Matthew Stucke, currently with Cetera, and previously with Cambridge and Raymond James, is alleged to have inappropriately invested his investors. Please contact us if you were a Stucke investor. We have represented investors for 20 years. We can provide a free and confidential consultation as to whether you were sold inappropriate stock or other investments.
There are currently two suits filed against the employers of Stucke. Details of the allegations reveal that he is accused of mishandling the investments in a discretionary account in a suit filed in July 2023. This suit sought $370,000 in damages and settled for $275,000.
A second suit filed in October 2023 alleges that Stucke recommended unsuitable and overly risky stock investments. The suit seeks damages of approximately $100,000.
Raymond James also, according to Stucke, also forced him out of their employment for investment practices. A FINRA panel found that Raymond James appropriately terminated Stucke in 2020 because of “email communications with clients that violated firm policies, including emails providing clients with limited-distribution investment material without firm approval.”
Stucke had asserted that he was the victim of a conspiracy and sued Raymond James to have the terminations removed. He stated that others at Raymond James conspired against him to take his business.
FINRA denied the attempt by Stucke to have the termination removed from his record. Not only that, FINRA ordered to Stucke to pay back a $1 million loan he had taken with his former employer.
Stewart Ginn is affiliated with Independent Financial Group and Crosby Investment Group with offices located in California and Colorado. Regulators accuse Ginn of churning accounts, of mostly elderly investors, and creating millions of dollars in losses and unnecessary commissions.
A regulatory complaint asserts that Ginn, a licensed securities broker, exercised control over the accounts of at least five investors. These investors were mostly elderly and retired. Ginn then proceeded to trade the accounts excessively. This was in the best interests of Ginn and not his investors. As a result, the investors incurred losses and commissions of over $4.5 million.
Securities regulations currently require that a broker act in the best interests of an investor. A broker fails to act in the best interests of a client when the broker puts commissions ahead of the investment objectives of a client. As the percentage of the portfolio consumed by commissions increases the ability for the portfolio sustain value decreases. Even before this best interests standard was the rule, brokers were required to only recommend suitable trades and abstain from excessive trading.
Ginn and his employer are currently facing three investor lawsuits in addition to the regulatory suit. All assert allegations of excessive trading and excessive commissions.
We have handled investor suits such as these for over 20 years. Please contact us to discuss your options. Initial consultations and free and confidential.
First Republic Investment Management and First Republic Securities representatives allegedly gave false and misleading information about First Republic stock in the days leading to the bank’s collapse.
On March 10, 2023, First Republic Investment Management and First Republic Securities representatives sent their investors a notice about First Republic Bank. The notice stated that the bank was still in a “very strong position.” The body of the notice states that the deposits are “strong” and “diversified” and the “liquidity and capital remain strong.” The notice goes on to state that stock was undervalued because “the stock market has tended to have a spill-over effect on our share price, as well as those of a lost of other banks.”
The notice was strange because First Republic Bank and the First Republic securities arms were separate corporate entities. Unlike the bank, the securities entities were not experiencing a run on their assets. Unlike the bank, the securities arms were not facing an issue with deposits.
The rosy picture of the bank was not accurate and did not disclose relevant information in its possession. First Republic Investment Management is a registered investment adviser and has the duty to make full disclosure and to act in the best interests of its investors. It violated this duty by failing to give the investors a true warning.
The notice seems strange until you realize that the representatives were paid largely in bank stock. All areas of the organization were given discounts and encouraged to purchase the stock.
Also undisclosed in the plea to purchase First Republic stock was that bank and Asset Management insiders were selling shares. The Wall Street Journal published an article a few days after the communications disclosing how the top executives unloaded $11 million in First Republic shares in the time just prior to the collapse of the bank’s stock.
Given these issues, we are currently investigating the matter and wish to speak to those who invested in First Republic Bank. The existing class action suits do not seek recovery from First Republic Investment Management or First Republic Securities.
We have represented investors for over 20 years. Please call us toll-free at the number above and we can discuss options you may have to recover your losses.
We are currently investigating Michael Kirwan and his potentially inappropriate annuity sales. These actions include misrepresenting important aspects of annuities and failing to manage the annuities in an appropriate manner. Please email us or call us at the toll-free number above.
Investor allegations are many. Kirwan stating that he was not receiving a commission, which would conceal that he was selling a high commissioned product in violation of the investor’s best interests, is one allegation. Misrepresenting surrender charges to make the investment appear liquid is another. As such, Investors allege that Kirwan committed fraud in the sale of the annuities.
Mismanagement is another allegation. The value of annuities is often dictated by the performance of the annuity subaccounts. These are accounts that resemble mutual funds. The subaccounts are required to be invested in a manner that is in the best interests of the investor and suitable for the investor’s objectives and risk tolerance. As such, aggressive subaccounts can be a violation of securities laws. Investors allege that Kirwan invested the subaccounts inappropriately and excessively traded the accounts in a manner that inappropriately increased the risk.
