Articles Posted in Fraud

James DavisPublicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 11, 2018 indicate that California-based Centaurus Financial broker/adviser James Davis has been involved in resolved or pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Davis (CRD# 1530880).

James Davis has spent 31 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Centaurus Financial in San Francisco, California since 2006. Previous registrations include Securities America in San Francisco, California (1990-2006); Royal Alliance Associates in Jersey City, New Jersey (1989-1990); Integrated Resources Equity Corporation (1987-1989); Financial Planners Equity Corporation (1986-1987); and Cypress Capital Corporation (1986). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on March 23, 1987; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on July 19, 1986; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on April 16, 1987. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with two US states: California and New York.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one customer complaint and one pending customer complaint, and he has been named in an investigation by state regulatory authorities.

 McKinley Mortgage Company

Publicly available records published by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 22, 2018 announce that the SEC reached a settlement of charges against the operators of McKinley Mortgage Company, who allegedly participated in a “years-long scheme to bilk hundreds of investors” out of millions of dollars of funds. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding McKinley Mortgage Company.

According to the SEC, the company and its operators—Tobias Preston, Charles Preston, and Caleb Preston—raised an amount exceeding $66 million from around 300 investors, including retail investors. The SEC alleges that they raised these funds by “falsely stating that investments in their fund, Alaska Financial Company III… were secure,” and that the fund generated high returns. In fact, according to the SEC, the fund has for years been insolvent and incapable of meeting interest obligations. The SEC further alleges that though “a portion” of the investors’ funds were used as represented, Tobias Preston used “more than $17 million” to finance “personal businesses and to pay for personal expenses,” while McKinley used another $14 million to fund its operational expenses. According to the SEC, Charles Preston, Caleb Preston, and Laura Sanford, an accounting manager, worked to conceal the fraud “by preparing or distributing investor materials with false information” and keeping other information from the fund’s auditors.

The SEC charged the individuals with violations of anti-fraud and registration provisions of federal securities law, and the defendants agreed to permanent injunctions against future violation of these provisions. According to the SEC, both the Prestons and McKinley agreed to the repayment to AFC III of nearly $30 million in funds they allegedly improperly received, as well as “the appointment of new management at McKinley, AFC III, and their affiliates.” Additionally, Tobias Preston will be subject to an order to return improperly acquired assets as well as a penalty of $2.5 million. Charles Preston and Caleb Preston, per the SEC, have agreed to penalties of $425,000 and $150,000/

George Todd Public records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on March 1, 2018 indicate that Tennessee-based Merrill Lynch broker/adviser George Todd has received a pending customer dispute. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Todd (CRD# 1206553).

George Todd has spent 34 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Merrill Lynch in Germantown, Tennessee since 1983. He has no previous registrations. He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on March 23, 1994; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on January 3, 1984; Series 31 (Futures Managed Funds Examination), which he obtained on June 15, 1983; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on December 17, 1983. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with 14 US states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. His self-regulatory organization (SRO) registrations include BOX Options Exchange LLC, the Chicago Stock Exchange, FINRA, Investors’ Exchange, MIAX PEARL, NYSE American LLC, Nasdaq ISE, and the New York Stock Exchange.

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

Publicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on October 23, 2017, as well as a news report published on October 12, indicate that former New York-based Fortune Financial Services broker Michael Giokas has been the subject of customer disputes and was recently arrested on fraud charges. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Giokas (CRD# 1398674).

Michael Giokas has spent 30 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Fortune Financial Services in Clarence, New York (2013-2017). He is the founder of Giokas Wealth Management in Williamsville, New York. Previous registrations include Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing in Williamsville, New York; Securities Service Network in Knoxville, Tennessee; Linsco/Private Ledger Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts; Guardian Investor Services Corporation in New York, New York; FSC Securities Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia; and Cigna Securities. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

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

Kenneth Cleveland

Publicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on June 19, 2017 indicate that California-based investment adviser Kenneth Cleveland has been indicted on charges of money laundering and wire fraud. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Kenneth Cleveland (CRD# 4105485).

Kenneth Cleveland is currently not registered with any state or firm. His previous registrations include Cleveland Financial Services Corporation in Algoura, California, where he was registered from 06/2002-12/2009 and 03/2010-12/2010.

According to his Investment Adviser Report, Kenneth Cleveland was recently indicted on criminal charges.

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