Once again, it is record setting time at the SEC. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, that they have set yet another record in 2012 in their enforcement actions against broker-dealers, investment advisers, and senior executives involved in fraud.
Touting examples of their ramped up efforts, the SEC highlighted two cases – one against Oppenheimer Funds, which to have misled the investing public in funds that suffered dramatically during the financial crisis, and another against UBS Financial Services of Puerto Rico and several of its executives for disclosure violations in regards to the sales of mutual funds.
Despite the news of record setting enforcement activity, it is rare for damaged investors to ever be made whole as the result of an SEC enforcement action. While the SEC may impose fines and penalties against the brokers and companies, individual investors are left with no other avenue but to pursue their grievances in private litigation either in court or binding arbitration.
At Carlson Law Firm, we are experts in protecting investors’ rights. We offer a free evaluation of your case and based on that review, a variety of fee agreements. We can help you recover what the SEC cannot, with the goal of making you whole again.
Tags: investment recovery lawyer, Securities Fraud Attorney San Diego, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
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In a recent New York Times editorial, Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith voiced his opinion on the real impetus behind stockbroker malpractice: the avarice of brokerage firms. According to Smith, the greed of investment banking firms is so great that it impels them to put extreme pressure on stockbrokers to sell with the best interest of the firm in mind — without regard for the financial wellbeing of clients. As stated by Mr. Smith:”My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly
Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Category:Goldman Sachs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.”
Smith is not alone in his opinion, which is seconded by others in the world of finance, including Rall Capital Management’s Bob Rall, a fee-only advisor, and Russell G. Thornton, a VP at Wealthcare Capital. According to Rall, wirehouse firms do not focus on yield to the client (YTC). Instead, they focus on selling their proprietary investment products. And when a broker focuses on his or her own interests and the interests of brokerage firms rather than on client interests, the result is often a breach of fiduciary duty and stockbroker malpractice.
What Is a Wirehouse Broker?
A wirehouse broker works for a wirehouse brokerage firm (a national firm that has numerous branches). Ordinarily, wirehouse brokers are full-service stockbrokers who offer clients an array of services, from researching investment opportunities to buying and selling products. They are supposed to function as fiduciaries, not as sales reps for their firms.
Because wirehouse brokers have access to the numerous resources of the major brokerage house for which they work, including the house’s own investment products, they have long been considered superior to independent brokers—that is, until the financial debacle of 2007-08, which was precipitated by stockbroker fraud and the unethical practices of firms in pushing their proprietary investment products above more suitable client options.
Does Your Broker Put Your Financial Wellbeing First?
Today more than ever, investors must carefully examine the performance of their financial advisors in order to avoid investment loss.
Is your broker behaving more like a sales rep for a brokerage house than a fiduciary who is committed to your financial wellbeing? Is your broker aggressively pushing a firm’s proprietary products? Or is he or she offering sound investment advice based upon research and your unique needs and financial situation?
If you believe you have suffered investment loss due to a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of your broker, contact a stockbroker fraud lawyer today at Carlson Law, (619) 544-9300.
Tags: breach of fiduciary duty, Broker, Brokerage firm, Fiduciary, Finance, Goldman Sachs, Investment, investment loss, investment recovery, New York Times, Sales, Securities Fraud Attorney San Diego, stockbroker fraud, stockbroker fraud lawyer, stockbroker malpractice, Wall Street
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In October 2011, a former Agent for Hartford and Nationwide Life Insurance companies pled guilty to charges of theft and received a 10-year prison sentence. By Matthew J. Ryan’s own admission, he exploited weaknesses in the insurance companies’ practices and procedures in order to steal from the variable annuity contracts Hartford and Nationwide issued to his clients.
Ryan created fake companies and bogus “transfer forms” which he had his clients sign. The bogus forms gave Ryan the ability to divert funds from his customers’ variable annuities and, ultimately, into his own accounts. Hartford and Nationwide honored thousands of Ryan’s transfer requests, despite the fact that the fraudulent documents were obviously illegitimate. The fraudulent documentation was not detected until 2010. By that time, however, the former
agent had diverted an excess of $3M over a period of five years.
