FINRA Bars LPL broker Leslie Koonce For Private Transactions

FINRA Bars LPL broker Leslie Koonce For Private Transactions

Former LPL broker Leslie Koonce has been barred from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) for denying he took part in the sale of private securities.

According to FINRA, former LPL broker Leslie Koonce misrepresented his involvement in private securities transactions, reporting in compliance questionnaires that he did not participate in any such transactions.

Regulators said that between January and June 2012, Koonce solicited at least 30 prospective investors for convertible promissory notes offered by a private company. Shortly after, he helped three LPL customers move $175,000 so that they could invest in the convertible promissory notes. He also made an investment of $50,000 of his own money in the notes.

FINRA notes that former LPL broker Leslie Koonce did all of this without notifying LPL of his participation in the transactions, which he was required to do.

LPL Broker Leslie Koonce Barred from Securities Industry

Leslie Koonce began his career in the securities industry in 1974 at Hornor, Townsend and Kent. He was terminated by LPL Financial in December 2015 and was briefly affiliated with Cetera and EK Riley Investments. As of publishing, Leslie Koonce is not employed in the securities industry.

Are You a Victim of Stockbroker Misconduct?

If you lost money on investments made with Leslie Koonce or believe you are a victim of stockbroker misconduct, contact a qualified securities fraud attorney today.

Call a Securities Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an attorney to review your rights and options, the securities fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our securities fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and can help you recover your investment  losses.

Contact a securities fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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Raymond James Fined $2M Over Email Review System

Raymond James Fined $2M Over Email Review System

Raymond James Financial Services has been fined $2 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) for maintaining inadequate supervisory procedures for reviewing emails.

During a nine-year review period, FINRA found that Raymond James’ review system was significantly flawed. According to the findings, millions of emails went without meaningful review, possibly allowing misconduct by firm personnel to go undetected.

FINRA also found that the ‘lexicon’ the combinations of words and phrases used to flag emails for potential misconduct was not reasonably designed to detect possible violations, given the size and structure of the firm.

Knowing this, the firm should have conducted a regular test of its lexicon-based surveillance systems and related procedures, but it failed to do so. Instead of ensuring the system was effectively identifying problematic emails, the firm focused on reducing the number of ‘false positives’.  In other words, in order to save itself time, Raymond James arguably placed in investors at greater risk of broker misconduct.

Emails sent by certain personnel who serviced customer brokerage accounts or worked in branches with private email servers were also unreasonably excluded from email surveillance.

For emails that were flagged in the system, Raymond James failed to devote enough resources and personnel to review them, despite the growth of email usage over time and the fact that misconduct often can be detected by reviewing broker emails.

Raymond James to Conduct Risk-Based Review After Fine

In addition to paying the fine, Raymond James has agreed to conduct a retrospective review of past emails to detect potential violations. The company neither has admitted nor denied the charges filed by FINRA.

Have You Lost Money Investing with Raymond James?

If you lost money investing with Raymond James or are a victim of stockbroker misconduct, contact a qualified investment fraud attorney today.

Call an Investment Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an attorney to review your rights and options, the investment fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered more than $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our investment fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and can help you recover your investment losses.

Contact an investment fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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FINRA Bars Ex-Woodbury Rep For Failure to Comply

FINRA Bars Ex-Woodbury Rep For Failure to Comply

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) has barred a former broker with Woodbury Financial Services for failing to take part in an investigation into his investment recommendations. The broker, Robert H. Hoffmann, was barred for failure to provide testimony in connection with a FINRA investigation.

FINRA Investigating Hoffmann’s Trading Recommendations

In October of this year, FINRA staff sent a request to Hoffmann for on-the-record testimony in connection with its investigation into a customer’s allegations that Hoffman had engaged in wrongdoing. The complaint stated that while at Woodbury Financial Services, Hoffman made unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized transactions, private securities transactions, and excessive trades. Hoffmann did not respond to the request.

Prior to FINRA’s action, Hoffmann consented to a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver, and consent containing findings that he failed to amend his Form U4 to report an IRS tax lien between January 2015 and September 2015. In September, the consent resulted in a $5,000 fine and he received a three-month suspension.

Have You Invested Money with Woodbury Financial Services or Robert H. Hoffmann?

If you believe you lost money as a result of Robert H. Hoffmann’s investment recommendations, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call a Securities Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an securities fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the securities fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered over $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our securities fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and may be able to help you recover your investment losses.

Contact an securities fraud attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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Former First Allied Broker Barred by FINRA

Former First Allied Broker Barred by FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred Masood Husain Azad, a former First Allied broker for failing to provide information requested by FINRA.

Masood Husain Azad Failed to Provide Information About Misconduct

In August 2017, FINRA’s enforcement unit began investigating the former First Allied Securities broker for allegations of stockbroker misconduct. The allegations included soliciting investment in and/or directly investing in an unapproved private securities transaction.

FINRA’s enforcement unit also was investigating Azad’s outside business activities, as a result of allegations that Azad engaged in outside business activities without obtaining authorization from First Allied.

