What To Do if You Believe Your Financial Advisor is Stealing Your Money (Step by Step)

Financial advisors are highly trusted professionals who help make decisions that impact your economic future. When that trust is broken through a bad or negligent act, the investor suffers and the financial advisor must be held accountable. If you believe your financial advisor stole your money, there are several options for you to recover. For assistance, contact the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. to learn how we can help you today. Can Financial Advisors Steal Your Money? The vast majority of reputable financial advisors never take ownership of your money. Giving them direct access allows them to steal money with ease. Avoid doing so unless you’re 100% confident in the individual you’re dealing with. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. The Fiduciary Duty All financial advisors are held to a standard of care when dealing with investors. Registered financial advisors have a higher fiduciary duty to their clients under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. This is the highest legal standard of care and requires financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients, make suitable investments, and disclose relevant information to you.  Knowing whether your financial advisor is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state securities regulator is important because if the advisor breaches the fiduciary duty, you can bring a claim against the financial advisor through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is the governing organization that creates and enforces rules for advisors and their firms and assists in resolving disputes between advisors and investors.  Do You Have a Claim? If your financial advisor outright stole money from your account, this is theft. These cases involve an intentional act by your financial advisor, such as transferring money out of your account. However, your financial advisor could also be stealing from you if their actions or failure to act causes you financial loss.   Losing money through investment is not enough to bring a claim against your financial advisor. Remember, there is no guarantee of return when investing. Even if your financial advisor made the recommendation, under federal securities law and FINRA regulations, you cannot hold your advisor liable simply because they lost you money. You need a viable cause of action, such as a breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, or malpractice. Types of Claims Against Your Financial Advisor  Understanding securities law and FINRA regulations are crucial to know whether you have a valid claim against your financial advisor. The investment loss recovery attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have over 40 years of experience in securities and investment law. They have helped countless investors recover their financial losses caused by bad or negligent acts by their financial advisors. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have handled hundreds of cases involving many types of misconduct by financial advisors. Negligence In a negligence claim, you do not need to show that the financial advisor intentionally acted in a harmful way, but rather that the advisor failed to do something they had an obligation to do and caused the economic loss. For example, your advisor may have made an unsuitable investment by failing to take into consideration your risk tolerance. If you lost money based on the recommended investment, it may be appropriate to file a claim for negligence against your financial advisor.  Breach of Fiduciary Duty A financial advisor who breaches his fiduciary duty has failed to meet the required standard of care. You may have a valid claim for breach of fiduciary duty if your advisor failed to execute your stated objectives or did not disclose information about a product. Other examples of breaching the fiduciary duty include: Unauthorized trading, Unsuitable investments,  Undiversified portfolio, and  Account churning.  In each of these instances, the financial advisor did not act in your best interest.  Failure to Supervise A brokerage firm is responsible for supervising the actions of its financial advisors and any other employees. If the firm fails to do this, it can be held liable for your financial losses.  What You Can Do There are several stages of resolution to recover your financial losses. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to resolve it and recover without any formal proceedings, or you may have to litigate. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have helped investors in all stages and have successfully recovered over $140 million in losses for our clients.  Review Customer Agreement If you believe your financial advisor stole money from you, either directly or indirectly through losses in your account, you should first review your customer agreement. Understand what sort of authority you gave your financial advisor and if there is a mandatory arbitration clause. This clause is common in most customer agreements with brokerage firms. These clauses often state that you waive your right to file a lawsuit against your advisor and agree to engage in a FINRA arbitration proceeding instead.  Informal Dispute Resolution Claims against financial advisors are incredibly complex legal matters. There are informal options available, however. Even at this stage, you should contact an investor loss recovery attorney for assistance. FINRA, which regulates the investment industry, instructs investors to first pursue informal dispute resolutions before filing a claim against their financial advisor.  Depending on the severity of the financial advisor’s misconduct, you may be able to resolve the matter directly with your advisor or the firm’s compliance department. If this is not suitable or you fail to come to a resolution, the next stage is participating in voluntary, non-binding mediation.  FINRA Mediation Mediation is a voluntary process that involves a neutral third party who assists in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. FINRA offers a forum for advisors and investors to mediate. This option is faster and less expensive than arbitration and litigation. Four out of five cases mediated by FINRA are resolved. If you fail to reach a satisfactory solution through mediation, you still have...

