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Russell L. Forkey

Elder and Retirement Financial Abuse - How To Spot Investment Fraud - South Florida FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida Elder and Retirement Financial Abuse FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney:

Elder and retirees should think twice about investing if you spot any of these red flags of investment fraud:

  • Limited history of posts. Fraudsters can set up new accounts specifically designed to carry out their scam while concealing their true identities. Be skeptical of information from social media accounts that lack a history of prior postings or sending messages.
  • Pressure to buy or sell RIGHT NOW. Take the time to research the stock before you invest. Be skeptical of messages urging you to buy a hot stock before you "miss out" or to sell shares of a stock you own before the price goes down after negative news is announced. Be especially wary if the promoter claims the recommendation is based on "inside" or confidential information.
  • Unsolicited investment information or offers. Fraudsters may look for victims on social media sites, chat rooms, and bulletin boards. Exercise extreme caution regarding information provided in new posts on your wall, tweets, direct messages, e-mails, or other communications that solicit an investment or provide information about a particular stock if you do not personally know the sender (even if the sender appears connected to someone you know).
  • Unlicensed sellers. Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and their firms who offer and sell investments to be licensed or registered. Many fraudulent investment schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms. Check license and registration status by searching the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)'s BrokerCheck website.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Franklin Speight and International Stock Transfer Inc. - South Palm Beach County, Florida Securities Fraud Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

South Palm Beach County, Florida Securities and Transfer Agent Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation and Arbitration Attorney:

Securities and Exchange Commission v. International Stock Transfer Inc and Cecil Frederick Speight, Civil Action No. 14-cv-4435 (ADS) (E.D.N.Y.)

SEC Charges Florida-Based Transfer Agent and Owner with Scheming Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged a Florida-based transfer agent and its owner with defrauding investors by using aggressive boiler room tactics to peddle worthless securities with promises of high returns or discounted prices.

Transfer agents are typically used by publicly-traded companies to keep track of the individuals and entities that own their stocks and bonds. The SEC alleges that Cecil Franklin Speight, whose firm International Stock Transfer Inc. (IST) was a registered transfer agent, abused the transfer agent function by creating and issuing fake securities certificates to both U.S. and international investors. While investors collectively sent in millions of dollars thinking they were purchasing high-yield investments and discounted stock, they ended up receiving counterfeit certificates that Speight and IST fooled them into thinking were legitimate.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York announced Speight has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge.

Speight and IST agreed to settle the SEC's charges. Speight will be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company and from participating in any penny stock offering. The court will determine monetary sanctions at a later date.

According to the SEC's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Speight's scheme included multiple securities, including the issuance of fake foreign bond certificates and stock certificates for a publicly-traded microcap company with no connection to IST. To bolster the appearance of the safety of the investments and conceal from investors how their money was really being spent, Speight enlisted two attorneys to receive investment funds into their own bank accounts. From there, the money was transferred to IST. Instead of making its way to any issuers, however, IST and Speight spent investors' money almost as quickly as it came in. They used it to pay Speight's personal expenses, and in Ponzi scheme fashion new investor money was used to fund interest payments to prior foreign bond investors. In all, Speight and IST stole more than $3.3 million from at least 70 investors.

The SEC's complaint charges Speight and IST with violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws, including Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. The complaint charges IST with violating the transfer agent books and records requirements of Section 17(a)(3) of the Exchange Act, and Speight with aiding and abetting such violations. Speight and IST have consented to the entry of judgments permanently enjoining them from future securities law violations and requiring them to pay disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest and penalties as determined by the court, which must approve the settlement.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Christopher Plummer, Lex Cowsert and CytoGenix, Inc. - Microcap and Penny Stock Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

Boca Raton, Westin, Coral Springs, Plantation, Davie and Fort Lauderdale, Florida Microcap and Penny Stock Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation, Arbitration and Elder Abuse Attorney:

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Christopher Plummer, Lex M. Cowsert, and CytoGenix, Inc., Civil Action No. 14-CV-5441 (LTS)

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged a serial con artist and a penny stock company CEO with misleading investors in a supposed vaccine development company by issuing false press releases portraying it as a successful venture when it was in fact a failing enterprise.

