitable trading in the accounts of three senior customers during the period of January 2012 and September 2016.

We believe that the problem could be more widespread.  Churning is rarely restricted to just aInvest photo 2 small percentage of a broker’s clients.  An average broker usually has over 100 investors in that broker’s book of business.

Also, Fagenson has a long history of actions that question his veracity and ability to hand the savings of others.  In addition to a felony charge in 2010, Fagenson has been the subject of eight investor lawsuits/complaints, three regulatory actions, a termination of brokerage employment for cause, and one bankruptcy.

The history of Fagenson raises questions of how he was supervised and whether he should have ever been hired by the aforementioned brokerages.  UBS has acknowledged his issues and that he Fegenson required heightened supervision.  However, even that was not enough in light of the many red flags that existed.

Jeffrey Pederson is a private attorney handling FINRA arbitration cases for investors to obtain loss recovery.

 

 

 

Blockchain Fund Loss Recovery

Investors suffering Blockchain fund losses should call 1-866-817-0201 about potential loss recovery.  Initial consultations are free and representations largely handled on a contingency basis.

During the week of November 19, 2018 Bitcoin lost one-third of its value and was down 80% of its value from its peak at the end of 2017.   This reflects the larger downturn in Crypto and Blockchain investments.

Blockchain investments were inherently speculativeinvestingstockphoto 1.  When such investments were sold by an investment professional, that professional had a duty to only sell to investors looking to speculate, and not investors needing the funds for things such as retirement or educational expenses.

We are looking to speak to investors suffering losses in a variety of Blockchain ETFs and related companies.  This includes losses in Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK), Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy (BLCN), First Trust Indxx Innovative Transaction & Process ETF (KOIN), Rex BKCM ETF (BKC), and Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy China (BCNA).  Additionally, losses in Overstock (OSTK) are also being investigated.

Douglas Simanski Fraud

Investors of Douglas Simanski should call 1-866-817-0201 for a free and confidential consultation with a private attorney.

FBIFederal regulators allege that Douglas Simanski raised more than $3.9 million from approximately 27 of his brokerage customers and investment advisory clients by telling them that he would invest their money in either a “tax-free” fixed rate investment, a rental car company, or one of two coal mining companies in which Simanski claimed to have an ownership interest.

The investors were largely in the Altoona, PA area.  Most of the investors were elderly.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil action in the United States District Court for Western Pennsylvania on November 2, 2018.  The complaint describes the fraudulent scheme of Simanski and seeks civil penalties and disgorgement.

As stated in the SEC  complaint, “Simanski convinced some of his most trusting and vulnerable clients, many of them retired or elderly, to invest their money while knowing the investments were not legitimate, that he would make virtually no securities investments on their behalf, and would instead use their money for personal expenses or to repay other investors.”

Simanski placed investor funds in brokerage and bank accounts that Simanski opened in his wife’s name.  He would then use the life savings of his investors for his own personal needs.

The record of Simanski shows that his employers ultimately discovered the wrongdoing after investors brought the matter to the attention of regulators.