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How to Sue a Financial Advisor Over Investment Losses

If you have lost a significant amount of money in your investment portfolios you may be asking yourself can you sue your financial advisor to help recover your losses. Can I Sue My Financial Advisor? Yes, you can sue your financial advisor. If you lost money on investments due to either a financial advisor’s advice or their failure to comply with FINRA’s rules & regulations, you have the right to file an arbitration claim to seek financial compensation. Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. People hire financial advisors and brokers to grow and protect their money. Financial advisors have advanced education and training, which should provide their clients with valuable insight and accurate financial advice. Individual investors expect that their advisors will not defraud or harm them in any other way. Market volatility is difficult to predict with any certainty. Markets dip and rebound over time. A financial advisor must guide you through those difficult times and offer you sound investment advice to minimize or avoid losses.  Some investments are riskier than others. Brokers and financial advisors need to understand their clients’ risk tolerance, as well as their clients’ investment needs. Losses could ruin years of hard work and financial planning.  Market volatility is one thing—negligence, deception, and fraud are something else entirely. Therefore, you should review your portfolio closely to see if you are a victim of misconduct.

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Can an Oil Investment Fraud Lawyer Help Me Recover Losses?

Are You Dealing with Oil & Gas Investment Fraud? The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are investigating claims against brokerage firms that sold either oil or gas stocks and other related products. Investments in the oil and gas sector have been very popular over the last few years, and depending upon when your financial advisor recommended you purchase and/or sell the investments, you may have suffered catastrophic losses.  These losses may have been the result of your financial advisors misrepresentations, omissions and misleading statements, failure to do his/her due diligence investigation, and/or unsuitable recommendations. If you believe you are dealing with oil investment fraud, now is the time to consider hiring an experienced investment fraud lawyer. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. help oil and gas investors review their oil-related investments to determine if they have been the victim of oil investment fraud. Investors who have suffered large losses may be able recover some of their losses through FINRA arbitration against oil brokerage firms which improperly sold oil or oil futures contracts while withholding material information on the risks of investing in oil. Give us a call at 800-732-2889 or contact us online. Let’s discuss your case and see what we can do to help get you the compensation you deserve. What is Considered Oil & Gas Investment Fraud? Oil and gas investments take many different forms, including oil and gas stocks, oil and gas drilling programs, oil and gas limited partnerships, oil futures contracts, oil or gas royalty interests in wells which produce oil through a “fee title” arrangement. Fraudulent oil investment activity may fall into one of two categories: fraud by omission or fraud by commission. Fraud by omission occurs when the seller fails to disclose material information, while oil investment fraud by commission occurs when the seller provides false information to oil investors. Both forms of oil and gas investment fraud can occur at any point during oil or gas investments, including before an oil investor purchases oil stock; while oil stock is held; on the date of purchase; or after oil stocks are sold. The oil and gas industry is heavily regulated, and oil investments are subject to many federal securities laws. If oil brokerage firms fail to follow the law, oil investors may be able to recover damages for oil investment fraud by FINRA arbitration. This means that you only need help finding oil investment fraud cases where brokers failed to comply with federal securities laws or breached their fiduciary duty to oil investors. Investors should always consider oil and gas investments to be high risk due to the volatility in oil prices. Some oil stock brokers have been accused of selling oil stocks at inflated oil prices based on false information, while others may have failed to inform investors of risks associated with a particular oil or gas company. If a brokerage firm did not disclose the risks or oil prices to an oil and gas investor prior to a sale, the oil investment fraud lawyer at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. can help investors recover losses from oil-related investments through FINRA arbitration. Some Oil & Gas Investment Fraud Allegations Include: – Misrepresentation of oil company facts made to oil and gas investors. – Failure to disclose oil stock risks prior to oil & gas investments. – Misleading oil companies by encouraging oil companies to change accounting methods in order to show higher oil reserves than actually exist. Give us a call at 800-732-2889 or contact The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. oil investment fraud law firm online to speak with oil investment fraud attorney Robert Wayne Pearce today about oil and gas stock investments, oil and gas limited partnerships, oil futures contracts and oil and gas drilling programs. Recovering Oil & Gas Investment Losses Through FINRA Arbitration If oil brokerage firms failed to disclose oil stock risks or oil prices prior to oil & gas investments, oil and gas investors may be able to recover oil-related losses by FINRA arbitration. FINRA, the acronym for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is a non-governmental regulatory association which governs disputes between investors and brokerage firms, including disputes on oil investment fraud allegations. You can learn more about the FINRA arbitration process here. File a Claim with FINRA The formal arbitration process for oil and gas, oil stock fraud cases begins with the filing of a statement of claim by you or your investment fraud attorney. The investor who files the FINRA claim against the brokerage firm is referred to as the “Claimant” in the FINRA arbitration proceedings. If you are an investor, the state of claim is the most important document in your case. This document describes what happened to cause you to lose capital in your oil & gas investment and why you or your FINRA arbitration attorney believes that you are entitled to win a monetary award or relief against the brokerage firm. IMPORTANT: It’s critical that you and/or your attorneys write a clear, concise, accurate, and honest description of what happened as well as a strong case in favor of winning the arbitration. You can learn more about how to file a FINRA complaint and the FINRA complaint process here. The oil fraud attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are experienced FINRA arbitration lawyers who have a thorough understanding of the arbitration process. We understand what’s at risk in securities, commodities, and investment law issues, and we fight to obtain the best possible outcome every time. Past Investor Recoveries The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., has helped recover millions of dollars in valuable compensation for defrauded investors. Below are some notable victories in past investor recoveries.  $21,041,285 FEDERAL COURT FINAL JUDGMENT In 2010, Robert Pearce won a case in federal court for $21,041,285. The final judgment was entered against the defendant for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and civil theft pursuant to Florida Statutes Sections 812.014 and 772.11. $7,840,000 FINRA ARBITRATION SETTLEMENT...

