Articles Posted in FINRA Complaint

Brian Stephan

Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on October 26, 2018 indicate that Ohio-based American Wealth Management broker Brian Stephan has been named in a pending FINRA complaint. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Stephan (CRD# 4222796).

Brian Stephan has spent 18 years in the securities industry and has been registered with American Wealth Management in Xenia, Ohio since December 2017. Previous registrations include Commonwealth Financial Network in Xenia, Ohio (2014-2017); LPL Financial in Xenia, Ohio (2003-2014); and Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri (2000-2003). He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on August 31, 2000; SIE (Securities Industry Essentials Examination), which he obtained on October 1, 2018; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on August 28, 2000; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on April 14, 2005. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 21 US states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

According to his BrokerCheck report, Brian Stephan has received one denied customer complaint and was recently named in a pending FINRA complaint.

BettermentAccording to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records and a June 22, 2018 report by Investment News, FINRA has issued a $400,000 fine against the online investment advice company Betterment in connection to allegations Betterment FINRA rules related to customer protection and the proper maintenance of books and records.

Betterment Securities, a FINRA member and wholly owned subsidiary of Betterment Holdings, Inc., offers brokerage services to clients of Betterment LLC, a registered investment adviser and also a subsidiary of Betterment Holdings. Betterment LLC “operates as an online wealth management service,” according to FINRA, and Betterment Securities’ customer base is composed of Betterment LLC’s clients. Created in 2010, Betterment LLC “uses software algorithms and technology to maintain its customers’ investment portfolios,” and Betterment Securities is a carrying firm that offers brokerage services to Betterment LLC’s customers; according to FINRA, it “has a primary responsibility to protect its customers’ assets.”

Despite that responsibility, according to FINRA, Betterment Securities failed to ensure its practices were in compliance with FINRA and SEC rules. For instance, between October 2013 and January 2015, it “structured its transactions on days when it was required to calculate its reserve deposits differently than on other days in order to reduce its Customer Reserve Account obligations. That is, the firm allegedly transferred client deposits to an omnibus account that “to fund its pre-settlement withdrawal program,” but on other days, when it was “required to compute its customer reserve requirement,” it did not transfer customer deposits but rather funded the program with loans from its clearing firm. In so doing, FINRA alleges, the firm “engaged in ‘window dressing'” by altering its practices to reduce its reserve requirement.

david olson

Public records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 24, 2018 indicate that former Florida-based Morgan Stanley broker David Olson, who has received several customer disputes, was recently sanctioned by FINRA and barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Olson (CRD# 1700644).

David Olson has spent 29 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Morgan Stanley in St. Petersburg, Florida (2010-2017). Previous registrations include Merrill Lynch in Clearwater, Florida (2009-2010); Banc of America Investment Services in Belleair Bluffs, Florida (2004-2009); UBS Financial Services in Weehawken, New Jersey (1999-2004); Prudential Securities in New York, New York (1989-1999); Thomson McKinnon in New York, New York (1989); and Painewebber (1987-1989). He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on December 28, 1992; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on August 5, 1987; Series 3 (National Commodity Futures Examination), which he obtained on December 15, 1989; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on July 18, 1987. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received six customer complaints and two regulatory sanctions.

ronald mccookPublicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on May 17, 2018 indicate that former Georgia-based Edward Jones broker/adviser James Walters was terminated from his former employer in connection to alleged rule violations and is currently not affiliated with any broker-dealer firm. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Walters (CRD# 5943354).

James Walters has spent six years in the securities industry and was registered with Edward Jones in Macon, Georgia from 2011-2018. He has no previous registrations. He has passed two securities industry examinations: Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination), which he obtained on October 26, 2011, and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on September 1, 2011. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he was discharged from his former employer in connection to alleged rule violations.

GettyImages-84178122-300x200Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and accessed on May 15, 2018, indicate that more than two dozen brokers and/or investment advisers were reported as suspended from association with FINRA member firms in that month. The financial professionals enumerated below have signed letters of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to the sanctions; they have not admitted to or denied the conduct alleged by FINRA. Certain suspensions may affect the individual’s operation in a principal capacity, other capacities, or all capacities, and some may have lifted before or since FINRA’s report was published. Additionally, the fines documented below may not take into account all monetary penalties paid by the representatives, as they may also have been ordered to pay disgorgement and/or restitution to other parties. Visit FINRA’s disciplinary actions homepage for additional information.

