Colo. Attorney for Sonya Camarco Victims

Sonya Camarco is an LPL Financial advisor based in Colorado Springs who stole approximately $2.8 million from her investors/clients.  Camarco then used the stolen funds for personal expenses such as buying several homes.

If you are a victim, please call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Pederson at 1-866-817-0201 for a free consultation on your rights.  Jeffrey Pederson is an attorney licensed in Colorado who has helped hundreds of victims of financial advisor fraud and theft from across the country.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Sonya D. Camarco with five counts of fraud charges and has frozen her assets after SEC investigators said she used third-party checks and other means to forward client funds toward personal expenses like mortgage and credit card payments.  Federal authorities filed charges against Comarco on or about August 27, 2017 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.

broker in handcuffs

Camarco forged clients’ signatures on at least 129 first- and third-party checks, having them sent to a post office box and signing them over to an entity she controlled, an entity named “C Investments,” according to the SEC. Camarco bilked one widow victim for more than $1 million, investigators say.

These actions not only raise questions on the actions of Camarco, but also raises question as to the LPL supervisors charged with overseeing Camarco.  Reasonable supervision is designed to detect and stop these types of actions.  There are also money laundering issues on the part of those who helped Camarco commit her crimes.

Prior to working for LPL, Camarco had worked from both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

Jeffrey Pederson, from his offices in the Denver Tech Center, has handled cases in the past with similar facts and has experience in this type of advisor scheme where an advisor uses similar mechanisms to gain control of the investor’s funds.   Consequently, he knows the documents to seek in discovery from defendants or to subpoena from non-defendants, and additional avenues of recovery to allow victims to increase their level of repayment.

George Merhoff Loss Recovery

Investors of George Merhoff, a broker and advisor with Cetera Advisors, can call 1-866-817-0201 for a free initial consultation with an attorney concerning loss recovery.  All consultations are confidential and representations done on a contingent basis, where attorney fees paid from the ultimate settlement or judgment.

Merhoff, a securities broker located in Oregon, has been the subject of approximately 16 lawsuits in the past two years.  These lawsuits concern the recommendation of unsuitable securities.  Merhoff sold a significant amount of oil and gas investments to his investors over the last six years.  Oil and gas investments are inherently speculative.

The sale of unsuitable securities is not only a negligent action, but also a form of fraud.  The payout to the broker/advisor from these investments are generally higher.  This gives the broker or advisor an incentive to omit from the investor the high level of risk that these investments pose.

Suitability violations exist anytime a recommended investment is inconsistent with the wants 7crude-oil-pumps-power-transmission-elementsand needs of an investor.  FINRA, the regulator overseeing financial advisors and securities brokers, prohibits the recommendation of unsuitable securities.  These rules also require that the advisor or broker to “know the customer.”  This means that the advisor or broker must know the wants and needs of his investors, along with that investor’s tolerance for risk and objectives for the account.

Since the oil and gas investments are speculative investments that are inherently volatile, they would not be suitable investors indicating that they can afford to take significant risk with the funds.  The investments would not be suitable for investors looking to receive regular income from their investments or take only moderate risk.

Oil and gas investments of particular interest include Linn Energy (“LINE” or “LNCO”), PennGrowth and Teekay Partners.  Also of interest are investors investing in REITs or utilizing margin loans on the recommendation of Merhoff.

 

John Correnti Investment Losses

If you have suffered investment losses with John Correnti, most recently with AXA, please call 1-866-817-0201 for a free and confidential consultation concerning your rights.

Mr. Correnti was terminated by AXA in July 2016 as the result of allegations concerning market manipulation.  The manipulation concern certain low-priced investments that were traded over-the-counter.  This is a serious type of securities fraud.  Such investments are easy to manipulate by a broker because they generally have a low volume of trading.  If a broker can get several of clients in a short time period or have one client make a significantly large purchase he can artificially inflate the price.  The problem from market manipulation generally comes in that the broker trades in his own account ahead of the purchase, sells once the price is artificially inflated and then the investment crashes since no other investors are available to keep the price inflated, though it is unclear if Correnti directly profited from the alleged market manipulation.  Notwithstanding, a violation may exist even if the broker does not directly profit as either a fraud on the market or by the damage the broker causes the investor/customer.