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Announcing 2021 Winner – Robert Wayne Pearce Investor Fraud Awareness Scholarship

As promised, today we are announcing the 2021 winners of the Robert Wayne Pearce Investor Fraud Awareness Scholarship. Over the course of the year, we received applications from over 30 students from schools around the country who all wrote quality essays about the dangers of investment fraud and how we can protect ourselves. It was a difficult decision to select just one student winner and so, in addition to the grand prize of $2,500, we have selected 5 other students who are being awarded consolation prizes of $100 each for their efforts and sharing their thoughts on investment fraud and how to protect ourselves. The winner of the $2500 scholarship is Karen Simpson, a student at Palm Beach State College, who wrote, among other things: Investment fraud is a very real and serious problem that happens more than you may realize. But it doesn’t have to scare you away from investing your money in fear of losing it. Learning about the different types of investment fraud and how to protect yourself from fraud, before you decide to invest, is extremely important! You could not only experience financial loss but suffer compromised identity, damaged credit, and emotional issues including rage, frustration, and fear. *** Knowledge is power, and so I also recommend you educate yourself by learning about general nature, mechanics and risks of different types of investments before you start investing. I find an excellent starting point to educate myself is Investopedia, www.investopedia.com. You can also find specific financial information, including, annual reports, prospectuses and offering circulars about companies recommended to compare what you were told about a recommended investment by searching the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission Edgar website for information, www.sec.gov/edgar/search-and-access.  *** The easiest way to protect yourself is to use common sense, look for the red flags and ask questions. Follow a strict check list of do’s and do nots, if it sounds too good to be true, in most cases, it is. If you notice any red flags about an investment, avoid it, as well as the person making the recommendation. That “High Guaranteed Returns” pitch they love to give, don’t believe it. Every investment carries some degree of risk, which is generally reflected in the rate of return you are promised. The higher the return, the higher the risk! The winners of the $100 consolation prizes are as follows: India Bartram of the University of Syracuse, Syracuse, New York Jacob Paul of Villanova University –Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania  Kylie Fay of the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama Natalia Capella of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee Rafael Whalen of John Paul The Great Catholic School, Escondido, California We thank all of the other applicants for their efforts, as well, and announce that the next scholarship to be awarded December 15, 2022 will be given to the student who writes the most thoughtful essay about whether they believe the Robinhood Markets, Inc. (“Robinhood”) Investment App is a good tool for novice investors or just game to take advantage of them and make money for the stock brokerage firm. We are interested in learning whether you think Robinhood platform is living up to the legend of Robinhood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor!

