Ma Rosa Linan Abrego Barred by FINRA Over Misappropriation Inquiry

Ms. Abrego was recently barred by FINRA in the wake of allegations that she misappropriated client funds. Hailing from McAllen, Texas, Ms. Abrego was terminated by Merrill Lynch on June 10, 2019, after spending just three years at the company and in the securities industry at large. Merrill Lynch reported that she was terminated due to the misappropriation of client funds.

After Ms. Abrego’s termination, FINRA opened an investigation to determine if misappropriation had indeed taken place under her tenure as a broker. However, Ms. Abrego failed to appear for the inquiry as mandated by FINRA Rule 8210. Under Rule 8210, brokers are required to show up and cooperate with investigators – or risk becoming permanently barred from holding a position in the securities industry.

Knowing this, Ms. Abrego still chose not to appear before FINRA investigators or provide testimony about her actions at Merrill Lynch. As noted in her publicly-available BrokerCheck report, “Linan Abrego consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she refused to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested by FINRA.”

What Counts as Misappropriation of Funds?

Misappropriation of client funds is perhaps one of the most serious forms of investor misconduct, as it is defined as the illegal and intentional use of funds for an unauthorized purpose. Aside from facing FINRA sanctions and a lifetime ban in the securities industry, those who misappropriate client funds may be subject to both criminal and civil proceedings as well.  

At Meyer Wilson, we’re committed to holding investors accountable when their actions cause you to suffer financial harm. If you or someone you know has been affected by the misconduct of Ma Rosa Linan Abrego, you could be entitled to damages for your losses. Bringing over 50 years of legal experience to the table, our investment fraud attorneys can help you seek fair compensation.

For more information, contact our legal team at (800) 738-1960.

Did Michael Chandler of Infinex Investments Inc. Sell You Non-Traded REITs?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Michael Chandler, a Mississippi-based broker and investment adviser, recommended unsuitable, illiquid investments, including non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Chandler currently works for Infinex Investments Inc.

Chandler has been the subject of two customer disputes, one of which is still pending. Both allege non-traded REITs were inappropriately sold to Chandler’s customers. Infinex Investments Inc. settled one dispute after a customer alleged Chandler failed to disclose risks associated with non-traded REITs.

Non-traded REITs are highly risky, illiquid, and rarely suitable for most investors. They are not traded on a public exchange and cannot be sold readily in the market. FINRA has warned that this lack of liquidity creates a level of risk that is not suitable for most investors. Brokers are aware of why non-traded REITs are highly risky – they carry high fees, have limited liquidity, unclear distributions, valuation problems, and limited diversification.

Brokers have a duty to only recommend suitable investments in the best interest of their clients, and also to obtain sufficient information through reasonable diligence to ascertain a client’s investment profile. Failure to do so may result in liability for recommending unsuitable investments.

If you suffered losses in an account managed by Michael Chandler, the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation to discuss your legal options.

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 You Lose Money in an Account Managed by Former Cetera Investment Advisers Broker Hui Zhang?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that California-based broker and investment adviser Hui Zhang misrepresented in the recommendation of unsuitable, illiquid Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), including ARC Healthcare Trust. Zhang currently works for Independent Financial Group, LLC. He previously worked for Cetera Investment Advisers LLC.

Three customer disputes were filed against Zhang in connection with his work at Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. One dispute was settled and two are currently pending. Because non-traded REITs do not trade on a public exchange, the underlying real estate must be sold before investors can get their money back. The lack of liquidity makes them highly risky for investors. Regulators have warned that non-traded REITs are unsuitable for most investors. Healthcare Trust, Inc. (formerly ARC Healthcare Trust) is a non-traded REIT that purchases a portfolio of healthcare related real estate properties.

Investment advisers like Hui Zhang are fiduciaries to their clients and must act only in their clients’ best interests. If you suffered losses as a result of Zhang’s misrepresentation, the experienced securities and investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson are interested in hearing from you. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-pressure 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 Indiana-Based Broker Seth Stewart Invest Your Money in Risky Securities?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Seth Stewart, an Indiana-based broker, engaged in the misrepresentation of unsuitable, illiquid, alternative investments. Stewart is no longer registered to sell securities, but he is still a licensed investment adviser representative, working at a firm called Brookstone Financial. He previously worked for the brokerage firm Center Street Securities, Inc.

Stewart has three customer disputes pending against him. All allege that Stewart sold them unsuitable, high risk, illiquid investments. FINRA rules require a broker to have a reasonable basis that the recommended investment strategy or transaction is in the best interest for the customer. Failure to do so may result in liability for recommending unsuitable investments.

If you were sold illiquid and high risk investments by Seth Stewart, the experienced investment misconduct attorneys at Meyer Wilson are interested in hearing from you. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation to discuss your legal options.

Did You Lose Money With Former Voya Financial Broker William Johnson?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that William Johnson, a Connecticut-based broker, made multiple unsuitable recommendations to purchase speculative, non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and other alternative investments, including Commodity Futures. Johnson has been registered with Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. since 2019. He previously worked for Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. for twenty years.

Johnson has been the subject of eleven customer disputes. Five complaints are currently pending in FINRA arbitration, and all five allege that Johnson recommended his clients invest in unsuitable, high risk alternative investments.

If you suffered investment losses while working with William Johnson of Voya financial, the experienced investment attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Working with the right legal team makes all the difference. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Were You Sold Non-Traded REITs by Former Cetera Broker Darryl Ferguson?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Illinois-based broker Darryl Ferguson recommended unsuitable, non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Ferguson currently works for LPL Financial LLC. From 2007 to 2018, he was registered with Cetera Advisor Networks.

Ferguson is the subject of a $500,000 pending customer dispute, alleging that he recommended unsuitable, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) to his customers.

Non-traded REITs are illiquid, highly risky, and not suitable for most investors. Promoters of non-traded REITs say they offer a sizeable annual return from rental income and that after 7-10 years, property can be sold and investors can get their money back. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The downside to non-traded REITs is well-known in the securities industry – they carry high fees, valuation problems, limited diversification, and limited liquidity. Brokers and investment advisers can rarely justify recommendations to purchase non-traded REITs.

Even if a client desires diversification into the real estate sector, client interests are far better served by investing in lower cost liquid funds managed by individuals with expertise and incentives to construct diversified portfolios with real estate investments. Many brokers and advisers who recommend non-traded REITs to retail investors usually do so because of the large selling commissions they earn.

Brokers have a duty to recommend investments that are in the best interests of their clients. If you suffered financial losses due to the unsuitable recommendations of Darryl Ferguson, the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Contact us today for a no-cost 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.