Fighting for Investors
The Securities Fraud Lawyers at Greco & Greco, P.C. regularly represent New York residents in disputes with their financial advisors and securities salespersons, involving claims of suitability, violations of FINRA Rules, negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, Reg BI, ponzi schemes, breach of fiduciary duty, professional malpractice, and other claims. Please contact Scott Greco for a free attorney consultation about your case. We serve clients from all areas of New York, including New York City, Manhattan, Long Island, Hempstead, Brookhaven, Islip, Oyster Bay, Buffalo, Babylon, Albany, Rochester, and Syracuse.Decades of FINRA Arbitration Experience
If an individual investor has a dispute with a FINRA brokerage firm or stock broker, he/she most likely will have to arbitrate through FINRA's Dispute Resolution system. FINRA Arbitration holds arbitration hearings in four New York cities: Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and New York.Contingency Fees for Harmed New York Investors
We understand that many of our clients cannot afford to hire an attorney because they have lost a large portion of their life savings. Our attorneys regularly represent harmed New York investors charging only a contingency fee. This means that our clients do not have to pay any attorneys fees up front, and only pay us out of monies recovered in your case.New York Securities Regulator
The New York Office of the Attorney General, Investor Protection Bureau, located near Wall Street in Manhattan, regulates the sales of securities in the state of New York. Its website provides information on state securities Statutes and Rules, and information on how to file a complaint.
Common Legal Claims by investors against their financial advisors in New York
- Suitability / Regulation Best Interest. Prior to recommending the purchase of specific investments or a specific investment strategy to a customer, a stock broker is required to determine that the investments are suitable to that particular investor. A suitability determination is based upon many different factors such as age, investment objectives, risk tolerance, employment situation, needs, income, assets, and investment experience. If an advisor’s recommendations of unsuitable investments result in the investor incurring significant losses, that investor may have a suitability claim against the broker and his/her firm. As of 2020, the SEC's Regulation Best Interest (BI) governs recommendations made by FINRA registered financial advisors. It covers recommended securities and investment strategies, such as margin. All such recommendations must be in the customer's best interest.
- Churning. Churning occurs when a broker exercises control over an account and allows the broker's interest in making commissions to override the investor's interests in the account. When a broker makes a buy or sell recommendation for an account, that broker should have the investor's best interests based on their investment objectives in mind. If the broker makes excessive buy and sell recommendations for the purposes of generating commissions for the broker by each buy and sell, that broker is engaged in churning the account. Excessive turnover in the assets of the account and/or a high cost to equity percentage are often a sign of churning.
- Unauthorized Trading. Generally, an investor can have two kinds of an account, non-discretionary and discretionary. In a typical non-discretionary account, the broker must consult with and obtain the consent of the customer prior to making a trade in the account. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker makes trades in a non-discretionary account without the consent of the customer.
- Securities Fraud. Most of the claims in this list are subsets of securities fraud which is employing a device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or obtaining money by means of untrue statements of material facts and failure to state material facts in violation of state blue sky / securities laws or federal law (Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5). If a broker makes false statements to an investor or fails to advise the investor of certain important facts, the investor may be able to recover losses incurred resulting from this fraud.
- Margin Disputes. Margin trading involves borrowing money from the brokerage firm to purchase securities greater in value than the equity in an investor's account. Due to the risky nature of trading on the margin, disputes with brokers often arise as a result of significant losses. If a broker trades on the margin without the knowledge or consent of the investor, the investor may be able to recover the losses resulting from the fraud.
- Ponzi Scheme Investment Scams. Ponzi schemes generally involve promises of high returns by salespersons over short periods of time, but in reality result in stealing from Peter to pay Paul. Because returns to investors in ponzi schemes are often paid out of new investment monies from new investors, the scheme will ultimately fall apart when the new investors dry up, leaving all investors often holding a worthless investment. Financial Advisors and their brokerage firms who sell ponzi scheme fraudulent investments may be found liable for selling unsuitable investments, securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, failure to supervise, and other legal violations.
- Failure to Supervise Broker. FINRA firms have a duty to supervise their registered brokers, and their failure to do so may form the basis of various legal claims against them. FINRA Rule 3110 states: Each member shall establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of each registered representative, registered principal, and other associated person that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations, and with applicable FINRA Rules. Final responsibility for proper supervision shall rest with the member.
Examples of legal grounds for liability of Broker-Dealers in these situations include:
- Under tort and agency law, principals can be found liable for the acts of their agents even if they are entirely innocent and have received no benefit from the transaction;
- A broker's Broker-Dealer can also be found liable as a control person of that broker under state and federal securities laws; and
- Claims can be pursued in arbitration based on violations of FINRA rules including Rules related to supervision, suitability, and outside business activities.
Contact a New York Securities Fraud Lawyer
Please contact our securities lawyers for a free consultation if you believe your financial advisor broker may be liable under one of the above claims, or for other wrongful conduct.New York General Business Law Article 23-A § 353. Action by Attorney-General
- Whenever the attorney-general shall believe from evidence satisfactory to him that any person, partnership, corporation, company, trust or association has engaged in, is engaged or is about to engage in any of the practices or transactions heretofore referred to as and declared to be fraudulent practices, he may bring an action in the name and on behalf of the people of the state of New York against such person, partnership, corporation, company, trust or association, and any other person or persons theretofore concerned in or in any way participating in or about to participate in such fraudulent practices, to enjoin such person, partnership, corporation, company, trust or association and such other person or persons from continuing such fraudulent practices or engaging therein or doing any act or acts in furtherance thereof or, if the attorney-general should believe from such evidence that such person, partnership, corporation, company, trust or association actually has or is engaged in any such fraudulent practice, he may include in such action an application to enjoin permanently such person, partnership, corporation, company, trust or association, and such other person or persons as may have been or may be concerned with or in any way participating in such fraudulent practice, from selling or offering for sale to the public within this state, as principal, broker or agent, or otherwise, any securities issued or to be issued. In said action an order or a judgment may be entered awarding the relief applied for or so much thereof as the court may deem proper. Upon a showing by the attorney-general in his application for a permanent injunction hereunder that the defendant named in the action or an officer thereof has refused to be sworn or to be examined or to answer a material question or to produce a book or paper relevant to the inquiry when duly ordered so to do by the officer or judge duly conducting an inquiry into the subject matter forming the basis of the application for such injunction, such refusal shall be prima facie proof that such defendant is or has been engaged in fraudulent practices as set forth in such application and a permanent injunction may issue from the supreme court without any further showing by the attorney-general. In such an action, the court may award to the plaintiff a sum not in excess of two thousand dollars as an additional allowance.
- Upon a showing by the attorney-general in an application for an injunction that any person engaged in the purchase, sale, offer to purchase or sell, issuance, exchange, promotion, negotiation, advertisement or distribution within this state of any security or securities, either as principal, partner, officer, agent, employee or otherwise, has ever been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in any state or country of any felony; or of any other criminal offense by any such court, whether or not constituting a felony, involving securities, the supreme court after a hearing may issue a permanent injunction awarding the relief applied for, or so much thereof as the court may deem proper, against such person shown to have been so convicted, in the form and manner provided for in subdivision one of this section in case of one who actually has or is engaged in any fraudulent practice.
- Upon a showing by the attorney general that a fraudulent practice as defined by this article has occurred, he may include in an action under this article an application to direct restitution of any moneys or property obtained directly or indirectly by any such fraudulent practice.