Kirwan also made the representations by inappropriately using his private and non-brokerage email. This has the effect of hiding the communications from supervisors. Supervisors, however, have a duty to audit advisors and this includes learning all email addresses that the advisor may be using. An advisor failing to use only the brokerage’s email, here the American Portfolios domain, violates multiple FINRA and SEC regulations to prevent fraud and protect records. This creates liability for both the advisor and the advisor’s firm.
The employment history of Kirwan reveals a history of investors accusing him of fraud. He previously settled claims concerning racketeering and falsifying the signatures of investors to initiate wire transfers. Advisors with this type of history should be under heightened supervision by their employers.
Jeffrey Pederson PC has a long history of representing investors in cases concerning fraudulent retirement investments. Lawsuits of this kind are required to be handled through FINRA arbitration. We have represented investors in FINRA arbitrations, and its NYSE and NASD predecessor arbitrations, for over 20 years.
Please call if you were an investor with Christopher Booth Kennedy. Western International Securities employed Kennedy for most of the period between 2017 through September of 2021, while briefly working for Spartan Capital
A FINRA regulatory action identified the wrongdoing of Kennedy. Between July 2020 and July 2021, Respondent Christopher Kennedy churned and excessively traded four accounts of six customers as a broker for Western International Securities.
There may be a considerable number of additional victims. The regulatory complaint does not preclude the fact that many more victims may exist.
Churning is the act of a broker making excessive or unsuitable trades. A broker churns an accounts more for the broker’s personal benefit than for the benefit of the investor or recklessly disregards the interests of the investor.
Control over an account can indicate that excessive trades are the result of a broker’s inappropriate intent. Kennedy used his control over these accounts to direct an excessive series of trades in each account that generated commissions for his own benefit at the customers’ expense.
Between July 2020 and July 2021, Kennedy directed over 5,300 trades representing net trading of more than $350 million in the four accounts of six accounts . Once again, this is just for the accounts in the regulatory complaint. Many more inappropriate trades may exist. Each month, Kennedy made an average of 102 trades per account identified in the regulatory action representing net trading of more than $6.9 million per account or approximately 13 times the average account value.
Kennedy’s trading in just the six accounts resulted in annualized cost-to-equity ratios ranging from 27% to 39% for an average cost-to-equity ratio of more than 31% across all their accounts. This means that the accounts needed to achieve a return of up to 31% each year just to make a profit due to commissions and costs.
As the result of Kennedy’s excessive trading, the six accounts identified collectively lost over $2.3 million in value and paid more than $715,000 in trading costs, including over $595,000 in commissions to Kennedy and his employer.
Moreover, in March 2021, Kennedy began making fake Wester International account statements to hide the results of his trading. Over the next six months, Kennedy prepared and sent six fake account statements inflating their account value.
REIT loss can be recoverable. Not every investment is appropriate for every investor. REITs are speculative investments exposing investors to a level of risk investors never intended to take. We represent REIT investors and have represented many such investors over the past 20 years who have been inappropriately sold REIT investments.
In 2023, non-traded REIT sales fell to historic lows. Consequently, many of these investments reduced redemptions and became insolvent. Also known as NAV REITs, these investments have always been known to be highly risky investments with the potential to become illiquid.
An advisor’s recommendation of these investments is often fraudulent. Advisors sell these REITs under the guise that they help the investor escape the volatility of the stock market. The truth is that these investments are just as volatile. The only difference is that the non-traded REITs have no public market or transparency of their financials so could quickly be going out of business with little to no warning. Advisors love selling these investments because the commissions can be 10 to 15 times greater than a mutual fund, fixed income or stock investment. As a result, the commission is the reason for the recommendation as opposed to the best interests of the investor.
Blackstone (BREIT) is the most notable troubled REIT since it is the largest non-traded REIT. This REIT is troubled and has been troubled for years. BREIT has limited yearly redemptions to 5%. Advisors commonly describe this investment as having moderate risk despite these troubles. Many other similarly troubled non-traded REITs exist.
Even REITs traded on the major exchanges suffered considerable losses and were known to be speculative. Medical Properties Trust REIT lost 50% of its book value as of March 2023. The REIT is suffering, along with many others in the sector experiencing REIT loss, from investors selling as the banking crisis remains and interest rates rise. Lower expectations for a reduction in interest rates are causing real estate assets to lose their appeal.
Other publicly traded REITs losing substantial value are Brandywine Realty Trust, Boston Properties, Healthcare Realty Trust, Invitation Homes, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, and Prologis.
Please contact us. We can provide you with a free initial consultation.
Jeffrey Gitterman is a financial advisor with Vanderbilt Securities. In July 2023, Gitterman’s employers were serve with their eighth demand for arbitration in the last four years. Like the others, the demand alleged inappropriate actions by Gitterman. These many suits range in alleged damages from several thousands and of dollars to several million.
The number of suits concerning Gitterman is important, not only because the suits show a propensity to mistreat investors, but also because they show a need for his employers to provide heightened supervision to Gitterman. Generally, four customer complaints triggers the need to give an advisor heightened supervision.
