Did Gustavo Miramontes Make Unauthorized and Unsuitable Trades in Your Account?
Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that California-based broker Gustavo Miramontes engaged in unauthorized, unsuitable trading. Miramontes currently works for Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. He worked for Wedbush Securities, Inc. up to 2018.
Miramontes has been the subject of multiple customer disputes alleging unauthorized and unsuitable trades in customers’ accounts. Five disputes are still pending. His previous employers settled complaints for similar behavior, including a $431,401.45 settlement by Wedbush Securities Inc.
Unauthorized trading occurs when your financial professional makes trades on your account without your authorization. Your broker must obtain your permission before buying or selling anything for your account unless you’ve signed a written trading authorization that allows your broker to buy and sell securities in your account without having to contact you. However, that does not mean your broker can misuse or exceed this authority. Brokers and their firms who make unsuitable or unauthorized trades may be held liable for any sustained financial losses.
The securities and investment fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson have the skills and experience that are specifically suited to the needs of victims of investment fraud. If you suffered losses due to Gustavo Miramontes’ unauthorized and unsuitable trading, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Did Michael May Engaged in Unsuitable Trades in Your Account?
Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Michael May, a New York-based broker, engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading in customer’s accounts, with significant margin exposure and interest. May has been working for VCS Venture Securities since October 2021. He previously worked for Joseph Stone Capital.
Michael May was recently suspended by FINRA for three months in connection with allegations that he engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading, including the use of margin, in a customer’s account.
A previous customer dispute alleging May recommended unsuitable and unauthorized transactions was settled.
If you suffered financial losses due to Michael May’s account management, the experienced securities and investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Did Christopher Bond Engage in Unauthorized Trading in Your Account?
Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that New York broker Christopher Bond engaged in unauthorized trading in a customer’s account. Bond has been registered with the brokerage firm National Securities Corporation since 2004.
Bond has been the subject of two prior customer disputes – one related to the sale of a private placement and one alleging that Bond gave his clients’ unsuitable investment recommendations.
In February 2022, FINRA suspended Bond in connection with allegations that he engaged in unauthorized trading by exercising discretion in a customer’s account without written authorization.
If you or someone you know suffered financial losses in an account managed by Christopher Bond, the experienced securities arbitration attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Please contact us today for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation to discuss your legal options.
Did You Suffer Losses in an Account Managed by Sebastian Wyczawski?
Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that New York-based broker Sebastian Wyczawski engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading, including the use of margin, in customers’ accounts. Wyczawski currently works for VCS Venture Securities. He previously worked for Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C.
Wyczawski was suspended for five months and sanctioned by FINRA in connection with his engagement in excessive and unsuitable trading. He was also previously the subject of a customer complaint for unauthorized trading that was settled.
Excessive trading, or churning, typically occurs when a broker trades in a client’s account for the purpose of generate commissions. A high number of trades may not align with a customer’s financial circumstances and investment goals and result in investment losses for the client. FINRA rules require that brokers have a reasonable basis to believe a recommendation involving a security or securities is suitable for you. Otherwise, they may be held liable for your resulting investment losses.
If you suffered financial losses due to Sebastian Wyczawski’s excessive and unsuitable recommendations, contact Meyer Wilson today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
How Can I Tell If My Broker Is Engaged In Unauthorized Trading?
What is Unauthorized Trading?
When you take your hard-earned money and put it in the hands of a broker, it means you trust them to handle your investments with integrity and a high standard of duty of care. Even though the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees the trading industry to ensure the integrity of financial systems in the U.S., unfortunately, some brokers engage in bad practices leaving investors vulnerable to losing their money.
Unauthorized trading means that a broker is making trades for a customer without the customer’s prior authorization. Here are the red flags you should know.
Unauthorized Trading Warning Signs
Whether you’ve used the same brokerage firm for years or you are new to investing, it’s critical to review your account statements, trade confirmations, and online activities when it comes to your investment accounts. When checking your accounts, look for the following warning signs that point to excessive trading practices:
- Unauthorized transactions: Transactions in your account that you did not speak to your broker about and give your authorization for.
- Frequent trading - Recurrent in-and-out purchases and sales of securities that are not in line with the investment goals you discussed with your broker, as well as your tolerance of risk.
- Excessive fees - Fees that seem high or if one part of your portfolio looks exceptionally high.