The SEC alleges that Christopher Plummer teamed up with the CEO of CytoGenix, Lex M. Cowsert, to defraud investors with extravagant claims about the microcap company's revenue and other benefits flowing from a "shared revenue agreement" with Franklin Power & Light, an electricity provider supposedly operated by Plummer. However, Plummer's entity was a complete sham, CytoGenix had actually lost all of its vaccine patents and other intellectual property in a lawsuit, and Plummer and Cowsert stole proceeds of CytoGenix stock offerings that they told investors would be used for energy production projects and other corporate purposes.

According to the SEC's complaint filed against CytoGenix, Cowsert, and Plummer in federal district court in Manhattan, Plummer also spearheaded a separate scheme around the same time in 2010 involving another microcap company that similarly issued a rapid-fire series of press releases with bogus information. Those press releases touted a purported partnership with Plummer's phony power company to own and operate solar energy farms across the country. In reality, the microcap issuer was in dire financial straits and lacked the financial or logistical capability to commercially produce a product of any kind let alone break ground on energy farms. The company continues to have no operations, customers, or revenues.

Trading in CytoGenix and the other microcap stock was suspended by the SEC as part of a mass trading suspension in 2011. The two companies are now either dormant or defunct. Plummer is currently serving a multi-year federal prison term for an unrelated fraud, and he also has two prior convictions for fraud offenses.

According to the SEC's complaint, CytoGenix was in dire financial straits when Plummer approached Cowsert and proposed a partnership with the sham company he created, Franklin Power & Light. Cowsert agreed and began issuing a series of false press releases, including one touting the formation of a new CytoGenix subsidiary to operate as a joint venture with Plummer's company to develop "biologically-based" technologies for energy production in untapped retail electrical markets. Cowsert had no basis for believing that Plummer's company had the means to generate the revenue needed to fund such energy production technologies, yet he nonetheless prepared and authorized the CytoGenix press releases with the materially false and misleading information about Franklin Power & Light that Plummer supplied.

The SEC's complaint further alleges that other CytoGenix press releases unrelated to the partnership with Plummer touted outdated test results and a non-existent new laboratory for testing the vaccine products that CytoGenix claimed to be developing. These materially false and misleading statements were made despite CytoGenix having lost its assets in litigation with two former employees, including the rights to various vaccine patents and other intellectual property featured in press releases. These CytoGenix press releases failed to disclose the loss of those critical assets.

According to the SEC's complaint, Cowsert and Plummer further defrauded CytoGenix shareholders by misappropriating the proceeds of purported private offerings. Cowsert obtained approximately $91,000 in funds directly from CytoGenix investors by falsely telling them that they were investing in a private placement of CytoGenix stock, but no shares were ever issued to the investors. Cowsert asked the investors to make their checks payable to him personally, deposited the checks into his personal bank account, and used the funds to pay personal expenses. Meanwhile, Plummer defrauded a shareholder out of more than 6.5 million free trading shares of CytoGenix stock.

The SEC's complaint charges Plummer, Cowsert, and CytoGenix with violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Plummer is additionally charged with violating Section 20(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions along with disgorgement, prejudgment interest, financial penalties, and orders barring Plummer and Cowsert from acting as officers or directors of a public company and from participating in a penny stock offering.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Microcap and Penny Stock Fraud - South Florida Securities Fraud and Misrepresentation FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lantana, West Palm Beach and Stuart, Florida Microcap and Penny Stock Fraud and Misrepresentation Litigation, FINRA Arbitration and Elder Abuse Attorney:

SEC Announces Charges in Scheme to Secretly Enable Lawbreakers to Run Microcap Company

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced fraud charges against four individuals and a microcap company for concealing from investors that two lawbreakers ran the company.

According to the SEC's orders instituting administrative proceedings, the mission of Natural Blue Resources Inc. was to create, acquire, or otherwise invest in environmentally-friendly companies, including an initiative to locate, purify, and sell water recovered from underground aquifers in New Mexico and other areas with depleting water resources. What investors didn't know was that two individuals with prior law violations - James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi - secretly controlled the operational and management decisions of Natural Blue while calling themselves outside "consultants." This arrangement enabled them to be de facto officers of Natural Blue and personally profit from the company without disclosing their past brushes with the law to investors. Cohen, who lives in Windermere, Fla., was previously incarcerated for financial fraud. Corazzi, who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., was previously charged with violating federal securities laws and permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company.