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How to File a SEC Complaint or Report Fraud Against a Broker

Your investments are important—that’s why so many individuals hire investment brokers and financial advisors to manage their investment accounts.  Having a qualified broker can be a great advantage to the growth of your investments. Unfortunately, however, investment and securities fraud remains a common and serious issue in the United States each year. So what do you do if you are a victim of investment fraud at the hands of your broker?  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a mission of protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitating capital formation. In furtherance of this goal, the SEC allows individual investors to file complaints against their broker or their broker’s firm. If your broker committed negligence or broker fraud, you may be entitled to file a complaint and recover your losses. Violations of securities law can be reported to the SEC, which will conduct a comprehensive investigation.  Looking for information on how to file an SEC complaint against a broker? Look no further than the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Not only can our attorneys help you report your broker, but we can also help you recover your investment losses.  Filing a complaint against your broker with the SEC can be a great way to hold them accountable and put future investors on notice of their wrongdoing. However, doing so doesn’t necessarily help you get your money back. Contacting an attorney, however, can be the first step toward actually recovering your personal investment losses that you suffered at the hands of your broker.  Stockbroker fraud attorney Robert Wayne Pearce has over 40 years of experience handling complex securities, commodities, and investment arbitration and litigation cases. He has helped countless clients through their investment-related disputes, and he will fight to do the same for you. Please don’t hesitate to send us an online message or call (800) 732-2889 today for assistance. Why Would I File a Complaint? There are numerous reasons you may need to file a complaint with the SEC against your broker. Common examples of wrongful actions by a broker or brokerage firm include: Offering fraudulent or unregistered securities;  Misappropriating client funds; Insider trading; Making false or misleading statements; and Failing to file required reports with the SEC. Of course, not all actions by a broker constitute fraud for which you can file a complaint with the SEC. Remember, the stock market is inherently volatile, so the fact that you lost money does not necessarily mean your broker took any wrongful actions.  An experienced investment fraud attorney can help you determine whether filing a complaint with the SEC against a broker might be warranted. Filing a Complaint with the SEC Against a Broker: What You Need to Know If you suffer financial losses due to the negligence or misconduct of a broker or brokerage firm, filing a complaint with the SEC against the broker can be an important step to take.  Not only can this help prevent future investors from being subject to the same fraudulent and predatory actions, but it may also provide you with an avenue to recover your losses. How to File a Complaint Against a Broker The first step in reporting your broker for fraud or misconduct is to file your formal complaint with the SEC.  The SEC provides an opportunity for members of the public at large to submit broker complaints electronically using the SEC’s Investor Complaint Form.  What to Include in Your Complaint The Investor Complaint Form may appear simple to complete. However, there is more to it than you might think.  The form requires basic information such as: Your name and address; Basic information about your broker; The type of investment involved; A brief description of the events giving rise to your complaint; and Any actions you may have already to resolve your complaint against your broker, such as mediation, arbitration, or court action. The complaint form can play a vital role in whether the SEC allows your case to move forward. Thus, the more information you are able to provide, the better equipped the SEC will be to investigate your complaint. An experienced investment fraud attorney can be a great benefit to you as you complete your Investor Complaint Form and move forward in the process.  What Happens After Submitting My Complaint to the SEC After the SEC receives your complaint, they will thoroughly investigate your claim and all relevant evidence.  Central to the process is confidentiality. The SEC conducts its investigations in a manner that will protect the parties and preserve the integrity of the complaint process.  Then, depending on the allegations asserted in your form, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate SEC office. The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy handles basic investor questions regarding securities law and complaints related to financial professionals. These SEC officers will also advise complainants of possible remedies and, in some cases, will intervene on your behalf and reach out to brokers or other financial advisors concerning the issues raised in your complaint. This office may also refer your complaint to another division of the SEC for resolution. Enforcement Division The Division of Enforcement, on the other hand, employs attorneys to review information and tips regarding securities law violations.  Officers in this office investigate the claims in their entirety, retrieving whatever evidence may be necessary. Again, it is important to note that the investigations conducted by the SEC are typically confidential unless made a matter of public record.  After completing a thorough investigation, the Enforcement Division may recommend that the SEC bring civil actions in federal court or before an administrative law judge to prosecute securities law violations.  Why Hire an Investment Loss Attorney to Assist with Complaints Against Your Broker? Reporting the fraudulent misconduct of a broker to the SEC is important. However, filing an SEC complaint is not the only way to hold a broker or brokerage firm accountable.  In fact, in some cases, filing an SEC complaint...