What to Do If You Suspect Unauthorized Trading
You may submit a complaint to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) or FINRA if you suspect unauthorized trading or any other harmful practices, including the following:
It’s also critical to contact an experienced investment fraud attorney to learn your rights.
Were You a Victim of Investment Misconduct? We are Here to Help.
Suffering financial losses due to the negligence of a broker that you’ve trusted is a devastating experience — and not knowing where to turn for help can leave you feeling scared and hopeless. Know that you are not alone, and you have the right to seek justice.
Our highly experienced investment misconduct attorneys are here to hold financial institutions and brokers accountable for their negligent acts. We are here to support you through a difficult time and to help you recover your losses.
To learn if you are eligible for FINRA arbitration, call Meyer Wilson at (800) 738-1960 or contact us online to speak confidentially with our caring lawyers today.
Former Ohio Financial Advisor Sam Aziz Loses Securities License For Excessive Trading
The Ohio Division of Securities revoked the securities license of former broker Sam Aziz of Dublin, Ohio for excessive trading in at least 12 customer accounts.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Aziz was the subject of seven customer disputes, two terminations, and three regulatory actions before finally losing his license in 2020.
According to the Division, Aziz churned at least 12 customer accounts, generating commissions of more than $2.4 million for himself between 2015 and 2018. The Hearing Officer assigned to the case further found that Aziz failed to disclose to his clients the opening of new accounts for them and the use of margin loans in customer accounts. In 2019, FINRA also permanently barred Aziz from working in the securities industry for his failure to cooperate with its own investigation into excessive trading allegations.
Excessive trading, or churning, occurs when a broker engages in excessive buying and selling of securities in a customer’s account in order to generate commissions that benefit the broker. It is illegal, a violation of the securities industry’s rules, and the basis for a civil action.
Meyer Wilson has successfully represented several of Sam Aziz’s former customers. If you were a client of Aziz and lost money, our investment fraud attorneys are interested in talking to you about your recovery options. Give us a call for a free consultation.
SEC Charges Transamerica Entities $97 Million over Faulty Investment Models
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it charged four Transamerica entities $97.6 million for its misconduct in misleading retail investors with faulty investment models.
The SEC found that the faulty models developed and used by AEGON USA Investment Management LLC, affiliated advisers Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. and Transamerica Asset Management Inc., and affiliated broker-dealer Transamerica Capital Inc. contained a number of errors and failed to work in the way that investors were promised. The affected companies reportedly invested billions of dollars into strategies and mutual funds that used this faulty model, and when the issues were discovered, the investment companies simply stopped using the models without first informing the investors of the errors or changes in models.
“Investors were repeatedly misled about the quantitative models being used to manage their investments, which subjected them to significant hidden risks and deprived them of the ability to make informed investment decisions,” Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit C. Dabney O’Riordan said in a press release.
The four Transamerica entities agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the findings, and will pay a $36.3 million penalty, $53.3 million in disgorgement, and $8 million in interest to the affected investors through a fair fund. In addition to the $97.6 million charges, former AEGON USA Investment Management LLC Global Chief Investment Officer Bradley Beman and former AEGON USA Investment Management LLC Director of New Initiatives Kevin Giles were charged as the cause of some of these violations. Beman was charged $65,000 and Giles was charged $25,000 in penalties for their failure to take reasonable steps to ensure the models worked as intended and for contributing to the company’s compliance failings.
If you lost money after being misled by a broker or investment agency, you may be able to recover some or all of your losses by filing a claim. Our investment fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson have represented thousands of investors since we first opened our doors nearly two decades ago, and we understand what it takes to secure the verdict or settlement you require. Through our efforts, we have secured more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements, and we continue to fight for the rights of our clients every day. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm through our online form.
Meyer Wilson's Investigation Into Next Financial Group
Next Financial Group continues to make headlines for a wide range of potential fraud, including elder abuse, excessive trading, failure to supervise, and more. This independent broker-dealer claims to specialize in serving baby boomers and retirees, and over the past decade has been subject to a growing number of fines and legal actions based on its alleged misconduct.
Meyer Wilson has been investigating Next Financial Group for years. Learn more about this company and its actions here.
According to recent reports, the issues that first raised both the attention of Meyer Wilson and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) continue to occur. It’s estimated that tens of millions of dollars in potential damages may have occurred in customer accounts, and given Next Financial Group’s history of misconduct, the investment fraud lawyers in Meyer Wilson believe it could be even worse than it appears at this time.