The SEC has suspended trading in Natural Blue stock. The other two individuals charged in the case are Toney Anaya and Erik Perry, who were former chief executive officers at Natural Blue. The SEC's orders find that they misled investors by failing to disclose that Cohen and Corazzi were running the company in spite of their criminal or disciplinary histories.

Anaya, who is a former New Mexico governor and attorney general, and Perry each agreed to settle the charges. Anaya has cooperated extensively with the SEC's investigation.

According to the SEC's orders, Cohen and Corazzi created Natural Blue so they and other entities they controlled could receive money and stock from the company and profit by hundreds of thousands of dollars. While Natural Blue was ostensibly led by Anaya and subsequently Perry, management decisions made by Cohen and Corazzi resulted in no revenues or viable business operations for the company. Anaya and Perry each deferred to Cohen and Corazzi in derogation of their responsibilities. Natural Blue and Perry also made various material misrepresentations about the company, its contracts, and its anticipated revenue in a February 2011 press release as well as on a website and verbally to investors.

Anaya, who served as Natural Blue's CEO from August 2009 to January 2011, has signed a cooperation agreement with the SEC in which he has consented to the entry of a cease-and-desist order without admitting or denying the charges. He will be barred from participating in any offering of a penny stock for at least five years. Any financial penalties will be determined at a later date.

Perry, who replaced Anaya and served as CEO until June 2011, agreed to settle the case by consenting to the entry of a cease-and-desist order without admitting or denying the charges. Perry, who previously resided in Massachusetts and currently lives in Bulgaria, agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty and be permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company and from participating in any offerings of penny stock.

The SEC's orders charge Natural Blue, Cohen, and Corazzi with violations of Section 17(a)(1) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933 as well as Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and 10b-5(c). The orders also charge Natural Blue with violations of Section 17(a)(2) for misrepresentations made to investors in press releases and public filings, and violations of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act and Rules 15d-1 and 15d-13 by failing to make required SEC filings.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Bernard H. Butts Jr. - South Florida Prime Bank Investment and Program Trading Scheme Litigation, FINRA Arbitration and Elder Abuse Attorney

Miami, Hollywood, Dania, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and Lighthouse Point, Florida Prime Bank Investment and Program Trading Scheme Litigation, FINRA Arbitration and Elder Abuse Attorney:

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Bernard H. Butts, Jr., Fotios Geivelis, Jr., also known as Frank Anastasio, Worldwide Funding III Limited LLC, Douglas J. Anisky, Sidney Banner, Express Commercial Capital LLC, James Baggs (Defendants), Bernard H. Butts, Jr. PA, Butts Holding Corporation, Margaret A. Hering, Global Worldwide Funding Ventures, Inc., and PW Consulting Group LLC (Relief Defendants), Civil Action No. 13-23115-CIV-MARTINEZ-MCALILEY (Southern District of Florida)

Florida-Based Attorney Ordered to Pay Nearly $4 Million in Court Judgment of Prime Bank Investment Scheme Case

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that a federal judge has ordered a Miami-based attorney to pay nearly $4 million in a consent judgment of an SEC case against him for orchestrating a prime bank investment scheme. The money will be returned to harmed investors.

Bernard H. Butts Jr. was charged by the SEC in September 2013 for acting as an escrow agent for a supposed international trading program that raised approximately $3.5 million from investors. However, the program didn't really exist, and Butts instead doled out investor funds to enrich himself and others. The SEC obtained an emergency order in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to freeze the assets of Butts and his companies Bernard H. Butts Jr. PA and Butts Holding Corporation before investor proceeds could be fully dissipated.

The Honorable Jose E. Martinez issued an order dated July 10, 2014, requiring Butts and his companies to pay $1,691,608 in disgorgement and $96,232.99 in prejudgment interest as well as a penalty of $2,059,284.19. Butts and his wife Margaret A. Hering also must pay an additional $100,000 in disgorgement and $4,570.82 in prejudgment interest.

The SEC will return the money to investors through a Fair Fund. More than $1.9 million already has been deposited from accounts belonging to Butts and his companies into the registry of the court following the asset freeze instituted at the SEC's request last year. And the court's order requires the transfer to the court of more than $2 million separately seized by the U.S. Secret Service from accounts belonging to Butts and his companies. The SEC will then submit a plan to the court for distribution of these collected funds back to investors.

