J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC (“J.P. Morgan”) employed San Francisco Financial Advisor Edward Turley (“Mr. Turley”) and his former New York City partner, Steven Foote (“Mr. Foote”), and is being sued for their alleged stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct involving a highly speculative trading investment strategy in highly leveraged margin accounts1. We represent a family (the “Claimants”) in the Southwest who built a successful manufacturing business and entrusted their savings to J.P. Morgan and its two financial advisors to manage by investing in “solid companies” and in a “careful” manner. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan, Mr. Turley, and/or Mr. Foote and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case.Keep Reading
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This law firm is the real deal. We were so lucky that they took our case as they have so much experience in securities and all the wrongdoing that happens in these investment companies where they mislead you and your money (as in our case) into schemes that are not what you think they are. Mr. Robert Pearce is one of the best lawyers around, a truly professional who will fight for you and will tell you as it is all the time. We could not have gone thru this experience if it was not for all the advice, guidance and support he and all of his staff and associates brought to the game. For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner.- Astrid M. -
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Protecting seniors from financial exploitation requires a collaborative effort between the government and financial experts. In general, securities brokerage firms and their stockbroker employees have a fiduciary duty to their customers. FINRA rules also establish a broker-dealer and stockbroker’s responsibility to protect seniors from financial exploitation by others. Unfortunately, the financial exploitation of seniors is a growing problem. If you or a family member believes you were taken advantage of by your stockbroker, investment advisor or another financial professional then you need to speak with a skilled investment fraud attorney right away. Based in Boca Raton, the legal team at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., has years of experience representing clients for various types of investment, securities, and commodities fraud. We have handled hundreds of JAMS, FINRA, and AAA securities mediations and arbitrations for clients across the country and even some international clients. Financial Exploitation Is Elder Abuse According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, financial exploitation is a type of elder abuse on the rise. It covers the abuse of seniors and adults who have disabilities. This type of abuse usually involves trusted people in a person’s life, such as stockbrokers, investment advisors, other financial professionals, trustees, guardians, caretakers, neighbors, family members, and friends. This abuse happens because many seniors simply cannot protect themselves any longer. They are more trusting and relying on others. They are incapable of detecting fraudulent schemes. It is difficult for them to understand the nature, mechanics or risks of investments being offered and sold to them. Many cannot even read or comprehend the account statements or confirmations sent to them. So they allow others to manage their financial affairs and some of those people they trust and rely upon financially exploit them. There are numerous types of investment fraud perpetrated upon seniors. Some of the most common abuses and scams by stockbrokers, investment advisors and other financial professionals include: Getting seniors to allow fraudsters access to and/or management of their bank and/or brokerage accounts; Telling seniors to write personal checks to stockbrokers, investment advisors and other financial professionals to supposedly make investments not available through the brokerage firm; Taking money from seniors in exchange for worthless promissory notes or notes the fraudster has no intention of ever re-paying to the senior; The offer and sale of unsuitable complex structured products, alternative and non-conventional investments for the high commissions paid on those investments; Advising seniors to take out reverse mortgages or equity lines and use the proceeds to trade securities; Other scams that pressure a senior to use the equity from their reverse mortgage or equity line (or other liquid assets) to purchase an expensive variable universal life insurance policy, variable annuity, or indexed annuity with high commissions, high surrender fees, expensive riders and that may not even mature until the senior is around 90 or 100 years old; Investments or securities schemes, such as Ponzi or pyramid schemes, promising unrealistic returns; Investments involving an unlicensed dealer. Victims of financial exploitation can experience all the same effects as someone who has endured another type of abuse, including depression, loss of trust, and feelings of shame. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Recent rule changes to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) went into effect in February 2018. These significant rule changes help establish additional protections for senior citizens. The two notable changes are FINRA Rules 2165 and 4512. FINRA Rule 2165 The SEC adopted new FINRA Rule 2165, which is the Financial Exploitation of “Specified Adults.” This rule will permit members to place a temporary hold on securities or disbursements of funds from an account when there is suspected financial exploitation. If a financial broker reasonably suspects that there is financial exploitation, then they can withhold disbursement. However, the rule does not create an obligation to stop the disbursement. Instead, it provides the right for brokers to do so. Stockbrokers should be proactive and look for potential abuse, so they can stop it early on, helping protect unsuspecting senior investors from becoming victims. Rule 2165 defines specified adults as particular investors who are most at risk for financial exploitation. That includes the following people: Someone who is 