We are proud to have won significant financial recovery for numerous clients, many of whom are retired, live on fixed incomes, and are in the later stages of their lives. The world of securities investment is complex; each case presents a different set of facts and legal theories. Experience and knowledge of securities law are vital.
An 86-year-old woman with no children, no spouse , and no formal education beyond high school did not know where to turn when she noticed a substantial decline in the value of her lifelong savings. Her financial advisor told her nothing was wrong and she should simply turn over her account statements to him. We found evidence of stock-broker misconduct, but we anticipated that the broker and his employer would seek to dismiss our case on statute-of-limitations grounds. Determined to secure significant financial recovery for our client, we filed our case nonetheless, defeated a motion to dismiss, and ultimately prevailed. Our client’s savings have been restored.
Excessive Trading, or “Churning”
A retired man in his late 60s and in failing health showed us his account statements, which revealed that his stock broker had made 99 purchases and sales in the man’s retirement account within a 15-month period, resulting in more than $20,000 in commissions. The man had expressed his concern to the broker’s supervisor, but the supervisor rejected the complaint. We commenced an arbitration action against the stock broker and the firm and fully recovered damages for our client.
Even if your account is in a fee-based program—meaning you pay an annual fee as a percentage of your total assets under management as opposed to a commission on every transaction—the turnover ratio in your account may be high enough to constitute churning, making you entitled to recover damages.
A husband and wife in their late 70s — both retired from factory jobs and with limited retirement savings — asked us to review their account history for potential stock-broker misconduct. The couple knew their account had plummeted in value, forcing the husband to return to work as a delivery driver for a local newspaper. Upon review of the account history, we discovered an alarming over-concentration of one type of investment and traced that investment back to the stock broker’s firm, which had promoted the stock for its own business purposes. We filed an arbitration case against the broker and the firm, and won an excellent verdict from a FINRA arbitration panel.
A retired, 69-year-old blue-collar worker and his wife — who had a modest net worth and were living on a fixed income (principally Social Security and a small pension) — asked for help against a stock broker who had advised them to invest their entire liquid savings in two non-publicly traded stocks. The couple had found this broker by listening to his local radio call-in program, which they did not realize was a paid-for infomercial. Despite knowing his clients had never purchased a single stock in their lives — and without explaining the risks of these unusual investments or the exorbitant commissions and fees — the broker induced the couple to invest in non-publicly traded securities. When the couple needed to withdraw a few thousand dollars to purchase a used car, the broker told them they were not allowed to do so. We filed an arbitration case and secured a significant financial recovery for the clients.
Within less than three years after retiring, a husband and wife lost $300,000 — two-thirds of their entire retirement assets. This loss forced the husband back to work at a neighborhood car mechanic shop, after he had worked for 33 years, rising before dawn, as a route driver for a bakery company. We reviewed the account history and found evidence of unauthorized trading and exposing the clients’ savings to undue risk by investing in an offshore drilling company. We filed an arbitration case and the couple recovered their losses.
Unauthorized Withdrawals from Accounts
A loving grandmother, living modestly on a fixed income, rolled over an employer-sponsored retirement fund of $85,000 to invest with a local stock broker for her young granddaughter’s college education. The broker assured the woman the money would be safe. Only when she received notification from the IRS that her account had been withdrawn — and that she owed taxes on the withdrawal — did she learn that the stock broker had forged her signature on a withdrawal form and deposited the check from the investment account into his personal account. We recaptured the funds, and today the woman has peace of mind knowing that the college savings will be there for her granddaughter.
A 91-year-old widow discovered that her stock broker’s firm had erroneously handled the accounting in her account after her husband died. Despite her providing documentation showing the errors, the firm refused to compensate this woman. We stepped in, filed an arbitration case, and our client received full financial reimbursement.