According to FINRA, First Allied terminated Azad in May 2017. He joined First Allied in January 2015 and started his career in 2004 at Voya Financial Services.

Did You Lose Money as a Result of Stockbroker Misconduct?

If you believe you have lost money to stockbroker misconduct, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call an Investment Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an investment fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the investment fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered over $100 million from banks and brokerage firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los AngelesNew YorkWest Palm Beach and Miami, our investment fraud attorneys represent clients nationwide and may be able to help you recover your investment losses.

Contact an stockbroker misconduct attorney at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. today to schedule an appointment or consultation to review your rights and options.

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Wells Fargo Broker Barred by FINRA Over Improper Transfers.

FINRA Barred a Wells Fargo Broker

Wells Fargo Broker Barred by FINRA Over Improper Transfers

A former Wells Fargo broker has consented to sanctions from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), banning him from the securities industry after he transferred client money to his own accounts to pay credit card bills. Scott Polish of Mentor, Ohio consented to the settlement with FINRA after admitting he made transfers from the accounts of elderly clients and used the proceeds for himself

Protect Yourself from Stockbroker Misconduct

Brokers like Scott Polish, although rare, do exist. There are several steps in an attempt to avoid becoming the victim of a similar scheme. Below are three steps that can help you avoid stockbroker misconduct.

  • Receive and Review StatementsFor starters, make sure you receive and review your monthly account statements, and pay particular attention to securities purchases and sales and to withdrawals from your account. Make a point to ask questions about trades or activity that seems out of the ordinary.
  • Trade Authorization Next, never allow your broker to make trades on your behalf without your permission. If your broker is required to obtain your permission before any trade, the likelihood of being victimized is reduced drastically.
  • Contact an AttorneyFinally, if you suspect your broker of committing fraud, consider closing your account and contacting an experienced securities fraud attorney.

Did You Invest with Wells Fargo Broker Scott Polish?

If you invested with Scott Polish or someone like him, and believe that you have been the victim of a similar kind of fraud, contact an experienced securities fraud attorney today.

Call a Securities Fraud Attorney Today
If you are looking for an attorney to review your rights and options, the securities lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered over $100 million from banks and brokerages firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los Angeles, they have helped stockbroker fraud victims throughout Bel Air, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

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FINRA Fines Merrill Lynch Over Customer Prices

FINRA Fines Merrill Lynch Over Customer Prices

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it has fined Merrill Lynch for failing to obtain the best price for customers involving several thousand manually executed trades. Further, the securities giant also is accused of failing to keep accurate records of those trades, among other things.

Merrill Lynch to Settle FINRA Charges

To settle the charges brought by FINRA, Merrill Lynch will pay $650,000 and a further $124,000 in restitution to customers. According to FINRA, “the firm failed to use reasonable diligence to ascertain the best inter-dealer market and failed to buy or sell in such market so that the resultant price to its customer was as favorable as possible under prevailing market conditions.”

In other words, after FINRA reviewed Merrill Lynch’s handling of customer orders for non-convertible preferred securities, it found more than 1,500 trades in which the bank could have found a better inter-dealer market for its customers. In a similar review of over-the-counter convertible securities trades, FINRA found 551 similar problematic trades.

Notwithstanding the firm’s failure to obtain the best price, FINRA found instances in which the trades were not recorded on time, had the wrong price, and failed to disclose compensation to customers. FINRA asserted that the bank did not have the proper supervisory system in place to prevent such errors from occurring.

Merrill Lynch faces Regular FINRA Fines

This is not the first time that Merrill Lynch has found itself in FINRA’s crosshairs. In November 2016, the firm paid $6.25 million to settle allegations that it failed to ensure customers were not using funds from certain lines of credit to purchase stock on margin. Merrill also paid $2.8 million over allegations that a system glitch caused more than 20 million trades to be misreported as sales from the firm’s inventory, causing millions of inaccuracies to appear in execution reports sent to FINRA as a result.

Are You a Victim of Securities Fraud?

As we have blogged about in the past, even big banks like Merrill Lynch are not impervious to either accidental or intentional misconduct. If you believe you have been the victim of a similar kind of issue from your bank or securities firm, contact an experienced securities fraud attorney today.

Call a Securities Fraud Attorney Today

If you are looking for an attorney to review your rights and options, the securities lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. have recovered over $100 million from banks and brokerages firms for their wrongful actions.

With offices in Los Angeles, they have helped stockbroker fraud victims throughout Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood.

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J.P. Morgan failed to properly report fixed-income securities.

FINRA Fines JPMorgan for Fixed-Income Securities Reporting

J.P. Morgan Securities has agreed to pay a $675,000 fine to settle Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) charges after allegations surfaced that the securities firm failed to properly report fixed-income securities transactions, causing it to report hundreds of thousands of client transactions past the deadline – and incorrectly.

The rules provide a 15-minute window in which to report an executed fixed-income securities transaction. From 2008 to 2013, FINRA stated that the company failed to timely report many fixed-income securities transactions, and when finally done, the correct timing wasn’t provided.

