According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former Independent Financial Group (Independent), broker Robyn H. Lee (Lee) has had at least thirteen (13) customer complaints made against him, mostly involving sales of tenants in common (TICs). Customer complaintsreportedly included unsuitable investment recommendations, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and fraud.
Lee has been registered with the securities industry for eighteen (18) years. He has previously been registered with Securities America from 2000-2002; ePlanning Securities from 2002-2004; Berthel, Fisher & Company from 2004-2007; and most recently Lee was registered with Independent in San Mateo California from 2007-2015.
According to FINRA, in 2012 a customer claimed that Lee allegedly made misrepresentations regarding the suitability of investing in TICs in 2007, resulting in a loss on the customer’s investment. The parties later settled the matter in 2014 for $132,500. In 2013, another customer made similar allegations against Lee resulting in another settlement for $186,000. In the most recent complaint made against Lee, a customer again made allegations of unsuitable investment recommendations and misrepresentations regarding TICs. The matter is still pending with FINRA, the customer is seeking $400,000 in damages.
Many of the supposed benefits of the TICs that are touted by brokers selling TICs are the tax benefits (investors could defer capital gains on real estate transactions involving the exchange of properties) and guaranteed moderate return for the investments. These “benefits” are oftentimes outweighed by the risks posed by TIC investments. For instance, investments in TICs are tied to the real estate market making the investment far from safe or guaranteed. In addition, TICs have very limited liquidity, and the up-front fees associated with structuring and sale of TICs often has the effect of diminishing the customer’s effective capital investment.
In January 2012 FINRA released a regulatory notice assessing the risk in TICs stating there is a probability that “the product will not perform as many investors anticipate or that it might be sold on the basis of enhanced yield.”
If you believe you have been the victim of stockbroker misconduct, you may wish to consult an attorney to find out more about your legal rights and options. Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.