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Baltimore Securities & Estate Planning Law Blog

Broker Wires $370k from Family Accounts

As a result of allegedly missing numerous red flags of broker misconduct, FINRA fined Ameriprise $850,000. The fine was imposed as a result of Ameriprise management's failure to detect nine wire transfers, totaling $370,000, from customer accounts to the personal account of an Ameriprise Financial advisor. The advisor's misconduct went undetected for two years and was only discovered when a co-worker became suspicious of the advisor forging customer signatures.

Broker Barred for Borrowing $300k from Clients

A former Morgan Stanley broker, Jeffrey Hunter Smith, was barred from the securities industry by FINRA for borrowing money from clients. Smith was registered with Morgan Stanley from 2009 to 2015. During his time there, Smith borrowed $300,000 from two clients without any written approval or authorization. During FINRA's investigation of the wrongdoing, Smith refused to comply with their requests for documents.

Executive Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors out of $38 million

Andrew Caspersen, a former Park Hill Group executive, has agreed to a settlement with the SEC that bars him from the securities industry. Caspersen also pleaded guilty in July to defrauding investors out of more than $38 million. Caspersen will be sentenced on November 2, 2016.

Logos Wealth Advisor Founder and Fund Manager Barred by SEC

Paul Mata and David Kayatta, operators of Logos Wealth Management, were barred from the securities industry by the SEC. According to the SEC, Mata and Kayatta raised more than $14 million from investors based upon false promises of guaranteed returns.

Churning Costs Firm $2 million

Greg Caldwell, the founder of Caldwell International Securities, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA for allegedly churning customers' accounts. The firm will have to pay a $2 million fine for failing to supervise and prevent the abusive sales practices engaged in by Greg Caldwell. Greg Caldwell was also personally fined $50,000 for his misconduct.
If you believe you have been victimized by securities fraud, financial malpractice, or theft by a FINRA registered broker, please call the securities attorneys of the Costello Law Group at (877) 418-0003 for a free consultation.
To read more, please visit: http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20160830/FREE/160839988/caldwell-international-securities-will-pay-2-million-in-settlement

Ex Eagles Player in Trouble with the SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against former Philadelphia Eagle, Merrill Robertson, Jr., and his partner Sherman Vaughn. The SEC believes that Robertson and Vaughn defrauded investors out of $6 million. Robertson and Vaughn were able to raise $10 million from investors based upon false promises of a 20% return. The money was not used for legitimate investment purposes. Instead, investor funds were used to pay personal expenses and to make payments to earlier investors.

Longtime Advisor of Widow Charged with Fraud

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Hank Werner, formerly with Legend Securities Inc. FINRA believes Werner churned an elderly widow's account. His client's husband died in 2012 and from that time up until March of this year, Werner placed over 700 trades on hundreds of different securities. Werner's scheme produced $243,000 in commissions and losses totaling $184,000 for his client.

Bryant Claims Advisor Stole from him

Dez Bryant, the Dallas Cowboy's wide receiver, filed suit against his former legal and financial advisors alleging theft. Bryant filed the claim in response to his advisors' claims against Bryant for damages to a rental property. Bryant is claiming that his advisors stole over $200,000 from him.

Advisor Pleads Guilty after $21 million Ponzi Scheme

Patrick Churchville, the owner of Clear Path Wealth Management, plead guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. Mr. Churchville allegedly operated a $21 million Ponzi scheme. Investigators believe that the Ponzi scheme began in 2008 and Churchville used investor funds to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Great Falls, Virginia Broker Ordered to Pay Couple $331,000

Frederick Baerenz was ordered by a FINRA arbitration panel to pay $331,000 for damages caused by unsuitable investment recommendations to clients. The clients invested $1.3 million with Baernez's Virginia-based firm, AOG Wealth Management. The clients claim that Baerenz invested a large majority of their money in private placements without fully explaining the risks of such investments.

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