65 years of age or older; and Someone who is 18 and older that the broker has reason to believe has a physical or mental impairment that renders the investor unable to protect their own interests adequately. Brokers also have to know what the rule defines as financial exploitation. One example is the unauthorized or wrongful withholding, taking, use, or appropriation of a specified adult’s securities or funds. Financial exploitation can also be any act or omission made through someone’s guardianship, power of attorney, or any other authority with the purpose of: Converting the specified adult’s assets, money, or property; or Obtaining control of the specified adult’s property, money, or assets through the use of intimidation, deception, or undue influence. Rule 2165 allows a broker to put a temporary hold on suspicious disbursements but not on ones that do not appear to be related to the financial exploitation of seniors. The rule does not apply to transactions in securities, such as a customer’s order to sell their share of stocks. But it could apply to a request by the investor to disburse shares out of their account. FINRA Rule 4512 The SEC also adopted FINRA Rule 4152, which concerns customer account information. Under this amended rule, members must make reasonable efforts to obtain a name and contact information for an investor’s trusted contact person on their account. Investors should have a trusted contact listed whom the stockbroker can reach out to and disclose pertinent information about an account. They can also disclose health status and even ask about the client’s whereabouts if the broker cannot reach them directly. Stockbrokers can get a trusted contact name when opening the account or when updating information for accounts established before the effective date of Rule 4512. The amendment requires the broker to disclose in writing or electronic documentation...Learn More
A clever investment scam can trick even the most experienced investors. Diligent research before handing over your money is one of the best ways to avoid an investment scam. In addition, knowing the signs of common types of investment fraud will help protect your investments and save you time and money in the long run. There are six common investment scams. Ponzi Schemes One of the most well-known types of investment fraud is the Ponzi scheme. In a Ponzi scheme, the fraudster attracts early investors with the promise of an unusually high rate of return. Instead of investing this money, however, the fraudster pays the early investors using money from new investors, who are paid by newer investors, and so on. Because a Ponzi scheme relies on new investments to pay existing investors, this kind of scam requires a steady stream of new investors to work. As soon as the fraudster is unable to secure new investments, or if too many investors try to withdraw their investment at the same time, the scam will fall apart. Pyramid Schemes Another well-known investment scam is the pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are similar to Ponzi schemes in that early investors are paid using money from later investors. The main difference is that the scam is organized in a pyramid structure. To start a pyramid scheme, a fraudster will promise to turn a small investment into a large return. Each investor in the first group is offered the opportunity to make more money by recruiting their own investors. Every time a new member joins, a portion of their investment travels up the chain. As the number of recruited investors grows, the organization of the scam begins to look like a pyramid with the fraudster on top. As with a Ponzi scheme, the continuation of a pyramid scheme depends on a steady stream of new investors; if no new investors want to join, the scam will quickly fall apart. Advance Fee Fraud Advance fee fraud is a less well-known but common type of investment fraud. According to the FBI, the fraudster in an advance fee scheme asks victims to give “advances” to the fraudster on the promise that they will receive large gains in the future. These advances are usually in the form of taxes or processing fees. Like with other investment scams, there is no legitimate investment underlying the fraud; rather, the fraudster takes the advance fees and disappears without providing any return to the victims. High Yield Investment Frauds Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and advance fee frauds all have one thing in common: the promise of high rates of return with little to no risk. While those three types of investment fraud are the most common, this same kind of promise exists in other scams involving real estate, stocks and bonds, minerals, and a number of other asset types. If you receive an unsolicited offer for a high-return, low-risk investment that seems too good to be true, it probably is. “Pump and Dump” Scams “Pump and dump” refers to the way a fraudster manipulates the stock market in this kind of scam. The fraudster will buy many shares of a low-priced stock in an unknown company and then circulate false information to generate interest in that company. By doing so, the fraudster can “pump up” the price of the stock before “dumping” it at a high price, leaving other investors with the low value stock they purchased on the fraudster’s bad information. Offshore Scams Offshore scams involve companies based outside the U.S. Because these companies are offshore, they are not subject to the same Securities and Exchange Commission regulations as U.S. companies. Fraudsters in these scams may use any of the other methods on this list to manipulate U.S. investors. How to Identify Common Types of Investment Fraud Fraudsters will dress up an investment scam in clever ways to make you think it is legitimate. However, no matter what it looks like on the surface, there are some warning signs to look out for: The seller promises very high returns on investment; The seller assures you that the investment is very low risk; You did not contact the seller or request information about the investment (it is unsolicited); The seller asks for personal or confidential information, like your social security number or credit card information; and You feel pressured to invest as quickly as possible by the seller. If one or more of these factors are present, you are almost certainly dealing with an investment scam. No matter how good or time-sensitive an offer may seem, always take the time to research the investment. Are You the Victim of an Investment Scam? If you’ve lost money to an investment fraud scheme, don’t be embarrassed. In our 40 years of experience, we’ve worked with investors of all levels who have lost money to a sophisticated investment scam. Our investment fraud attorneys will assess your case and help you recover as much as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.Learn More