Two additional insurance companies have settled claims made by Ryan’s fixed variable annuity customers. Currently, combined suits of more than $3M against Nationwide and Hartford are pending.
Are you a former client of Mathew J. Ryan? Do you believe that your variable annuity contract assets have been or are being illegally diverted or invested unsuitably? If the answer to any of
these questions is yes, contact investment fraud lawyer Daniel Carlson at Carlson Law in San Diego for a free consultation. As an experienced investment recovery attorney, Mr. Carlson may be able to help you recoup all or part of financial loss.
Tags: Annuity (US financial products), Business, Contract, financial loss, Financial services, fraud, Insurance, investment fraud lawyer, investment recovery attorney, Life annuity, Matthew J. Ryan, San Diego, variable annuities, variable annuity, variable annuity contracts
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Ambac Financial Group Inc., as well as several of its banking underwriters and insurers, has agreed to pay a total of $33M in order to settle claims of investment fraud. According to investors who experienced significant financial loss, the parties involved hid risks from investors about the mortgage debt it guaranteed.
The primary claimants in the case are the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi and the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago. These claimants allege securities fraud in regard to Ambac bonds and stocks purchased from October 25, 2006 to April 22, 2008.
According to the suit, Ambac gave out misleading information regarding the safety of the bonds it insured in order to inflate the value of the securities. Claimants further allege that Ambac, which insured instruments related to high-risk mortgages, hid its involvement in the subprime loan disaster, an involvement that became clear when the housing market collapsed in 2008. According to the suit, Ambac falsely claimed that it insured the “safest” transactions, when in reality it guaranteed billions of high-risk residential mortgage debt and collateralized debt obligations that were high risk in pursuit of big profit.
Once a federal court has approved the settlement proposal, Ambac will pay claimants 2.5M. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, HSBC Holding and Wachovia (now a part of Wells Fargo) will pay a combined total of $5.9 million. The four insurance companies involved will pay a total of $24.5M.
If you believe that you’ve been a victim of securities fraud, contact an investment recovery lawyer. Like the claimants in the Ambac case, you could recoup some or all of your financial loss through securities arbitration or litigation. Contact Carlson Law today at 619-544-9300 for a free consultation.
Tags: Ambac Financial Group, Citigroup, financial loss, free consultation, Goldman Sachs, Insurance, Investment Fraud, investment recovery lawyer, Merrill Lynch, Plaintiff, Securities Arbitration, Securities Fraud, Securities Fraud Attorney San Diego, Wells Fargo
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According to a June 6, 2011 article by James Vicini for Reuters (“Halliburton securities fraud lawsuit reinstated”) the U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated a securities fraud class-action lawsuit filed against Halliburton in 2001 by pension and mutual fund investors on behalf of all buyers of Halliburton stock between June 1999 and December 2001.
Claimants in the case charge that Halliburton fraudulently overstated its engineering and construction revenues as well as the positive impact its merger with Dresser Industries would have on the company. At the same time, claimants allege, Halliburton misled investors regarding the company’s liabilities due to asbestos.
Because of these misrepresentations, claimants argue, Halliburton stock was artificially inflated and, when the company revealed the true state of its affairs, its stock fell dramatically, causing financial loss to investors.
The lawsuit had formerly been thrown out of court by a Texas federal judge who ruled that evidence of loss causation, a link between the claimants’ losses and the company’s actions, was insufficient. And an appeals court upheld that decision.
Their rulings created confusion among appeals courts regarding the necessity of claimants to prove loss causation early in the litigation process.
The Supreme Court disagreed with the judge and the appeals court, ruling that stock fraud plaintiffs do not have to prove loss causation simply in order to pursue a class-action lawsuit. That’s good news not only for claimants in the Erica P. John Fund v. Halliburton case, but also for injured investors throughout the nation who’ve had their suits quickly dismissed due to insufficient initial proof of loss causation.
