Super Lawyers
AVVO
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell

Cheetah MobilePublicly available records indicate that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors in Cheetah Mobile (NYSE:CMCM) in connection to alleged violations of securities laws by CMCM. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding investments made in Cheetah Mobile between April 26, 2017 and November 27, 2018.

The class action complaint specifically alleges that during the period in question, CMCM might have provided false and/or misleading material information, and/or failed to disclose adverse material information to the public, chiefly: that the company’s apps contained features—which the company had not disclosed—which monitored when its users downloaded other apps; that the company employed the data gathered by these features to improperly assert that it had caused those downloads; that when these features were uncovered, they had the potential to result in the Cheetah Mobile’s apps being removed from the Google Play app store; and that consequently the revenues enjoyed by the company during the relevant period partially stemmed from inappropriate activities, and were thus not sustainable; and that consequently the company’s statements to the public during the relevant period were false and misleading. When BuzzFeed News issued a report on November 26, 2018 that a number of Cheetah Mobile applications contained features that tracked downloads of new apps and that the company “inappropriately claim[ed] credit for having cause this download,” the company’s stock value declined $3.32/share, or approximately 37%, over the following two days of trading, closing at $5.48/share on November 27, 2018. The complaint alleges that when true facts emerged, investors suffered losses.

According to the company’s website, Cheetah Mobile is “a leading mobile internet company dedicated to making the world smarter.” On November 26, 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that the research firm Kochava had uncovered a scheme in which “Eight apps with a total of more than 2 billion downloads in the Google Play store have been exploiting user permissions as part of an ad fraud scheme that could have stolen millions of dollars.” According to the report, seven of those eight apps were owned by Chetah Mobile; the other was owned by Kika Tech. According to the company, the scheme took advantage of a fee app developers pay, usually between 50 cents and three dollars, “to partners that help drive installations of new apps.” Kochava’s research found that the companies used a practice known as click flooding or click injection, which tracks users’ downloads of new apps and claims credit for the download, such that they would receive the fee for the installation “even when they played no role” in it. Following the story’s publication, two Cheetah Mobile apps, CM Locker and Batter Doctor, “were removed from the Google Play store,” according to BuzzFeed News.

GreenSkyPublicly available records indicate that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors in GreenSky (NASDAQ:GSKY) in connection to alleged violations of securities laws by GSKY. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding investments made in GreenSky between May 21, 2018 and November 27, 2018.

The class action complaint specifically alleges that during the period in question, GSKY might have provided false and/or misleading material information, and/or failed to disclose adverse material information, chiefly: that offering documents issued in connection with its May 29, 2018 Initial Public Offering omitted a substantial shift in its merchant business mix which led to a decline in its transaction revenue. According to the complaint, these documents represented the company’s revenue model as a “strong” and “recurring” one, casting a positive light on the company’s growth and omitting the decline in its transaction-fee revenue. That IPO generated more than $1 billion in gross proceeds, per the company’s offering documents; a few months later, in August 2018, it reported poor financial results stemming from a change in its merchant business mix, from solar panel merchants to those in the elective healthcare space, whom it charged a lower transaction fee, according to the complaint. The company later posted additional results that fell short of expectations and subsequently reduced its financial guidance, after which its share price declined to $9.28/share on November 6, 2018, approaching 60% less than its IPO price of $23/share. The complaint alleges that when true facts emerged, investors who made purchases traceable to the IPO suffered losses.

According to the company’s website, GreenSky is a Georgia-based financial technology company that offers a proprietary platform which “large and growing opportunity in mobile, online and in-store point of sale finance, driving significant value for our constituents: merchants, banks and consumers.” Per its description, its platform boasts 14,000 active merchants, 2.1 million cumulative customers, $15 billion cumulative transaction volume, 33% growth in transaction volume, and 52% adjusted EBITDA margin. It trades on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol GSKY.

PPDAI GroupPublicly available records indicate that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors in PPDAI Group (NYSE:PPDF) in connection to alleged violations of securities laws by PPDF. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding investments made in PPDAI Group between February 8, 2017 and November 13, 2018.

The class action complaint specifically alleges that during the period in question, PPDF might have provided false and/or misleading material information, and/or failed to disclose adverse material information in connection with its Initial Public Offering in November 2017, namely: that the company was participating in predatory lending activities in which they gave debts with high interest rates to subprime borrowers and others with poor or limited credit histories who would be unable to repay the debts; that many of the company’s customers were taking out loans to repay other loans, consequently inflating the company’s revenues as well as its active borrower statistics, in turn raising the potential for defaults; that the company’s reserves were being negatively impacted by rising rates of delinquency; that what the company represented as “rapid growth” in the quantity and size of its loans had tapered off; that the company was giving college students online loans even though the government had banned doing such; that the company was participating in improper and aggressive practices when it came to collecting debts; and that as a result of its improper practices, the company faced an increased risk of negative actions by regulatory authorities in China. The complaint alleges that when true facts emerged, investors suffered losses.

According to the company’s website, PPDAI Group is a web-based consumer finance marketplace based in China. It was launched in 2007 and is also known as Paipaidai. Per the company’s description, it boasted more than 78 “cumulative registered users” as of June 30, 2018. Its focus is on borrowers aged 20 to 40, which it states is “a demographic typically more receptive to internet financial services and poised to become the driving force of China’s consumer finance market.” Its borrowers live in “97% of the cities and counties in China,” according to the company, and many have “limited or no credit history.” It chiefly offers customers short-term loans “to meet their immediate credit needs” while building credit history over time. The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PPDF.

David BartfieldPublicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that Colorado-based Edward Jones broker/adviser David Bartfield has received a pending customer dispute. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Bartfield (CRD# 4511930).