FINRA sought to investigate Correnti for these allegations and allegations that he was intentionally selling investments to his customer/investors beyond the supervision of AXA compliance and managers.   Correnti, at the regulatory hearing, chose to stop his testimony and, as a result, stopped contesting the charges.  He was then expelled from the securities industry by FINRA.

 

Victims of Jay D. Jordan

We are currently investigating Jay D. Jordan, also known as Jay Dee Jordan and J.D. Jordan, of Oklahoma City and previously an advisor of WFG Investments has been found by regulators to have systemic fraud in the accounts of his investors (customers). These victims of Jordan should speak to a private attorney about their rights by calling 1-866-817-0201.  Initial consultations are free and all information is kept confidential.

Between June 1,2012 and March 31, 2016 FINRA, the regulator that oversees securities brokerages and financial advisors, has made the findings that Jordan engaged in a series of significant violations of FlNRA Rules that resulted in substantial customer harm.  These violations resulted from the following misconduct:

He recommended and engaged in unsuitable trading in nontraditional ETFs in 84 of his customers accounts. These trades, which were unsuitable from both a reasonable-basis and a customer-specific perspective, collectively resulted in customer losses exceeding $8 million.

He exercised discretion without having obtained prior written authorization in the accounts of at least six customers.

He mismarked 927 of his customers’ purchases of nontraditional ETFs as “unsolicited” when he had, in fact, solicited those transactions. He failed to report two customer complaints to his Firm, and then surreptitiously attempted to settle one of the claims away from the Firm through the improper use ofhis personal email account.

He failed to produce requested documents and information pursuant to a FiNRA Rule 8210 information request. As a result ofthe foregoing, Jordan violated NASD Rules 2310(a) (before July 9. 2012) and 2510(b),and FiNRA Rules 2010,21 ll (a) (on and after July 9,2012), 45 ll and 8210.

Additionally, over the course of his career, he has been the subject of at least 15 threatened or filed suits.  Such suits are generally handled through the FINRA arbitration process.

Investors of Paul Vincent Blum

If you suffered losses with Paul Vincent Blum, most recently a financial advisor with RBC, please call 1-866-817-0201.

In 2017, FINRA was conducting an investigation of Blum in connection with customer complaints and arbitration claims alleging, among other things, unsuitable trading. To date, Blum has approximately 23 customer complaints.  Many of the complaints concern his recommendation of energy sector investments to investors not wishing to speculate or unwilling to high levels of risk known to exist in the energy sector.  Many of these complaints were settled by Blum’s employers, including RBC.  He has also been accused of making misrepresentations concerning bonds, including the taxable nature of certain bonds.

On July 21,2017, FINRA staff sent Blum’s counsel a written request for on-the-record testimony pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210. As stated in Blum’s counsel’s email to FINRA of July 25,2017, Blum aclmowledges that he received FINRA’s request and will not appear for on-the-record testimony in front of FINRA. FINRA requires that persons subject to FINRA’s jurisdiction provide information, documents and testimony as part of a FINRA investigation.

As a result of the failure to cooperate in the regulatory investigation of FINRA, Blum has been barred from association with any FINRA member, which would include any and all securities brokerages in the United States.

Walter Marino Annuity Complaints

Walter Marino has come to our attention for issues concerning his variable annuity sales and large number of customer complaints.  Marino most recently worked for Benjamin Securities, Lincoln Investments, Planmember and Legend Equities.  If you wish to discuss your rights with an attorney call 1-866-817-0201 for a free consultation.

The most recent issue with Marino is a regulatory complaint filed against him by the securities regulator FINRA.  This complaint constitutes the 16th “event” in the CRD record of Marino.  An event on a CRD is an occurrence which reflects poorly on a broker’s ability to handle the funds of others.  Events include terminations of employment, being sued by a customer/investor, being the focus of a regulatory action, and other similar black marks.

This most recent regulatory complaint involves the sale of variable annuities.  In May and June 2014, Respondent Walter Marino recommended unsuitable replacements (also known as exchanges) of variable annuities to two customers without having a reasonable basis for recommending the transactions.  An investment is unsuitable when the investment puts the interests of the broker ahead of that broker’s investor.

Marino received substantial commissions, approximately $60,000, from the unsuitable transactions. Marino’s investors, however, received no benefit from the exchanges Marino recommended. Indeed, both customers suffered financial harm due to the costs incurred as a result of the annuity replacements since the liquidation of annuities causes the investor to not only lose the substantial commissions and fees that the investor paid to get into the annuity, but the investor commonly incurs significant charges in liquidating the annuities.