As an investor, you may have heard that your financial advisor has a “fiduciary duty” toward you. You may also have heard that breaching this duty can result in sanctions or other penalties for your financial advisor. The relationship between you and your financial advisor is special because you are relying on them for advice about your finances. As your wealth grows, it becomes more and more important to be able to rely on this advice and trust that your financial advisor is only doing what is best for you. The law recognizes this by imposing special obligations, called fiduciary duties, on financial advisors. What Is a Fiduciary Duty? The relationship between an investor and a financial advisor is a special kind called a “fiduciary relationship.” A fiduciary is a person that acts on behalf of someone else, called the principal, to the benefit of that principal. A fiduciary duty is a legal responsibility a fiduciary owes to their principal. Depending on the context of the fiduciary relationship, this duty may take different forms. In general, however, a fiduciary must Put the client’s best interests above their own; Avoid conflicts of interests or disclose them when they arise; and Act with honesty, good faith, and loyalty toward the principal. Under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, only registered financial advisors are fiduciaries. Broker-dealers, on the other hand, are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA Rule 2111 holds brokers to the lower standard of “suitability.” The most important difference between the two is that a fiduciary is required to put their principal’s best interests above their own at all times; suitability merely requires a broker-dealer to make investment decisions that are “suitable” based on their client’s investment profile. What Constitutes a Breach of Fiduciary Duty? In its simplest form, a breach of fiduciary duty occurs when a fiduciary acts in their own interest, rather than in the best interest of their client. A financial advisor can breach this duty in a variety of ways. For example, one of an investment advisor’s primary responsibilities is properly managing their client’s investment account. Part of their fiduciary duty is managing that account with the appropriate level of professional skill. Failing to conduct proper due diligence on an investment or failing to inform their client of an important fact about an investment constitutes a breach of the advisor’s fiduciary duty. Other common examples of an investment advisor’s breach of their fiduciary duties include Using an investor’s funds for the fiduciary’s own personal gain; Engaging in or failing to disclose a conflict of interest; Taking an investment opportunity for themselves, rather than for the client; Commingling an investor’s money with the fiduciary’s own funds; or Engaging in any transaction without permission from the investor. Investors should always pay careful attention to the conduct of their financial advisor to make sure they are acting in the investor’s best interest. What Damages Are Available for a Breach of Fiduciary Duty? If you suffered investment losses because your financial advisor gave you bad advice, you may be able to recover some of those losses based on your financial advisor’s breach of their fiduciary duty. An advisor’s breach of fiduciary duty generally entitles you to damages up to the amount you lost because of the breach. However, the actual damages calculation is often more complex than that. Experienced investment fraud attorneys familiar with fiduciary duty cases can help you determine how much compensation you can receive. In some cases, you may be able to seek punitive damages from your financial advisor in addition to regular compensation. Rather than compensate the victim, punitive damages punish the wrongdoer. Accordingly, they are usually reserved only for misconduct that is particularly severe. Punitive damages are not limited by your actual losses, so they may be much higher than compensatory damages. How to Prove a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Compared to fraud or negligence, proving breach of fiduciary duty is fairly simple. To succeed on a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, you must prove: The existence of a fiduciary duty, A breach of that duty, and A connection between the breach and your losses. Additionally, your financial losses must be real; in other words, you won’t get compensation based on money you could have made. Similarly, you won’t receive any compensation for your financial advisor’s misconduct if you didn’t actually lose any money. If you’re unsure whether your financial advisor breached their fiduciary duty toward you, contact an investment fraud attorney right away. Our firm can help you assess your relationship to your financial advisor, measure your damages, and help you maximize your recovery. How to Avoid a Breach of Fiduciary Duty As an investor, it is not your responsibility to avoid breaching fiduciary duties. However, you can always protect yourself and your investments by paying close attention to your financial advisor. A vast majority of financial advisors want to do right by you, but because there are some unscrupulous advisors out there, you should always stay alert. Contact an Investment Fraud Attorney Today At the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we have been helping investors recover from financial advisors and brokerage firms for over 40 years. If you believe your financial advisor breached their fiduciary duty, we can help you too. Contact us today for a free consultation.Learn More