Securities Fraud Attorney

Securities Fraud Attorneys in Naples and Rochester

The Pearl Law Firm provides securities fraud legal advice to the public concerning most aspects of the financial services industry. The firm’s investment and securities fraud attorneys have a comprehensive and unique understanding of the laws that apply to the securities industries. They provide experienced legal counsel to investors in disputes between investors and broker dealers, registered representatives and associated persons in securities arbitration and litigation against financial firms. Our clients range from retirees on a fixed income to high net worth individuals in claims against brokerage firms, investment advisors, and other financial companies.

The Firm has secured substantial customer arbitration settlements and awards against Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Raymond James, RBC, and others.

Our securities fraud attorneys have also successfully represented PONZI scheme victims on many occasions, including the largest single group of investors defrauded by former boy band impresario Lou Pearlman in what was, at the time, the largest Ponzi scheme in the State of Florida, involving losses of over $300 million. In that case, the Firm was able to secure a significant return for those who had lost their life savings investing in Pearlman’s elaborate and illegal scheme.

Naples Securities Fraud Lawyer

The Firm has nearly a century of combined experience handling large and complex securities fraud cases and has recovered tens of millions of dollars for investors over the years. If you would like to speak with a securities fraud attorney, you can click here to contact us and setup a free consultation. You have no obligations and we truly want to help point you in the right direction.

Investors Rights Attorneys and Lawyers

Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing investors who have been victimized by members of the financial services industry is understanding that they have the right to recover in the first place. Stockbroker fraud will often cause stock market losses in your investment portfolio. Do you know your investor rights? Many people who have lost money through improper investments feel embarrassed and partially if not totally at fault despite the fact that they trusted their financial advisors to render proper expert advice. They fail to recognize that the fault may lie with the financial advisor or the institution employing the advisor.

Investment advisors, stockbrokers, and brokerage firms are regulated by rules and laws that exist to protect public investors. These rules and laws provide an avenue for investors to recover losses caused by a stockbroker’s wrongdoing. When you pay a stockbroker to manage your assets or otherwise provide investment advice, he or she, in turn, must ensure that the advice is appropriate for your particular circumstances.

For example, if you are a person nearing retirement with a low-risk tolerance, your portfolio should be diverse and have a healthy percentage of its assets in bonds/income investments and, a much lower portion of its assets in equities, that is, stocks. If your stockbroker failed to recommend or purchase suitable investments for your portfolio, and your portfolio lost money, then you would have the right to recover those losses from your stockbroker and brokerage firm, irrespective of market conditions. That is, if the stock market is going down and so is your portfolio, you can recover if you should not have been invested that way in the first place.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has established a procedure for the resolution of investors’ disputes through FINRA sponsored arbitration. Accordingly, investors are required by brokerage firms to sign an arbitration clause in order to open an account. This arbitration process provides investors the opportunity to present their claims before a mutually selected panel of arbitrators whose decision will, absent extraordinary circumstances, be binding on the parties.

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Congress has also enacted laws to both protect investors from fraud and provide investors legal rights against brokers and broker dealers. Among those are the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Therefore, if you believe you may have been the victim of an unscrupulous broker, you should consult with our investor attorneys with experience in securities fraud and FINRA arbitration as soon as possible to learn about your specific rights. We do not charge any legal fee to determine whether or not you have a claim. If you do have a claim, typically our firm handles such matters on a contingency basis, meaning that there will be no legal fees charged unless there is a recovery achieved in the case.

Types of Securities and Investment Fraud with which our Securities and Stock Market Loss Attorneys Can Help

Brokerage firms and their stockbrokers are not allowed to recommend or solicit a security or product unless the broker determines that the security is consistent with your investment objectives, needs, and risk tolerance. Both FINRA and federal securities laws recognize this obligation of stockbrokers.

Stockbrokers will often sell unsuitable securities, which can result in stock market losses because they personally benefit from the transactions. In the case of REITs and Variable Annuities, discussed below, the stockbroker may receive instantaneous and high commissions he or she could not otherwise achieve from selling the customer suitable securities.

If you believe your broker sold you unsuitable securities, our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys may be able to help you recover.

Real Estate Investment Trusts, which are often not tradeable on the market, are products that are often unsuitable for the customer, yet are recommended by the stockbroker anyway. REITs typically provide stockbrokers with high commissions the instant their customer makes the purchase. The commissions which the stockbroker receives typically come from the principal you invest in the REIT, in the form of fees to the customer.