FIRNA’s Fine Relates to Client Transactions

The target of FINRA’s anger surrounded the securities firm’s “riskless principal transactions,” which are client transactions that are bought and sold with Wall Street professionals, and then offset with corresponding transactions with the clients.

J.P. Morgan Securities timely reported the “street”transactions with FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) and MSRB’s Real-time Transaction Reporting System, but failed to report the client-side fixed- income securities transactions in a timely manner.

Failing to accurately report the transactions of fixed-income securities and then misreporting the timeliness of trade executions led to errors in more than 280,000 separate transactions.

According to FINRA, the errors were a result of the firm’s failure to understand reporting requirements of fixed-income securities and the rules regulating them. JPMorgan was also accused of lacking a proper supervisory system to ensure compliance with the rules, including how oversight should have been documented.

FINRA Fine Lowered for Cooperation

Because J.P. Morgan Securities cooperated with FINRA, and self-reported the violations upon discovery in 2013, the FINRA fine amount was far less than what it could’ve been.

Did you Lose Money with Fixed-Income Securities?

Fines like this demonstrate that even well-known securities firms are not above making mistakes. If you lost money because you believe your broker or brokerage firm failed to understand the risks of a particular transaction you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Deutsche Bank glass and metal building.

Deutsche Bank Dark Pool Disclosure Failure Results in Fine

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Deutsche Bank $3.25 million for failing to disclose every feature of its dark pool system to all clients, potentially benefitting certain clients, including high-frequency traders, who may have had more information than others.

A dark pool is a term for an alternate, private exchange for trading securities. Unlike a stock exchange, dark pools are not for the investing public. In fact, they are named for their general lack of transparency. In this case, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay the fine after allegations that it failed to provide the same information regarding its alternative trading system to all its clients. The Deutsche Bank Dark Pool is named SuperX.

Deutsche Bank also agreed to pay $37 million to the SEC and the New York Attorney General in a separate matter regarding false statements made to investors about how its automated order router ranked different off-exchange trading platforms, ultimately directing preferential information to SuperX, the Deutsche Bank dark pool.

Many dark pool critics contend that these alternative venues are not as safe or anonymous as they claim to be. In fact, when the Deutsche Bank dark pool was created in 2009, the bank promised all of its users would have the same access to the pool’s features across the board. Instead, the bank’s filings with the SEC failed to disclose all of the available features to users.

After a more comprehensive list of features was eventually published in February 2015 on the company’s website, there was a significant increase in the number of clients seeking to interact with different groups when trading on the dark pool, leading FINRA to conclude that not all of the dark pool users were aware of the groups prior to the disclosure.

Deutsche Bank also resolved claims that it failed to disclose significant problems with its “Dark Pool Ranking Model,” which ranked dark pools and routed client orders by measuring execution quality and liquidity available at certain trading venues. Instead of fixing the problem, the bank used old rankings to route customer orders and overrode the system to move the Deutsche Bank dark pool to the top of the list without informing investors.

Barclays and Credit Suisse AG have already settled their own dark pool investigations, agreeing to pay a combined $154 million in penalties earlier this year.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

Dark pools can be quite complicated and are meant for sophisticated investors. If you invested with the Deutsche Bank Dark Pool SpaceX or a similar dark pool, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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Wells Fargo Skyscraper building in against backdrop of the sky.

FINRA Fines Wells Fargo For Failing to Supervise

In the latest string of incidents to affect Wells Fargo well known for its recent “new” account scandal, FINRA fines Wells Fargo for failing to supervise broker’s accounts. Two Wells Fargo subsidiaries have agreed to pay $1 million to settle claims that they failed to supervise brokers’ use of a reporting system, which led to questions of whether certain financial reports were sent to consumers as required.

Over a six-year period, Wells Fargo Advisors LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network LLC reviewed only approximately 2 percent of consolidated reports detailing consumers’ financial holdings and were generated through a specific program. The subsidiaries had no way to track the content of those reports, which meant that there was no way to know if the reports ever reached their intended destination – the customer.

Consolidated reports detail consumers’ financial holdings, and are considered communications with the public, so they must be clear and accurate according to FINRA rules. The agency sent a warning in 2015 to its member brokerage firms that failing to properly monitor consolidated reports could lead to unscrupulous individuals disguising theft or cause a miscalculation or mismanagement of customer funds.

Of the roughly 2 percent of consolidated reports generated by the subsidiaries, FINRA found that only the cover sheets were reviewed, focusing on grammatical errors, contact information and the like and not the actual content contained within the report.

FINRA also alleged that the subsidiaries had no way to designate between a draft of a report and the final version thing because there was no procedure in place to mark which was which – something that should have triggered the company’s supervisory obligations.

More than 5 million consolidated reports were generated through this system from 2009 and 2015.

Call a Los Angeles Securities Fraud Attorney Today

Even big banks and their subsidiaries can and do make mistakes. As evidenced by the above. If you believe you have suffered a loss as a result of your broker or banks’ mismanagement, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles securities fraud attorney today for a consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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