Gana Weinstein LLP represents investors in disputes with their investment advisors and broker-dealers. Our securities attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and represent investors nationally in all fifty states. Our goal is to recover investment losses for our clients from broker-dealers and financial advisors due to wrongful misconduct. Our typical client is the the victim of securities fraud, unsuitable investment strategies, broker lies and misrepresentations, Ponzi schemes, misappropriation or theft, or improper account management. Our investment fraud attorneys can help you determine if securities losses were the result actionable bad practices by the brokerage industry.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides investors with various avenues of relief in cases of broker misconduct. Securities fraud can take many forms and may not be easily discoverable. Some advisors place clients in high-risk, high commission products without adequately disclosing the risks of those products to their clients. Many of these investment products can drain client accounts, are often illiquid, and can decimate retirement planning. Other investment frauds are more obvious and include investing in an advisor’s private business or unregistered securities offerings.
Many of our clients trust their broker and investment advisors to maintain and grow their savings. Our clients deserve and expect reasonable advice to achieve these goals. However, after suffering from broker misconduct, many victims of securities fraud do not come forward for various reasons including blaming themselves for being fooled by a trusted advisor. The truth is you are not alone and are probably only one of many people the broker as deceived. Brokerage firms are required to exercise diligence in supervising their brokers so that their clients do not become victims of securities fraud.
We are here to help. Gana Weinstein LLP has successfully resolved thousands of securities arbitrations through full evidentiary hearing or settlement. We have collected nearly $100 million for our clients. Securities and investment fraud are unacceptable practices that our firm works to root out across the United States. Our investment fraud lawyers represent individuals throughout the United States in disputes before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, AAA, JAMS and in state and federal court.
If you believe that you may have been a victim of securities fraud, our experienced investment and securities attorneys will forensically evaluate your accounts free of charge to determine if you have a case. Our attorneys have analyzed thousands of accounts and investments and will be able to help answer your questions.
Below are some examples of the types of disputes our firm is able to handle.Securities Fraud
This category of advisor misconduct includes Ponzi schemes, misappropriation of funds (or broker theft and conversion), churning, false claims and representations, unregistered securities, and investment fund fraud.
Claims of misappropriation or investments in an advisor’s private enterprise usually involve an advisor’s deception in the handling of a customer’s funds or securities. In these cases, the broker often deceives the client into believing that some legitimate investment or fund exists when in fact the broker has either pocketed all or some of the client’s funds. Many times, a broker will have the client write a check out to the broker’s own enterprise or them personally. Other times the broker will convert funds existing in other accounts such as brokerage accounts, annuities, or other assets. The advisor will make periodic payments or provide fictitious account statements in order to provide the appearance of a legitimate investment. In some instances, the broker will enter into a promissory note with the client. These types of investments are virtually never legitimate and few if any brokerage firms would approve of such dealings.
Investment fraud involves an advisor’s recommendation of seemingly legitimate investments that later turn out to be fraudulently run or managed. In these cases, brokers are often compensated by large commissions totaling up to 7-10% in order to recommend these types of investments over traditional investment vehicles. When representing clients with this type of claim our firm has often found that the broker’s due diligence on the investment was deficient and, in some cases, non-existent. Advisors are required to investigate the purported investment opportunity of the security being proposed to determine whether or not there are any indications that either the business model is flawed, management is questionable, or for any other weakness in the handling of investor funds. Often times our cases focus on the lack of broker due diligence and independent verification of information provided by fund sponsors.
Claims of false representation or misrepresentation of securities involve allegations the broker has falsely described the characteristics and attributes of the investment being recommended. Claims can also include omissions of material information which is a claim that the client was never informed of information that was needed to be known in order to give proper assent to the investment plan. Claims involving false representations and omissions are common among the more complex products offered in the securities industry. The more complex the product the more information and education the typical investor will need in order to make an informed decision. In today’s investing world there are products so complex that mathematicians and statisticians are required in order to understand how the product will react under different market conditions. Other products come with contracts so lengthy and difficult to understand that the broker themselves do not have sufficient training to sell them. Our clients with these types of claims are often sold products based upon representations concerning only the positive attributes of an investment without a detailed or balanced conversation concerning investment risk.Suitability and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Our investment and securities attorneys represent clients when their advisors fail to make investments that match the client’s needs and goals. In the securities industry, there is a large financial incentive to sell high-risk and low-reward products to investors such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (non-traded REITs), alternative investments, oil and gas programs, private placements, variable annuities, equity-indexed annuities, variable universal life insurance, structured products, and options. Many of these products are only suitable for a narrow band of investors capable of understanding the nature of the product and its attendant risks. Some products are so risky compared to the possible gains that they should not be sold. However, there is no regulatory authority with the power to ban or reject products.