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How to Respond to a CFTC Subpoena

Receiving a subpoena from the CFTC (U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission) is often met with panic by anybody who receives one. The recipient will usually have no advanced notice of the subpoena, other than a letter from the CFTC stating that he or she should produce documents related to a specific time period. The recipient may be scared of what will happen if they do not comply with the subpoena, but in fact there are several ways to proceed after receiving a CFTC subpoena. The first thing to note is that all subpoenas issued by the CFTC are civil subpoenas. In other words, they are issued to an individual or business that may or may not be accused of a violation of the Commodity Exchange Act or any CFTC rules and regulations in a civil proceeding. But aware of the fact that the CFTC can share whatever documents or information it gathers with criminal prosecutors and other agencies. IMPORTANT: The CFTC will not inform you whether you are a target, subject, or witness. In fact, the CFTC attorneys and investigators will tell you nothing about the investigation! This is why the first thing you should do if you receive a subpoena from the CFTC is contact an experienced CFTC defense attorney. A lawyer can help you decide how you are going to respond to the subpoena. Although there are several ways to proceed, a lawyer can recommend the best course of action based on your specific circumstances and reduce your chances of making a procedural misstep that will result in a more aggressive investigation by the CFTC or worse. CFTC Enforcement Actions If you do not produce the documents, or if you fail to comply in another way outlined by the subpoena, then you could be facing an enforcement action. The usual course of an enforcement action is for the CFTC prosecuting attorneys to file a complaint with the federal district court where your business is located. What happens next could include the filing of a complaint with the federal district court where you or your business is located. The filing will contain a proposed order for the court to enter. The order will direct you to produce specific documents and information, and inform you if you do not comply with the order you may be held in contempt of court and put in jail until you comply. If you receive a subpoena from the CFTC, be sure to contact an experienced lawyer right away! CFTC’s Information Gathering Process As a general matter, it is important to know that the CFTC has very broad powers when it comes to investigating suspected violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. Specifically, the CFTC can issue subpoenas to a person or entity for any records related to its investigation. The compelled production must be made within the date stated on the subpoena. The CFTC can be quite aggressive in investigating suspected violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. This investigation can include issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony as noted, as well as using the depositions of those who appear or testify before them in court. They may also issue subpoena duces tecum orders to require production of books, records, papers and other data that they believe might be relevant to their investigation. This means that anybody could be served with a subpoena if the CFTC believes that you have relevant information in your possession. The CFTC has very broad powers when it comes to enforcing subpoenas issued by them. For instance, they can issue a civil investigative demand to require an individual or entity produce for inspection and copying all records relating to any transactions or activities related to any agreements, contracts, or transactions in any commodity. The CFTC can also issue an administrative subpoena to require that someone appear before them to testify under oath about the production of documents and records. Do not assume that because you are only served with a subpoena for documents, that this is all you have to worry about. You may be subject to a deposition or some other form of testimony at some point during the investigation. It is important to know that, as an individual or entity being investigated by the CFTC , you have a right to counsel present at any hearings on enforcement matters. Steps to Take When Receiving a CFTC Subpoena When you receive an administrative subpoena issued by the CFTC, it is important to take certain steps that can greatly reduce your risk. These include: Preserve all documents and gather supporting evidence. All staff that need to know must be notified (in-house counsel and certain officers) and a litigation hold must be issued. Consult with an experienced CFTC defense lawyer immediately. Examine any potential legal responsibility under the relevant laws and regulations. The Formal Order of Investigation should be obtained by your attorney. If your attorney thinks it’s necessary, he or she may want to speak with the CFTC’s Staff about limiting the subpoena’s scope where appropriate. If you’re not sure whether an internal investigation is required, consult with your lawyer. Review all collected documents for responsiveness, privilege and confidentiality Consider whether any particular employee requires independent legal counsel if you are unsure. Your CFTC defense lawyer can help you with this. Determine whether there are any objections to the scope or burden of the subpoena, as well as whether to fight the subpoena (by motion to quash) or comply. If the subpoena recipient is a corporation, see if public disclosure is required. Given the complexity and number of necessary action steps involved with responding to a CFTC subpoena, individuals and firms without experienced legal representation are often at a severe disadvantage. Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Attorney that Can Handle Your CFTC Issues The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have successfully defended clients involved in CFTC subpoenas, informal inquiries, formal investigations and enforcement actions since the mid-1980s. We have faced the CFTC in its many sweeps of Commodities Option brokerages, Off-Shore FOREX companies,...

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