The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has charged broker Thomas Sharp with making misleading communications to customers concerning non-traded REITs.    FINRA alleges that Sharp violated NASD Rule 2210(d)  by sending customers e-mails recommending the REITs that were not fair and balanced and failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts. Sharp was associated with Ameriprise as a financial advisor from 1987 through September 2013.

Non-traded REITs have given rise to an increasing number of investor claims in recent years.  These REITs are largely illiquid, carry a risk of substantial loss of principal, and often result in commissions and fees of over 10% of the amount invested.

FINRA rules require that all financial advisor communications with customers be based on principles of fair dealing and provide a sound basis for evaluating an investment. In sanctioning Sharp, FINRA found that Sharp sent e-mails regarding non-traded REITs to two potential customers that were not consistent with these rules.

If you have suffered significant losses as a result of unsuitable recommendations of or misleading communications concerning non-traded REITs by a stockbroker or financial advisor, you may have a valid securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact an attorney 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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During October 2014, LPL Financial agreed to reimburse nearly $550,000 to investors to resolve a Massachusetts claim that LPL had allowed its brokers to engage in “annuity switching” in the accounts of senior investors. “Annuity switching” means that a broker advises an investor to sell one annuity in order to purchase another for no  legitimate reason, which often results in significant fees and/or commissions being incurred by the customer.

In an agreement with the Massachusetts Securities Division,, LPL Financial admitted that certain annuity switch transactions were conducted without fully disclosed surrender charges.  LPL had previously been investigated by the State of Illinois for similar practices.  The Massachusetts case reportedly involved 157 variable annuity switching transactions.

In the course of 2014, LPL Financial has already been fined for various supervisory issues.  In March FINRA fined LPL Financial $950,000 for supervisory issues related to the sale of alternative investment products, REITs, oil and gas partnerships, hedge funds and other illiquid investments. Earlier this summer, Illinois regulators ordered LPL Financial to pay a $2 million fine and $820,000 in restitution for failing to maintain accurate records related to variable annuity exchanges, also known as 1035 exchanges.

If you have suffered significant losses as a result of violations of securities industry standards by a brokerage firm or financial advisor, you may have a valid securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact an attorney 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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Former First Allied Broker Herbert Leonard Kaye Suspended By FINRA

October 20, 2014

FINRA suspended Herbert Leonard Kaye, formerly a First Allied Broker, for four months beginning September 2015 and fined him $25,000, including a $11,000 in disgorgement of commissions charged to a customer.  According to FINRA, Kaye carried out 2,000 discretionary trades in the account of a sole customer between June 2010 and April 2013. Kaye’s customer […]

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Kansas Broker Darrell W. Mikulencak Charged With Forgery

October 20, 2014

FINRA has filed a complaint against registered reprensentative Darrell W. Mikulencak alleging forgery and failing to appear to testify in Kansas City. FINRA alleges that Mikulencak forged a bank employee’s signature as well as that of a notary public in order to transfer the registration of stock certificates. Mikulencak allegedly  did not have authority or […]

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Gambling Broker Donald Overbey, Jr. Sentenced for Defrauding Investors

October 20, 2014

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois sentenced Oscar Donald Overbey, Jr. to 3.5 years in federal prison for defrauding more than 30 people out of $4 million.  The court found that he had defrauded his clients to pay for personal expenses and fund a gambling habit. Overbey allegedly convinced his victims […]

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FINRA Disciplines Former VSR Financial Broker Steven L. Stahler Over Sales of REITs and Private Placements

October 8, 2014

During August 2014, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Steven L. Stahler, formerly a broker with VSR Financial Services, for making unsuitable recommendations to his customers. Allegedly, Stahler recommended high concentrations of private placements and real estate investment trusts (REITs) that exceeded his clients’ stated risk tolerance and investment objectives. His recommendations […]

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Former Raymond James Broker Jo Ellen Fisher Allegedly Set Up Client’s Account To Embezzle In Her Daughter’s Name

October 8, 2014

FINRA has barred Jo Ellen Fisher, a former Raymond James broker who allegedly set up a scheme to steal nearly $1 million from her 95 year old client. By forging a godparent certificate, Fisher’s daughter was set to receive the money upon turning 21. Raymond James has sought to recoup the money but it is […]

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FINRA Brings Suit Against Former Waddell & Reed Broker Jeffrey Meyer

October 8, 2014

In August 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Jeffrey Meyer for allegedly participating in 37 private securities transactions, totaling over $1.5 million in violation of firm policies and FINRA Rules. Meyer was affiliated with Waddell & Reed and WRP Investments, Inc. FINRA singled out the following private securities transactions in […]

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SEC Charges Admitted Criminal Broker With Stealing from Elderly & Blind Clients

October 8, 2014

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Donna Jessee Tucker with stealing $730,000 from her elderly clients in order to finance her luxurious lifestyle. The SEC alleges that Tucker purposefully arranged for her clients’ statements to be delivered electronically although some might not be able to access the internet due to their advanced age. Furthermore, […]

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VSR Financial’s Alleged Lack of Supervision Leads to $3.74 Million Settlement

October 8, 2014

VSR Financial Services, Inc. was recently part of a $3.74 million settlement in Texas state court because a former VSR advisor, Charles Chapman, allegedly recommended high risk, illiquid alternative investments during the credit crisis. Chapman allegedly recommended that his client, Mr. Gordon McLendon, Jr. invest in Diversified Business Services & Investments Inc. (DBSI). However, DBSI […]

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