Financial Advisors often have a fiduciary duty to their clients to act in their best interests in making investment recommendations. The fiduciary duty encompasses a number of important obligations that the advisor has to their clients. Among those duties is the duty of loyalty and good faith and fair dealing. These duties require a fiduciary to disclose all potential conflicts of interests and to act in the best interests of the clients. In addition, a fiduciary must act as a reasonably prudent steward of client funds and in all matters entrusted to the agent by the client.Elder Abuse
There is a need for strong protection of the elderly investing population. Elderly investors are estimated to lose up to $2.9 billion per year from scams. Elder abuse occurs from family members, caregivers, scam artists, financial advisers, fiduciaries, and others. Usually the person is in a position of trust with the person of diminished capacity.
Brokerage firms and brokers are in the perfect position to recognize the signs elder abuse and elder fraud. Brokers can recognize diminished capacity and dementia, decreased ability to handle finances, questionable purchases or transfers, and the inability of their clients to understand or comprehend their financial assets.
Our firm handles cases of elder abuse in the financial industry. These cases vary greatly in how the victim was abused. In some cases, investment advisors use a client’s diminished capacity to misappropriate funds, sell dubious investments, or even have the advisor inherit under a will. In other cases, brokers allow third-parties access to an elderly person’s account. Once the broker allows access to the client’s assets wire transfers, powers of attorney, distributions, or checks are sent under suspicious circumstances. These third-parties can be a variety of persons including relatives, scam artists, accountants, bookkeepers, or others that have cultivated the trust of the abused person. In many cases these clients are referred to our firm by concerned relatives or third-parties who believe that the best interests of the elderly person who has been exploited.About Our Representation
Quality, Advocacy, Results. We apply these principles to all of our practice areas. Our representation aims to combine the intellect and experience of a big firm with the focus and personalized service of a small firm. We individualize our approach to litigation to each clients’ case. From the very beginning we understand the issues and concerns, weigh the options, and implement an effective and compelling case strategy. The Practice Area section of this site details all of the ways in which we can help our clients with their legal needs.
In addition to investor disputes, our firm represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of practice areas including complex commercial litigation and arbitration. No matter the type of dispute, we strive to understand our client’s needs and concerns, passionately advocate, and diligently prepare a winning trial strategy.
Our fee structure is designed to provide clients with options for effective case management. If you chose to work with our firm, we offer contingency, hourly, and hybrid fee models.
While our office is centrally located in midtown Manhattan, Gana Weinstein LLP represents investors across the nation. We invite you to call us for a free consultation and discuss your legal issues. We just may be the legal solution you need.The FINRA Arbitration Process
Our securities attorneys have successfully resolved hundreds of securities arbitrations through verdict or settlement. We represent individuals and institutions throughout the United States in disputes before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Claims brought on behalf of clients include suitability, churning, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.
Many clients ask, what is FINRA and why do I have to arbitrate my dispute through FINRA? Arbitration in general is a dispute resolution forum that serves as an alternative to traditional litigation that takes place in a court room. An arbitration proceeding is just as binding on the merits of a case as if the matter were brought in court. However, an appeal from an arbitration decision is more limited than an appeal of a judicial ruling.
FINRA runs the arbitration forum for the entire brokerage industry in the United States. FINRA provides a streamlined processes and procedures for resolving customer disputes. FINRA also sets standards of care and industry practices that its members and brokers must adhere too. Our investment attorneys can provide you with more information concerning FINRA arbitration.
Securities Attorneys | Investment Fraud Lawyers | Gana Weinstein LLP