Butts has consented to be barred from the securities industry or offering penny stock, and agreed to be suspended from practicing as an attorney on behalf of any entity regulated by the SEC.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

South Florida - Certified Public Accountant Independence and Negligence Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Delary Beach, Boynton Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach Certified Public Accountant and Public Accountant Independence and Negligence Litigation and Arbitration Attorney:

SEC Charges Ernst & Young With Violating Auditor Independence Rules in Lobbying Activities

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged Ernst & Young LLP with violations of auditor independence rules that require firms to maintain their objectivity and impartiality with clients.

Ernst & Young agreed to pay more than $4 million to settle the charges.

The SEC's order instituting a settled administrative proceeding finds that an Ernst & Young subsidiary lobbied congressional staff on behalf of two audit clients. Such lobbying activities were impermissible under the SEC's auditor independence rules because they put the firm in the position of being an advocate for those audit clients. Despite providing the prohibited legislative advisory services on behalf of the clients, Ernst & Young repeatedly represented that it was "independent" in audit reports issued on the clients' financial statements.

According to the SEC's order, Ernst & Young's subsidiary Washington Council EY (WCEY) impaired the firm's independence in several lobbying actions:

  • WCEY sent letters signed by a senior executive of an Ernst & Young audit client to congressional staff, urging passage of certain legislation.
  • WCEY asked congressional staff to insert language into a bill that was favorable to the business interests of an Ernst & Young audit client.
  • WCEY met with congressional staff in order to defeat legislation detrimental to the business interests of an Ernst & Young audit client.
  • WCEY asked third parties to approach a U.S. senator in order to seek support for a legislative amendment sought by an Ernst & Young audit client.
  • WCEY marked up a draft of a bill by inserting an Ernst & Young audit client's language and sending it to congressional staff.

According to the SEC's order, Ernst & Young had issued a written independence policy intended to provide guidance on the provision of legislative advisory services to audit clients. However, Ernst & Young did not provide WCEY with formal, in-person training specifically tailored to the policy.

The SEC's order finds that Ernst & Young committed violations of Rule 2-02(b)(1) of Regulation S-X; caused violations of Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 13a-1; and engaged in improper professional conduct pursuant to Exchange Act Section 4C(a)(2) and Rule 102(e)(1)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice. The SEC's order requires Ernst & Young to cease and desist from violating the auditor independence rules and from causing violations of the corporate periodic reporting provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC also censured Ernst & Young and ordered payment of $4.07 million in monetary sanctions, including disgorgement of $1.24 million, prejudgment interest of $351,925.98, and a penalty of $2.48 million. The SEC took into consideration the remedial acts undertaken by Ernst & Young and its cooperation with SEC staff during the investigation. For example, Ernst & Young voluntarily issued new guidance in June 2012 restricting such legislative advisory services. The firm issued similar final guidance in May 2013.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

FAQ's Relating to a Brokerage Account Transfer - Boca Raton, Florida Broker/Dealer FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida Broker/Dealer FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney:

FAQ's You Should Consider Asking Before You Initiate Your Account Transfer:

Discussing the transfer process with your new firm is the best way to become familiar with the account transfer process. If the answers to your questions are not clear, ask the new firm for a written response. You should ask questions, such as:

  • Can you explain the transfer process to me?
  • Can you tell me what fees I should expect to pay (including transfer fees and any other fees associated with the account (e.g. annual fees, brokerage commissions)?
  • What documents or information do I need to transfer my account to your firm?
  • What do I need to do to start the transfer process and what should I expect after that?
  • What is the anticipated length of the transfer process given the specific type of account (such as cash, margin, IRA, custodial) and the assets held (such as stocks, bonds, options, limited partnership interests)?
  • Can you identify any issues that may cause a delay during the account transfer process?
  • How and when will you inform me that the transfer process is complete?
  • Does your firm have any specific policies or constraints that might impact the account transfer? For example, if you have a margin account, ask if the new firm will accept a margin account and, if so, what its minimum requirements are. In short, make sure the new firm is a good fit for you as a customer before you attempt to transfer your account.
  • Are there any restrictions on transactions I can execute during the transfer process? For example, buying and selling securities during the account transfer process can complicate and delay the transfer.
  • Can you identify any securities or assets in my account that may not transfer and how they will be handled? Before initiating the transfer process, ask your new firm which assets in your account may not transfer.