Tags: Class action, class action securities fraud, financial loss, Halliburton, Lawsuit, loss causation, Reuters, Securities Fraud, Stock Fraud, Supreme Court of the United States
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According to an article published by Reuters on June 2, 2011, Goldman Sachs has been subpoenaed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for information regarding its role in events which precipitated the recent worldwide financial crisis. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice also plans to subpoena Goldman Sachs.
Both federal and New York prosecutors want more information about documents discovered through a U.S. Senate subcommittee probe regarding the part Wall Street played in the collapse of the housing market. According to the subcommittee report, as the market began to drop in late 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs offloaded much of its subprime mortgage risk to innocent clients. The firm also purportedly took its time fulfilling customer requests to close out their failing accounts.
Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil fraud suit against Goldman Sachs for its failure to disclose information linking it to complex mortgage securities. While the firm settled the charges, it refused to respond to the charges.
Are these current subpoenas a serious problem for Goldman Sachs? Financial experts disagree. Dick Bove, a Rochdale Securities analyst, says authorities are simply looking for someone to punish and Goldman Sachs seems like a likely candidate. Still, according to reporter Brad Hintz, any legal action against Goldman Sachs—whether successful or not—is bound to hurt the firm. Hintz advises that the company “make amends.” Other analysts maintain that the investigations will prove fruitless and have little impact on the company.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs has issued a public statement that it will “cooperate fully” with the Manhattan DA.
If you experienced financial loss during the recent financial crisis due to stockbroker malpractice, contact a stockbroker attorney at Carlson Law today at 619-544-9300 for a free consultation.
Tags: financial loss, Goldman Sachs, investment loss, investment recovery, mortgage securities, New York County District Attorney, Stock Fraud Attorney, stockbroker attorney, stockbroker malpractice, subprime mortgage, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Street
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Although it’s been three years since financial misconduct on Wall Street rocked the nation, investors still have opportunity to recoup some or all of their financial loss.
If you suffered financial loss during the recent crisis, your broker, brokerage or financial advisor may be legally responsible for that loss. A variety of legal actions can be brought against financial professioals for malpractice, such as negligent investment misrepresentation for making inappropriate investment product recommendations, intentinal securities fraud and inapropriate account turnover/excessive trading or “churning” to name only a few examples.
“Each state has different statutes of limitations for different kinds of claims,” explains Daniel Carlson of Carlson Law, a securities litigation firm in San Diego. “Your ability to file for damages depends on where you live and the kind of claims you have. While one state may have a three-year statute of limitations for all claims, others may have deadlines as long as 10 years for claims like breach of fiduciary duty. And in some states, the ‘discovery rule’ applies to fraud. That means the statute of limitations’ clock doesn’t start ticking until an investor ‘discovers’ he or she has been defrauded.”
Defrauded investors may also be able to file claims in more than one state. “It depends upon where you live, where you transacted business with your broker and whether the account agreement has a ‘choice of law’ provision indicating the state law that applies in the event of any claims,” Carlson says.
“And of course there’s more than one way to file a claim,” he adds. “If there are several options available, a good litigator will choose the state and the claims that give their clients the best chance of success.”
Did you experience financial loss due to your financial advisor’s misconduct? Did your broker lie to you about an investment? Did he or she give you advice inappropriate to your financial goals? Don’t wait any longer to fight for the compensation you deserve. Remember, legal deadlines do exist, and your time could be running out.
To discuss your options, contact Carlson Law at 619-544-9300 for a free consultation with an experienced investment recovery lawyer.
“Even if claims seem to have exceeded the applicable statute of limitations, defrauded investors should still contact an attorney,” Carlson advises. “By using all the legal means at their disposal, securities fraud attorneys can sometimes still recover client losses through arbitration even after a statute of limitations has expired.”
Tags: breach of fiduciary duty, broker malpractice, churning, claims, damages, Dan Carlson, financial advisors, financial loss, fraud, investment recovery lawyer, Investor, Law, San Diego, securities fraud attorney, securities litigation firm, statutes of limitations, Wall Street
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