Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in variable annuities. Variable annuities are insurance products tied to an investment portfolio, which typically consist of mutual funds that hold bonds and stocks. In many cases, brokers receive commissions as high as 8 percent when selling variable annuities, which may motivate them to make recommendations that are unsuitable for investors.

Two MetLife Brokers Accused of Unsuitable Variable Annuity Sales

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently filed a complaint against two MetLife Securities Inc. brokers, Patrick Chapin and Christopher Birli. According to the complaint, Chapin and Birli focused on advising State University of New York employees on their retirement plan. Both were terminated in 2012 and do not work in the securities industry at this time.

According to the complaint, Chapin and Birli allegedly made recommendations to 45 of their customers to unload their plan’s MetLife variable annuities by cashing in their annuities, purchasing another security within the plan to be held for 90 days, and then selling that security to switch to new variable annuities outside the university plan, held in IRAs. The alleged misconduct took place between 2004 and 2007. According to FINRA, this scheme generated commissions for the brokers amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to stock fraud lawyers, the brokers’ actions exposed investors to unnecessary risks. Reportedly, in order to cash in their plan’s annuities, some investors were required to pay fees, and investor funds were tied up in the new annuities for up to seven years. Brokers have an obligation to fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation given their age, investment objectives and risk tolerance. Securities fraud attorneys say that many investors may have received unsuitable recommendations related to variable annuities.

If you received an unsuitable recommendation regarding variable annuities and suffered significant losses as a result, you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a stock fraud lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598  or newcases@investorlawyers.net for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of a securities fraud related to scalping. Scalping occurs when a broker or financial advisor recommends a security and immediately sells the security to turn a profit. According to securities arbitration lawyers, when many investors purchase the security, the price rises, allowing the fraudster to gain financially.

Have You Been the Victim of Investment Scalping?

In one recent scalping scheme, securities fraud charges were filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) against John Babikian, the promoter behind AwesomePennyStocks.com and PennyStocksUniverse.com. Both websites are affiliated microcap stock promotion websites and are known collectively as “ABS.” The SEC charges allege that Babikian engaged in scalping through the websites.

According to the SEC, on February 23, 2012, the websites sent emails to around 700,000 people, recommending investing in a particular penny stock, America West Resources Inc. (AWSRQ). However, the fact that Babikian held over 1.4 million shares of America West was not disclosed in the email, nor was the fact that he had positioned the shares for immediate sale via a Swiss bank.

Reportedly, the emails caused a significant increase in America West’s share price and trading value. Babikian then made more than $1.9 million when he unloaded the stock during the last hour and a half of the trading day. Before February 23, America West was low-priced and thinly traded, but on that day more than 7.8 million shares of the stock were traded and the share price was greatly increased. According to investment fraud lawyers and the SEC, if it hadn’t been for the emails, the stock would have been sold at a much lower price, and Babikian wouldn’t have been able to sell more than a few thousand shares in one day.

If you believe that you’ve been the victim of scalping, you may be able to recover your losses through a securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a securities arbitration lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or newcases@investorlawyers.net for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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Claims Against Berthel Fisher for Unsuitable Sale of Alternative Investments Begin

April 3, 2014

Our recent blog post, “Berthel Fisher and Affiliate Fined Regarding Sales of ETFs and Non-Traded REITs,” reported that in February the firm had been fined $775,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The FINRA fines addressed alleged supervisory failures, including failure to properly supervise the sale of alternative investments like leveraged and inverse exchange-traded […]

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Unsuitable Alternative Investment Sales: LPL Customers Could Recover Losses

April 1, 2014

Securities fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of customers of LPL Financial LLC. This move comes on the heels of an announcement on March 24, 2014 from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) which stated that the firm had been fined $950,000 for supervisory failures related to alternative investment sales. These investments included: Non-traded […]

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Recovering Mortgage-backed Securities Losses

March 27, 2014

Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in mortgage-backed securities. The investigations are concerning full-service brokerage firms that may have failed to properly supervise their traders and/or gave false pricing information to investors. Recently, Jefferies LLC agreed to settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) […]

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Clients of 3 Rockwell Global Capital Financial Advisors Seek Damages for Churning, Unsuitable Recommendations

March 25, 2014

Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of doing business with Douglas Guarino, Lawrence Lee or Robert E. Lee and Rockwell Global Capital. The investigations are regarding fraud, unsuitable recommendations and churning that the three men allegedly conducted while registered with Rockwell Global Capital […]

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Customers of James E. Neilsen Could Recover Promissory Note Losses

March 20, 2014

Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of the customers of James E. Neilsen. These investigations are concerning Neilsen’s conduct and the sale of investment agreements and promissory notes while he was registered with Tradition Asiel Securities, Longship Alternative Asset Management, and Sound Securities. On January 9, 2014, Neilsen was put under an […]

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Recent News Regarding Puerto Rican Bonds

March 18, 2014

Investment fraud lawyers continue to investigate claims on behalf of individuals who suffered significant losses in Puerto Rican bonds after the value of these investments plummeted in 2013, causing many investors to suffer significant losses. In addition, securities arbitration lawyers are keeping an eye on recent news that indicates investors may be able to pursue […]

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Berthel Fisher, Affiliate Fined Regarding Sales of ETFs and Non-traded REITs

March 13, 2014

Securities fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of the customers of Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services Inc. and Securities Management & Research Inc., a Berthel Fisher affiliate in Marion, Iowa. In February, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it had fined the two a total of $775,000 for supervisory deficiencies. […]

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Investment Loss Recovery Regarding Florlena Cortez, Former Chase Broker

March 11, 2014

Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of the customers of Florlena Cortez, a former broker for Chase Investment Services Corp. Cortez is also known as Florlena Cortez Alva and Florlena Cortez Guerrero, CRD No. 4339441. Cortez was registered with Chase from May 2002 to February 2012, and securities arbitration lawyers say that […]

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