 These securities may include:

  • securities sold exclusively by your old firm;
  • mutual funds or money market funds not available at the new firm, typically because the new firm does not maintain a relationship or arrangement with the fund necessary to hold the asset;
  • limited partnerships that are private placements, typically because the asset is held at the issuer, not the broker or investment adviser who sold it to the customer;
  • fractional shares of securities; and
  • bankrupt securities.

You will need to make an informed decision regarding these non-transferable assets.

  • You may be able to simply sell the non-transferable asset and transfer the cash proceeds, but you should consult your tax adviser first because selling the asset may affect your taxes. Also, before selling a mutual fund and buying a similar fund at your new firm, find out the fees that will be charged for the transactions by the old and new firms.
  • If you choose to leave the non-transferable assets at the old firm in an inactive account, ask whether a fee will be charged.
  • You may be able to take physical delivery of assets directly from your old firm. However, this may not be a wise choice. Taking possession of a physical security poses risks, such as the security being lost or stolen. Lost or stolen securities require significant time and money to replace. Also, it usually takes longer to sell a physical security than one your broker or investment adviser already holds electronically.

If you own some of these non-transferable securities, it may take longer to complete a transfer while you decide how to handle them. Your old firm is required to transfer whatever securities or assets it can through ACATS and ask you what you would like to do with the others.

Please keep in mind that this information is being provided for educational purposes only.  It is not designed to be complete in all material respects.  Thus, it should not be relied upon as legal or investment advice.

Contact Us:

With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Gilford Securities Incorporated - South Florida False or Negligently Prepared Research Reports FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

Miami, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida False and Misleading Research Report FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney:

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is a self-regulatory authority assigned the responsibility, by the Securities and Exchange Commission, to license, regulate and discipline securities broker/dealers and their employees, including account executives. In the event that FINRA elects to institute an enforcement action, firms and licensed individuals have the responsibility to reflect such action on their U-4 and/or U-5 filings, which can be viewed on the FINRA website under the broker-check section of the site or by viewing the monthly disciplinary information also provided on the FINRA site.

The monthly disciplinary information is referenced on the FINRA site generally in alphabetical order. This post relates to the following company or individuals. If the reader would like to review the entire FINRA release or the broker-check information concerning this matter, you can follow these highlighted links:

June 2014 Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions:

http://www.finra.org/web/groups/industry/@ip/@enf/@da/documents/disciplinaryactions/p528907.pdf

Broker Check: http://www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck/

Gilford Securities Incorporated (New York, New York) submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured and fined $125,000. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it published research reports that failed to disclose that that research analyst received compensation consisting of commissions on transactions by the analyst's customers in the securities the securities the analyst covered. The findings stated that the front page of the firm's research reports purported to refer to the page of the report on which the disclosures were found. However, the front page references to disclosures were deficient. The firm authorized a research analyst to post research related information and recommendations from firm research reports on his blog without including either disclosures required by NASD Rule 2711(h) or links to the research reports containing the disclosures. (Case # 2012030416501). To review a copy of the full release, please follow the above highlighted link.

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With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Regions Bank, Thomas Neely, Jr., Jeffrey Kuehr, Michael Willoughby - South Florida Accounting Fraud and Negligence Litigation and Arbitration Attorney

SEC Announces Fraud Charges Against Three Former Regions Bank Executives in Accounting Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced fraud charges against three former senior managers of Regions Bank for intentionally misclassifying loans that should have been recorded as impaired for accounting purposes. As a result, the bank's publicly-traded holding company overstated its income and earnings per share in its financial reporting.

The SEC also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Regions Financial Corp., which substantially cooperated with the agency's investigation and undertook extensive remedial actions. Regions will pay a total of $51 million to resolve parallel actions by the SEC, Federal Reserve Board, and Alabama Department of Banking.

According to the SEC's orders instituting administrative proceedings against the three former managers, Thomas A. Neely Jr. was the principal architect of the scheme while serving as head of Regions Bank's risk analytics group in 2009. Along with the bank's head of special assets Jeffrey C. Kuehr and chief credit officer Michael J. Willoughby, Neely took intentional steps to circumvent internal accounting controls and improperly classify $168 million in commercial loans as performing so Regions could avoid recording a higher allowance for loan and lease losses.

Kuehr and Willoughby agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying penalties of $70,000 apiece and consenting to bars from serving as officers or directors of public companies. The SEC's Division of Enforcement will continue to litigate its case against Neely.