The complaints concerning Gitterman allege the recommendation of alternative investments that were unsuitable for the investor. A financial advisor, also referred to as a securities broker, has a duty to only recommend investments that are consistent, or suitable, with the objectives and risk tolerances of the investor. A speculative investment for a moderate investor would be unsuitable for that investor.
Alternative investments are investments that are more unique than common stock or bonds. The uniqueness can make them hard to understand and created extremely high risk. Some financial advisors recommend such investments despite an investor’s inability to understand because more aggressive investments often pay a higher commission. Alternative investments commonly pay a commission over 7% while shares of publicly traded stock pay a commission of less than 1%.
In addition to serving as a securities broker, Gitterman has handled the funds of individuals as a registered investment adviser. This means that his responsibilities to investors is greater than that of a securities broker.
In addition to working for Vanderbilt, Gitterman worked as a broker and adviser for Triad Advisors.
We have helped hundreds of investors nationwide recover losses due to inappropriate actions and poor investment management. Please contact use for a free and confidential initial consultation.
Daniel Beech received a Wells notice, the initiation of a regulatory investigation, from FINRA in July 2023. FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority overseeing the securities brokerage industry at the direction of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Wells Notice stems from an inappropriate splitting of fees with a non-financial advisor. FINRA determined preliminarily that Beech deserved discipline for violating regulatory rules concerning payment of fees to unlicensed individual for the sale of securities in a manner that violated the standards of commercial honor set by the regulator.
Beech is also currently the subject of 15 lawsuits by investors against his current or previous employers. The lawsuits stem from misrepresentations of investments. The investments were a level of risk inconsistent with the level of risk sought by his investors. This is commonly referred as a “suitability violation.”
Each security recommendation from a financial advisor is legally required to be suitable for that investor. Representing an investment inaccurately as to risk is fraud. An example would be the representation of a speculative investment, such as a REIT, as moderate risk.
Further, the failure to disclose that an investment is inconsistent with an investor’s risk tolerance is not only a fraudulent non-disclosure but also a violation of FINRA rules. FINRA requires that a financial advisor know the investor and only make recommendations consistent with the investor’s risk tolerance and investment objectives.
Daniel K. Beech worked as a financial advisor since 2013. He initially worked Royal Alliance and Independent Financial. However, most of his misdeeds appear to have occurred while under the supervision of Western International.
Contact us if you were an investor of Beech. Investment fraud exists because of its difficulty to detect. Many investors are victims of fraud without knowing it. We have helped hundreds of investors determine whether fraud exists in their portfolio. Initial consultations are free and confidential.
Murat Kartal, formerly of Spartan Capital, is alleged to have engaged in churning of senior and unsophisticated client accounts. If you were a Kartal client and believe he handled your account inappropriately, please contact us for a free and confidential initial consultation.
Financial Advisors like Kartal are required to follow the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA rules state that “an associated person (such as a financial advisor) must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the member or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile.”
The purpose of this rule is so that financial advisors do not place their own interests ahead of their clients. That is what happens when an advisor makes excessive trades. The cost of such trades eliminates the possibility that the trades serve the objectives of the investor because the cost of the trading hinders the ability of the account to be profitable for the investor. Excessive trading generates a better profit for the advisor than the investor.
Kartal’s record reveals he first became registered with a member firm as a General Securities Representative in April 2015. He then became registered as a representative with Spartan Capital Securities from February 2017 to December 2022. On December 22, 2022, Spartan Capital filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration terminating Kartal’s employment with the firm. Although Kartal is no longer registered or associated with a FINRA member firm, he remains subject to FINRA’s jurisdiction as does his former employer for inappropriate supervision.
The U.S. Justice Department indicted Caz Craffy, a former broker with Newbridge Securities, who served as a financial counselor with the U.S. Armed Forces. Craffy is alleged to have defrauded millions from two dozen Gold Star families, according to the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and court documents. Please contact us if you believe you are a victim by calling toll free 1-844-253-4848.
The federal suit charges Caz Craffy (aka “Carz Craffey”) of Colts Neck, New Jersey with six counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts furthering a personal financial interest, and making false statements to a federal agency.
From May 2018 to November 2022, in his securities broker capacity, Craffy obtained nearly $10 million from Gold Star families to invest in accounts he managed in his private capacity. Once in control of their money, Craffy repeatedly executed trades, often without the family’s authorization.
Craffy profited handsomely from the trades. The unauthorized trades resulted in high commissions. During the timeframe of the alleged scheme, the accounts of the Gold Star families lost roughly $3.6 million, while Craffy personally earned more than $1.4 million in commissions from the family accounts.
“Stealing from Gold Star families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation is a shameful crime,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.
Craffy is permanently barred from the securities industry. This will do little for the victims, but the victims do have other recourse. Contact us and we can discuss the options to recover the losses in a free and confidential initial consultation. If we do represent you, payment for the representation will be on a contingency fee basis.