Name Current/Former Employers Length of Suspension Fines paid
Napoleon Seymour Andrews  Nationwide Securities 2 months $5,000
Choosri Lao KCD Financial 2 months $5,000
Christine Alexandria Murphy Innovation Partners 1 month $5,000
Claudio Leonardo Villa JP Morgan Securities 18 months $10,000
Ellen Marie Scambia Merriman Capital 20 days (principal capacity) $5,000
Kevin C. Yang Morgan Stanley 20 days 5,000
Timothy John Beall National Planning Corporation 9 months $10,000
Omer Ozeren Ace Diversified Capital 3 months $10,000
Douglas Fairchild Bradley UBS Financial Services 45 days $10,000
Ricardo Alfredo Estrada MML Investors Services 2 months $5,000
Michael Murphy Hurtgen Girard Securities 2 months $5,000
William Bernard Lyons ACGM 3 months (principal capacity) $10,000
Michael Douglas Hanke Ameriprise Financial Services 1 month $10,000
Donald Charles Leary Jr. New Albion Partners 2 months $7,500
Michael Anthony McGregor Aegis Capital 4 months $5,000
Martin Earl Brooks United Planners’ Financial Services of America 15 days $5,000
Michael Scott Androulakis Alexander Capital 3 months $5,000
Craig Dean Blattner Cetera Advisors 15 days $5,000
Phillip Paul Tibbetts Pruco Securities 20 days $5,000
Frank Bazan BBVA Securities 7 months $20,000
Dennis Ernest Beeby Lightpath Securities 8 months $10,000
Paul Kreindler Pace Capital 2 months $15,000
Lisa C. Piazza Morgan Stanley 4 months $2,500
Mark Jude Ketner PHX Financial 2 months $5,000
Robert Mark Malbasa AllState Financial Services 3 months $5,000
William Patrick Slattery Lampert Capital Markets 5 months $12,500

Andre JarajPublicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 2, 2018 indicate that Uruguay-based Insigneo Securities broker Andres Jaraj has received a customer dispute. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Jaraj (CRD# 5253088).

Andres Jaraj has spent 10 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Insigneo Securities in Montevideo, Uruguay since July 2017. Previous registrations include Northeast Securities in Montevideo, Uruguay (2012-2017); Barclays Capital in New York, New York (2008-2012); and Lehman Brothers in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2007-2008). He has passed two securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on January 3, 2011, and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on June 30, 2007. He is a registered broker with one US state, Florida, and one self-regulatory organization: FINRA.

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

lee rosenbergPublicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 2, 2018 indicate that Florida and New York-based Cadaret Grant & Company broker/adviser Lee Rosenberg has been involved in several customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Rosenberg (CRD# 1010402).

Lee Rosenberg has spent 34 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Cadaret Grant & Company in Jericho, New York and Boca Raton, Florida since 1990. Previous registrations include Nathan & Lewis Securities (1982-1988); Home Life Equity Sales Corporation (1982-1984); and Home Life Insurance Company (1981-1984). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on December 3, 1986; Series 22 (Direct Participation Programs Representative Examination), which he obtained on January 7, 1983; and Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination), which he obtained on December 4, 1981. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 25 US states and territories: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received three customer complaints.

Erik O’LearyPublicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 11, 2018 indicate that Massachusetts-based Securian Financial Services broker/adviser Erik O’Leary has been involved in a customer dispute. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. O’Leary (CRD# 3174893).

Erik O’Leary has spent four years in the securities industry and has been registered with Securian Financial Services in Mansfield, Massachusetts since April 2018. He was previously registered with NYLife Securities in Waltham, Massachusetts (2013-2018). He has passed two securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on March 16, 2015, and Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination), which he obtained on October 11, 2013. He is currently not registered as a broker with any US state.

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

Robert Tweed

Public records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on January 25, 2017 indicate that California-based Cabot Lodge Securities broker/adviser Robert Tweed has been named in pending complaints by FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Tweed (CRD# 2339324).

Robert Tweed has spent 24 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Cabot Lodge Securities in San Marino, California since 2015. Previous registrations include Capwest Securities in San Marino, California (2011); MAM Securities in Sherman Oaks, California (2010-2011); Capwest Securities in San Marino, California (2007-2010); United Securities Alliance in San Marino, California (2005-2007); National Planning Corporation in El Segundo, California (1999-2005); Intersecurities in St. Petersburg, Florida (1997-1999); Laguna Securities in Newport Beach, California (1995-1997); Wealth Resource Capital Corporation in Newport Beach, California (1994-1995); and Securities America in La Vista, Nebraska (1993-1994). He has passed five securities industry examinations: Series 6 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on May 29, 1998; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on May 18, 1993; Series 31 (Futures Managed Funds Examination), which he obtained on December 12, 2002; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on May 11, 1993; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on January 28, 1999. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with eleven US states and territories: California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.

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

Trevor GordonPublicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on October 13, 2017 indicate that South Carolina-based Sandlapper Securities broker/adviser Trevor Gordon has been named in a pending FINRA complaint. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Sandlapper Securities and/or Mr. Gordon (CRD# 2195122).

Trevor Gordon has spent 18 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Sandlapper Securities in Greenville, South Carolina since 2006. Previous registrations include James Harold Goode Jr. in San Clemente, California; Steven L. Falk & Associates in Las Vegas, Nevada; NFP Securities in Austin, Texas; Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida; Dean Witter Reynolds in Purchase, New York; and Provident Advisers in New York, New York. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 44 US states and territories.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has been named in a pending FINRA complaint.