According to the SEC's orders and the deferred prosecution agreement, Regions Bank tracked and recorded its non-performing loans (NPLs) for internal performance metrics and regular financial reporting. NPLs typically were placed on non-accrual status when it was determined that payment of all contractual principal and interest was 90 days past due or otherwise in doubt. Once a loan was placed in non-accrual status, uncollected interest accrued during that current year was reversed and Regions Bank's interest income would be reduced. Non-accrual status also served as a trigger for Regions Bank to consider whether the specific loan was impaired and to determine an allowance for loan and lease losses in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

The SEC's Division of Enforcement alleges that when personnel within Regions Bank's special asset department initiated procedures to place approximately $168 million in NPLs into non-accrual status during the first quarter of 2009, Neely arbitrarily and without supporting documentation required the loans to remain in accrual status. By failing to classify the impaired loans in accordance with its policies, Regions' financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, were materially misstated and not in conformity with GAAP. In furtherance of the scheme, Neely and Willoughby knowingly provided understated NPL data for the quarter to the Regions' CFO and other senior executives during a meeting in late March.

The SEC's order against Neely charges him with violations of the antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws. Kuehr and Willoughby consented to the entry of a cease-and-desist order finding that they violated or caused violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as the reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the findings, Kuehr and Willoughby agreed to pay their respective $70,000 penalties plus be prohibited from serving as officers or directors of public companies for a period of five years.

The deferred prosecution agreement with Regions relates to the bank's failure to maintain adequate accounting controls at the time. The agreement credits the company's extensive remedial efforts, including the creation of a new problem asset division with entirely new management and significantly enhanced procedures. The agreement credits the substantial cooperation by Regions during the SEC's investigation, and imposes a $26 million penalty that will be offset provided that the company pays a $46 million penalty assessed in the Federal Reserve's action. Regions also will pay a $5 million penalty to the Alabama Department of Banking.

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With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

Dawson James Securities, Inc. - Boca Raton, Florida Broker/Dealer Sales Practice Violations FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is a self-regulatory authority assigned the responsibility, by the Securities and Exchange Commission, to license, regulate and discipline securities broker/dealers and their employees, including account executives. In the event that FINRA elects to institute an enforcement action, firms and licensed individuals have the responsibility to reflect such action on their U-4 and/or U-5 filings, which can be viewed on the FINRA website under the broker-check section of the site or by viewing the monthly disciplinary information also provided on the FINRA site.

The monthly disciplinary information is referenced on the FINRA site generally in alphabetical order. This post relates to the following company or individuals. If the reader would like to review the entire FINRA release or the broker-check information concerning this matter, you can follow these highlighted links:

June 2014 Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions:

http://www.finra.org/web/groups/industry/@ip/@enf/@da/documents/disciplinaryactions/p528907.pdf

Broker Check: http://www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck/

Dawson James Securities, Inc. (Boca Raton, Florida) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured, fined $75,000, and required to revise its WSPs. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that the firm's WSPs failed to provide for one or more of the four minimum requirements for adequate WSPs in several subject areas, including registered representatives' disclosure of potential conflicts of interests to clients; registered representatives' trading in the opposite direction of solicited customer transactions, sales practice concerns, including unauthorized trading, suitability, excessive trading and free-riding; concentration of securities in clients' accounts, sharing of profits or losses in clients' accounts, wash sales, coordinated trading, marking the open and marking the close; cancel-rebill transactions in clients' accounts and the review of registered representatives' electronic communications. (Case # 2008012546802). To review the full release, please follow the above highlighted link.

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With extensive courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience and an in-depth understanding of elder abuse, exploitation and securities law, our firm provides all of our clients with the personal service they deserve. Handling cases worth $25,000 or more, we represent clients throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as for foreign individuals that invested in U.S. banks or brokerage firms. Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

At the Fort Lauderdale Law Office of Russell L. Forkey, we represent clients throughout South and Central Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, Plantation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Manalapan, Jupiter, Gulf Stream, Wellington, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Palm City, Jupiter, Miami, Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Heathrow, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormand Beach, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Dade County, Orange County, Seminole County, Martin County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Volusia County and Monroe County, Florida. The law office of Russell L. Forkey also represents South American, Canadian and other foreign residents that do business with U.S. financial institutions, investment advisors, brokerage and precious metal firms.

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Russell L. Forkey, P.A.

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