Marino’s recommendation to one such investor resulted in that investor incurring an $82,523.23 surrender charge, a charge commonly assessed upon the liquidation of a variable annuity. In addition, switching annuities can have substantial tax ramifications.   When Marino recommended replacing non-qualified annuities, Marino failed to utilize the tax-free exchange available under Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code (“1035 exchange”).

The new annuities that Marino recommended to replace those being surrendered also resulted in an increase costs to the investors.  The increases included increases in annual mortality and expense charges, a new, advisory fees of 1.5%, and new surrender periods which decreased the ability to liquidate the annuities.

By recommending annuity replacements that benefit him but caused substantial financial harm to his customers, Marino violated regulatory rules that require him to sell suitable investments to his investors.

These issues should not be a surprise to those familiar with Marino’s history.  The CRD of Marino indicates that he is an alumni of the Stratton Oakmont brokerage firm, the brokerage firm that was the focus of the film The Wolf of Wall Street.

James Fleming Investment Loss Recovery

Please call 1-866-817-0201 to discuss potential investment loss recovery for investors of James Fleming.  Mr. Flemming previously work for Investors Capital Corp. (“ICC”) and currently works for Questar.  Initial consultation with an attorney is free of charge.

Wall Street photo 2As identified by FINRA regulators, between June 2010 and December 2014 (the ”Relevant Period”), Fleming engaged in a pattern of short-term trading of UITs in two customers’ accounts. UITs are investment companies that offer shares of a fixed portfolio of securities in a one-time public offering, and terminate on a specified date. As such, they are not designed to be used as trading vehicles. In addition, UITs typically carry significant upfront charges, and as with mutual funds that carry front-end sales charges, short-term trading of UITs is presumptively improper.

During the Relevant Period, in connection with two customers’ accounts, Fleming repeatedly recommended that the customers purchase UITs and then sell them well before their maturity dates. The UITs that Fleming recommended had maturity dates of 24 months or longer and carried significant sales charges.

Nevertheless, on 177 occasions, Fleming recommended that his customers sell their UIT positions within eight months oftheir purchase. The holding period for the UITs ranges from between three and 235 days, with an average holding period ofonly 96 days. In addition, on several occasions, Fleming recommended that his customers use the proceeds from the short-term sale of a UIT to purchase another UIT with similar investment objectives. Fleming’s recommendations caused the customers to incur unnecessary sales charges, and were unsuitable in view ofthe frequency and cost ofthe transactions.

Regulators suspended Flemming for a period of four months and imposed a $10,000 fine.

Annuity Losses with Roger Zullo

LPLIf you suffered investment losses or stuck in a variable annuity, or other investment losses, as a result of Roger Zullo, formerly of LPL Financial, please call 1-866-817-0201.

On April 4, 2017, Zullo entered a Consent Order, a settlement, with the Massachusetts Securities Division resolving charges made in an administrative complaint by the state against Zullo and LPL.

The complaint alleged that Zullo, under the oversight of LPL, defrauded their clients, falsified client financial suitability profiles, and sold his customers unsuitable variable annuities. Pursuant to the Consent Order, without admitting or denying any allegations of fact or violations o flaw, he consented to a permanent bar from the securities industry in Massachusetts, a $40,000 administrative fine, and disgorgement of $1,875,348. Payment for disgorgement was waived due to Zullo’s circumstances, however, this does not preclude investors from retaining private attorneys to seek this recovery from LPL.

The action stems largely from variable annuity sales.  Zullo, allegedly, recommended variable annuities to elderly individuals.  Investment professionals have a legal duty to only recommend suitable investments.  Variable annuities are inherently unsuitable for seniors.  Not only do they lock-up the funds at a time when people need access to their funds, the investments pay the broker a very high commission.  This commission is for the sale of many aspects of the variable annuity that senior investors do not need.  These include tax deferral and life insurance.  When a broker makes a heightened commission for the sale of things that are unneeded, the broker puts his interests ahead of the investors, and that constitutes a form of fraud known as the sale of “unsuitable investments.”

Zullo first became registered with FINRA as an IR in September 1998. He maintained that registration through consecutive associations with two member firms between September 1988 and August 2004. From August 2004 through December 2016, he was registered as an Investment Representative with LPL.