Our investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson have been investigating the actions of Next Financial Group brokers for years now, and we remain committed to protecting the rights of individual investors who were affected by broker misconduct and fraud. If you lost money investing with brokers working at this organization, fill out our online form to schedule a free, in-depth consultation with an experienced investment fraud lawyer. Meyer Wilson has recovered over $350 million for its clients. All of the firm’s cases are handled on a contingency fee basis and a fee is only paid if the case is won.
FINRA Proposing a Wider Net to Capture Churning Brokers
On April 20, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) proposed a new rule that expands the liability of churning practices. The new rule states that a broker does not have to be in control of a client's account to be found liable for losses caused from churning. Under current FINRA rules, a broker can only be found liable for churning if he/she has discretion. The current law requires brokers who control client’s accounts to have a reasonable belief that the transactions they recommend are not unsuitable or excessive for their client.
FINRA's new proposed rule is intended to protect investors from unscrupulous brokers who use excessive trading as a way to increase their own profits. FINRA is concerned that a client has little protection against unethical churning tactics since the client relies on the broker's guidance for buying and selling investments. In such cases, clients routinely accept their broker's advice when making investment decisions, and they do not recognize that churning is going on. FINRA states that broker control of a client's account places an unnecessary burden on clients when trying to prove broker churning. Although the new FINRA rule will provide more protection for investors, FINRA will still have to prove that transactions were excessive and unsuitable for the investor.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FINRA have been investigating and targeting churning practices used by brokers for years. Both traditional churning, excessive trading, and reverse-churning, where brokers put buy-and-hold clients into advisory accounts that charge asset-based fees, cost unsuspecting investors millions of dollars in losses each year. Although no single test defines excessive trading activity, there are red flags that include:
- Annual turnover rates greater than six
- Cost-to-equity ratio greater than 20 percent
- In-and-out trading patterns in a short period of time
- Excessive account fees
- Significant tax liabilities associated with investments
If the SEC approves FINRA's new rule, it could expand liabilities and violations for churning beyond brokers who control a client's account. If churning tactics are proven, even brokers who don't have account control can receive violations and penalties. If you have been a victim of broker misconduct, contact the investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson at 888-390-6491 for a free consultation today.
Broker John Crook Hit With Complaints of Excessive Trading, Unsuitability, Others
John Nelson Crook is a stockbroker with a history of customer complaints against him. He has been accused of misrepresentation, engaging in excessive and unauthorized trading, recommending unsuitable investments, breaching his fiduciary duties, and breaching contracts.
John Crook has been a stockbroker since 1996 and is currently employed at Prospera Financial Services Inc. In the past, he has been employed by Raymond James and Associates Inc., Morgan Keegan and Company Inc., and Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
While employed at Raymond James and Associates Inc., he allegedly chose not to respond candidly to a supervisor’s review of his trading activity. Because of this, he was let go from the company in July 2015.
According to a recent report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a corporate self-regulatory agency of the financial industry, the most recent complaint against John Crook was received in November of 2015. It is pending and concerns a customer dispute with $4 million in alleged losses. The complaint is for allegations of excessive trading, unauthorized trading, and of churning with intent to gain additional commissions. The customer is seeking compensatory damages plus attorney’s fees and costs of litigation. The allegations in this dispute have not been proven, nor has John Crook accepted responsibility for any actions that might have contributed to the $4 million loss.
What is Excessive Trading?
The ethics of the stockbroking industry require that when a broker takes on a new client—an investor—they keep the goals and needs of that investor first. This is referred to as their fiduciary duty. Dishonest brokers may breach or break this responsibility in the name of their own financial gain.
One of the ways that a less-than-upright financial professional does this is by engaging in the practice of excessive trading or churning. Excessive trading—a flurry of activity buying and
selling stocks—can serve the interest of the broker by generating commissions for himself or herself.
If a stock is not gaining value or earning income, a broker should advise a client to sell the poorer performing stock and buy shares in a company with a promising financial future. Clues to excessive trading, however, are often earmarked by brokers advising the opposite—well-performing stocks are sold and poorer stocks are held onto indefinitely. The purpose of this is to gain commissions. The investor is left with a portfolio of duds, so to speak. Once the good performers have been sold off and commissions deducted, the losses can be significant.
If you believe you have been the victim of excessive trading or churning, contact the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson today for a free and confidential consultation.