Stockbrokers tend to downplay the risks and illiquidity of REITs, sometimes going so far as to proclaim that they are safe and protected from losses often seen in the market. However, this is not the case. The reality is that the customer’s inability to sell a REIT means they will not have access to their principal if they need it, nor will they be able to sell the REIT if it underperforms. Indeed, REITs may file for bankruptcy protection just as public corporations may do so, with the exception that the customer has no way to escape a REIT that they believe to be at risk.

If your stockbroker sold you REITs, contact our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys to find out if you can recover.

Like REITs, Variable Annuities are often unsuitable for the typical investor, especially elderly investors, yet are often recommended by stockbrokers because they provide the stockbroker with high commissions.

Because Variable Annuities typically have long holding periods, in which a customer cannot sell without accruing significant penalties, the customer will not have access to the principal investment for five to ten years.

Our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys may be able to help you recover if your stockbroker improperly sold you a Variable Annuity.

A broker’s failure to diversify a customer’s portfolio will generally be considered unsuitable for that customer. It is a fundamental principle of investing that diversification of investments reduces risk.

A broker is obligated by FINRA rules to recommend or otherwise provide in a managed account, a well-diversified portfolio. If the broker does not do so, whether through intentional securities fraud or through his or her negligence or ignorance, the customer could become the subject of unnecessary stock market losses.

Our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys may be able to help you if your stockbroker failed to adequately diversify your investment portfolio.

Because stockbrokers have a fiduciary duty to put the customer’s interests above their own, they must, under FINRA rules, disclose all important information about the security that they are recommending to the customer.

A broker may misrepresent the risk of a security or product in order to convince the customer to buy it. This may be ignorance or negligence on the part of a broker, but stockbrokers may also misrepresent the qualities of a security on purpose because they stand to gain from selling it to their customers.

If you believe your broker misrepresented or omitted facts related to a security that he or she recommended, contact our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys to find out if you can recover.

In an investment account where the advisor or broker does not have discretion to act alone, but must get the customer’s approval to initiate a transaction, initiating a trade without such approval is prohibited.

While unauthorized trading can happen through a broker’s negligence, brokers may also trade without receiving authorization in order to churn the customer’s account for their own benefit. Such behavior may cause stock market losses which are the fault of the broker and broker dealer.

If you believe your stockbroker engaged in trading without your permission, contact our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys to find out if you can recover.

Stockbrokers are considered employees or “registered representatives” of brokerage firms (broker dealers), which firms are registered with FINRA. Accordingly, because the broker is employed by the brokerage firm, the brokerage firm has the duty to supervise that employee.

FINRA requires brokerage firms to conduct reviews of their brokers’ transactions and communications involving their customers, to properly train their brokers, and to make sure that their customers’ accounts are invested suitably and in their customers’ best interests.

A brokerage firm’s duty to supervise employees is designed to act as a second line of defense – that is – if the broker acts fraudulently or negligently, the brokerage firm has the duty to make sure the broker is stopped before the customer is harmed. However, brokerage firms often fail to adequately supervise their employees, allowing for unnecessary securities and stock market losses to occur in their customers’ accounts.

Churning is a relatively simple procedure that fraudulent brokers engage in, which involves excessive trading in a customer’s account, generally for the purpose of getting more commissions.

Excessive trading by the broker creates excessive fees for the customer and accordingly is prohibited by FINRA rules, as well as federal securities laws.

If you believe your stockbroker churned your accounts, our investment loss and securities fraud attorneys to find out if you can recover.

When a stockbroker sells a security, which has not been approved by the brokerage firm, selling away occurs. Brokerage firms may still responsible when their brokers sell private securities because they should have in place a compliance and supervision system in place to prevent such wrongdoing. However, brokerage firms often fail to have adequate supervision or otherwise fail to act even when they see suspicious activity on behalf of their brokers.

Selling away is prohibited by FINRA rules and our securities fraud attorneys may be able to help you recover if you have been the victim of selling away.

Stockbrokers and financial advisors market themselves as specialists who will invest your money, if you pay them, using skills which regular people do not possess. Accordingly, when you pay a stockbroker to manage your investment portfolio, the broker has the duty to put your interests above his or hers.

However, sometimes brokers will sell securities which may be unsuitable for the customer and may not be the best investments because it provides the broker more money in commissions or brokerage firm fees. Our securities fraud attorneys may be able to help you bring a claim if your stockbroker failed to act in your best interests and caused you to lose money.

It is sometimes the case that a stockbroker and the brokerage firm did not intentionally cause you financial harm for their personal benefit, but their negligence or ignorance was the culprit. FINRA rules, along with federal and state securities laws, are put in place to protect you from negligence on behalf of your broker.

The mere fact that a broker did not have ill intentions does not mean that his or her failure to follow such laws and rules is permissible. Therefore, our securities attorneys may be able to help you recover due to your broker’s negligence.

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