David Bartfield has spent 14 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Edward Jones in Aurora, Colorado since 2013. Previous registrations include WTS Proprietary Trading Group in New York, New York (2012-2013); AXA Advisors in Denver, Colorado (2010-2012); Northwestern Mutual Investment Services in Denver, Colorado (2009); Jackson National Life Distributors in Denver, Colorado (2007-2008); AG Edwards & Sons in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2006-2007); Chase Investment Services Corporation in Chicago, Illinois (2005-2006); Banc One Securities Corporation in Chicago, Illinois (2005); and RBC Dain Rauscher in New York, New York (2002-2004). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination), which he obtained on July 22, 2013; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on May 2, 2002. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 13 US states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. He is registered with four self-regulatory organizations (SROs): FINRA, NYSE American LLC, the Nasdaq Stock Market, and the New York Stock Exchange.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one pending customer complaint.

Robert Lyons

Publicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that Texas-based Wells Fargo Clearing Services broker/adviser Robert Lyons has been involved in resolved or pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Lyons (CRD# 2243975).

Robert Lyons has spent 26 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Wells Fargo Clearing Services in Houston, Texas since 2003. Previous registrations include Prudential Securities in New York, New York (2000-2003); Painewebber in Weehawken, New Jersey (2000); JC Bradford & Company in New York, New York (1997-2000); and Rauscher Pierce Refsnes in Dallas, Texas (1992-1997). He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on November 15, 1999; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on July 23, 1992; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on July 20, 1992. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 18 US states and territories: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. He is registered with five self-regulatory organizations (SROs): FINRA, NYSE American LLC, Nasdaq PHLX LLC, the Nasdaq Stock Market, and the New York Stock Exchange.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one customer complaint and one pending customer complaint.

Richard CaglePublic records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that Texas-based Hilltop Securities broker Richard Cagle has received a pending customer dispute. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Cagle (CRD# 2122648).

Richard Cagle has spent 27 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Hilltop Securities in Corpus Christi, Texas since 1997. He was previously registered with Principal Financial Securities in Dallas, Texas (1991-1997). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on February 20, 1991; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on February 11, 1991. He is a registered broker with three US states: California, Hawaii and Texas.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one pending customer complaint.

Joseph Roop Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that North Carolina-based Kalos Capital broker/adviser Joseph Roop has been involved in resolved or pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Roop (CRD# 2774470).

Joseph Roop has spent 22 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Kalos Capital in Belmont, North Carolina since 2009. Previous registrations include Wachovia Securities in Belmont, North Carolina (2008-2009); Banc of America Investment Services in Charlotte, North Carolina (2004-2008); Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore, Maryland (2000-2004); MML Investors Services in Springfield, Massachusetts (1998-2000); and Pruco Securities Corporation in Newark, New Jersey (1996-1998). He has passed six securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on April 2, 1999; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on August 9, 1996; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; Series 31 (Futures Managed Funds Examination), which he obtained on October 26, 2001; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on October 4, 2000; Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination), which he obtained on August 2, 1996. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 15 US states and territories: Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received five customer complaints and one pending customer complaint.

John Johnston

Publicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that Oklahoma-based Wells Fargo Clearing Services broker/adviser John Johnston has received resolved or pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Johnston (CRD# 2799351).

John Johnston has spent 22 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Wells Fargo Clearing Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma since June 2017. Previous registrations include BOK Financial Services in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (2001-2017); Primevest Financial Services in St. Cloud, Minnesota (1999-2001); Investment Professionals in San Antonio, Texas (1999); and Dean Witter Reynolds in Purchase, New York (1996-1999). He has passed five securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on November 13, 1996; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on November 13, 1996; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; Series 31 (Futures Managed Funds Examination), which he obtained on November 13, 1996; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on October 22, 1996. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with nine US states and territories: Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. He is registered with five self-regulatory organizations (SROs): FINRA, NYSE American LLC, Nasdaq PHLX LLC, the Nasdaq Stock Market, and the New York Stock Exchange.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received two customer complaints and one pending customer complaint.

Franklyn ClarkPublicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that former Maryland-based United Brokerage Services broker/adviser Franklyn Clark has received a customer dispute and is currently not affiliated with any broker-dealer firm. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Clark (CRD# 1960303).

Franklyn Clark has spent 29 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with United Brokerage Services in Bethesda, Maryland (2011-2018). Previous registrations include Wells Fargo Advisors in Washington, DC (2006-2011) and Morgan Stanley DW in Bethesda, Maryland (1989-2006). He has passed seven securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on May 2, 2002; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on July 28, 1989; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; Series 31 (Futures Managed Funds Examination), which he obtained on April 23, 1998; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on August 19, 1989; Series 10 (General Securities Sales Supervisor – General Module Examination), which he obtained on February 8, 2008; and Series 9 (General Securities Sales Supervisor – Options Module Examination), which he obtained on September 28, 2007. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one customer complaint and three denied customer complaints.

Katherine NishnicPublic records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on November 21, 2018 indicate that South Carolina-based Centaurus Financial broker/adviser Katherine Nishnic has received pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Ms. Nishnic (CRD# 2499553).

Katherine Nishnic has spent 24 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Centaurus Financial in Lexington, South Carolina since 2015. Previous registrations include JP Turner & Company in Lexington, South Carolina (2010-2015); Gunnallen Financial in Lexington, South Carolina (2008-2010); First Allied Securities in Lexington, South Carolina (2000-2008); DE Frey & Company in Denver, Colorado (1997-2000); and Merrill Lynch in New York, New York (1994-1997). She has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which she obtained on May 15, 1995; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which she obtained on October 1, 2018; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which she obtained on August 19, 1994. She is a registered broker and investment adviser with 12 US states: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

According to her BrokerCheck report, she has received two pending customer complaints and one customer complaint that was closed with no action taken.