In November 2004, Zullo also became registered as IP through his association with the Firm. Zullo maintained those registrations through his association with the Firm until December 2016. Zullo worked for the Firm as a broker-dealer agent and investment adviser representative in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

On January 10,2017, FINRA sent a request for information and documents pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210 to Zullo with a response date of January 24, 2017. Zullo, through his counsel, requested two extensions to the January 10 request. Pursuant to these requests, FINRA extended the response date to March 1,2017.

Zullo did not provide any documents or information to FINRA in response to the January 10 request. On March 2,2017, FINRA sent a second request for documents and information pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210 to Zullo with a response date of March 16, 2017. Zullo did not provide any documents or information to FINRA in response to the March 2 request.

The resulting FINRA punishment is a permanent bar from the securities industry.

Anthony Vincent Ferrone securities violations

If you have suffered securities losses with Anthony Vincent Ferrone, formerly of Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise and Stifel Nicolaus, please call 1-866-817-0201 for a free and confidential consultation with a private attorney.   We believe that investors may be entitled to recovery for securities losses based upon recent actions concerning allegations of securities violations.

NYSE pic 2In July 2017, Mr. Ferrone was barred by FINRA from the securities industry.  The reason was because of his refusal to give complete testimony in a regulatory investigation concerning allegations that he sold investors unsuitable investments.

Unsuitable investments are investments recommended by a broker that are too aggressive or otherwise consistent with the investment objectives of an investor.  It can also mean any investment where a broker puts his personal compensation ahead of those of his investors.  Investors sold unsuitable investments are entitled to damages from the broker and the broker’s employer.

This is a recent event in a history of events concerning alleged mismanagement of funds and other red flags as to Mr. Ferrone’s ability to act as a broker.  Ferrone has four other allegations of mismanagement by investors, which are largely based on suitability issues.

Although Ferrone appeared for the FINRA investigation review on June 21, 2017, he did not provide complete testimony to FINRA. Specifically, during the review, Ferrone stated that he did not intend to proceed further on that date or at any future date and departed prior to the completion of his testimony.

 

 

Glenn Robert King investment losses

Over the course of his career, New Jersey broker Glenn Robert King, most recently of Royal Alliance and Buckman, Buckman and Reid,  has been accused many times of inappropriate action leading to investment loss of his investors.  His record discloses 25 disclosure events.  Disclosure events can be either lawsuits/judgments, terminations, regulatory investigations, bankruptcies, or written investor complaints seeking recovery.  His employers had a duty to provide heightened supervision to King in light of this extensive history but apparently failed to supervise adequately.  Investors may call for a free and confidential consultation with a private attorney by calling 1-866-817-0201.

A FINRA Hearing Officer in the most recent action found that King: 1) willfully misrepresented and omitted material facts, which constitutes fraud, when he sold 44 unit investment trusts (“UITs”) to seven customers; 2) excessively traded the accounts of four customers when he traded the customers’ UITs and closed-end mutual funds (“CEFs”) on a short-term basis (a suitability violation because the expense and commissions of trading were more than the reasonable benefit to the investor of such trades ); 3) made unsuitable recommendations to the same four investors when he recommended that they purchase UITs and CEFs as short-term trading investments; and 4) exercised discretion in the accounts of the four customers without written consent or approval. The Hearing Officer barred King for the fraud and imposed an additional bar on him for the suitability violations. In light of the bars, the Hearing Officer declined to impose sanctions on King for the improper exercise of discretion.

After an independent review of the record, FINRA affirmed the Hearing Officer’s findings of liability of King for the excessive trading and improper exercise of discretion in investor accounts, but we reverse the Hearing Officer’s findings of liability related to the fraud and unsuitable recommendations. For sanctions, FINRA decided to bar King for excessive trading in his investors’ accounts. In light of this bar, FINRA declined to impose sanctions on King for his improper discretionary trading.

In February 1992, Glenn Robert King registered with FINRA as a securities broker.  During the periods relevant to the conduct for the most recent allegations, April 2008 to March 2011 and January 2013 to December 2014, King was registered with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (“Royal Alliance”) and Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc. (“Buckman Reid”), respectively. King joined Royal Alliance as a broker in January 2005. He voluntarily terminated his association with the firm in June 2011. In January 2012, King registered with Buckman Reid as general securities representative. King voluntarily left Buckman Reid in June 2015. King has not registered with another FINRA member firm since he terminated his association with Buckman Reid.