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Local Virginia Lawyers Protecting Virginia Investors

The Virginia-based Securities Fraud Lawyers at Greco & Greco, P.C. have been representing Virginia residents in disputes with their financial advisors, stock brokers, and securities salespersons for over thirty years, involving claims of suitability, violations of FINRA Rules, negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, ponzi schemes, breach of fiduciary duty, professional malpractice, violation of Regulation Best Interest, and other claims.

Greco & Greco, P.C. is the only law firm in Virginia whose practice is exclusively dedicated to the representation of wronged securities customer investors, and its managing partner, W. Scott Greco, is one of only two Virginia members of the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association (PIABA) a nationwide bar association of investor attorneys. Mr. Greco is a member of the Board of Directors of PIABA, he has taught national, local and statewide Virginia continuing education classes to other attorneys on investor claims, and he regularly works with referring attorneys and co-counsel.

Free Attorney Consultation Regarding Your Losses

Please contact Scott Greco for a free attorney consultation about your case. We serve clients from all areas of Virginia, including Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Fairfax, Tysons Corner, Abington, Arlington, Richmond, Newport News, Hampton Roads, Alexandria, Roanoke, Suffolk, Lynchburg, Centreville, Dale City, Reston, Loudoun/Leesburg, Harrisonburg, Ashburn, McLean, Henrico, Chesterfield, Staunton, Manassas/Prince William, Williamsburg, Southwest Virginia, Tidewater, and Charlottesville.

Contingency Fees for Harmed Virginia 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 Virginia investors charging only a contingency fee. This means that our clients do not have to pay any attorney's fees up front, and only pay us out of monies recovered in your case.

Experienced FINRA Arbitration Lawyers

If an individual investor has a dispute with a FINRA brokerage firm stock broker, he/she most likely will have to arbitrate through FINRA's Dispute Resolution system. FINRA Arbitration holds arbitration hearings in two Virginia cities: Richmond, Virginia and Norfolk, Virginia. Northern Virginia residents may also request a hearing in Washington, D.C. W. Scott Greco has thirty years of experience trying NASD/FINRA arbitrations in Virginia, DC, and across the country.

Virginia Division of Securities and Virginia Securities Act

The Virginia State Corporation Commission, Division of Securities, in Richmond, Virginia, regulates Broker-Dealers, Registered Investment Advisers, and the sales of securities in the state of Virginia. Its website provides information on state securities Statutes and Rules, and information on how to file a complaint. (Please contact us for a free attorney consultation before filing a complaint).

Virginia's Securities Act is similar to many states' Acts with regard to providing for civil liability for the commission of securities fraud in the sale of securities (including untrue statements of material fact or omissions of material fact). The statute provides for rescission (or damages if the investor no longer owns the security), reasonable attorney's fees, and interest.

Common Legal Claims by Investors Against Their Financial Advisors in Virginia
  1. Suitability / Regulation Best Interest. Prior to recommending the purchase of specific investments or a specific investment strategy to a customer in Virginia, 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. The Suitability requirement has been superseded by the SEC's Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) which requires that FINRA advisors only make recommendations of securities or investment strategies that are in the customer's best interest.
  2. 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 Virginia 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.
  3. Unauthorized Trading. Generally, an investor in Virginia 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.
  4. 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 the Virginia Securities Act 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Failure to Supervise Broker. FINRA firms operating in Virginia 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.
  8. Broker Theft.  Brokers and Financial Advisors are often placed in a position to fraudulently steal monies from their customers.  This form of fraud should be prevented through proper supervision, but this does not always occur.  Fortunately, brokerage firms and registered investment adviser firms can be held liable for the criminal theft of customer monies by the agents/employees of the firms.

Examples of legal grounds for liability of securities Broker-Dealers in Virginia 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 Virginia and federal securities laws; and
  • Claims can be pursued in arbitration based on violations of FINRA and SEC rules including Rules related to supervision, suitability, best interest, and outside business activities.
Please contact our Local Virginia Securities Fraud Lawyers for a free attorney consultation if you believe your financial advisor broker may be liable under one of the above claims, or for other wrongful conduct.

Blog Posts regarding Virginia securities brokers and financial advisory firms

Client Reviews
“Greco & Greco represented me several years ago in a case in which my financial planner ignored my investment guidelines in making several very risky investments in my name. This individual was employed by a very large financial services corporation which refused to return my funds. I retained Greco & Greco.This after a few months resulted in a face to face negotiation with a team from the corporate office which supported the financial planner. After several hours including many strategy breaks and rejected offers a satisfactory settlement was reached. Without the skilled representation of Greco & Greco we would not have won such a settlement. I was very pleased with all aspects of their service including their timely feedback throughout the case.” J. W.
“Very professional and compassionate representation by this firm. Communication was clear and concise. This firm has a high degree of integrity and knowledge of SEC law. Highly recommend.” C. A.
“Very good attorney - client communication. Great legal representation. Satisfying results. A. W.
“Scott Greco was very professional, and honest. I highly recommend this firm. Scott Greco explained everything in a way I could understand, and I never left the office with unanswered questions. If I ever need any other legal representation Greco & Greco, P.C will be my only choice.” Anonymous
“W. Scott Greco represented me in my attempt to recover money lost in a ponzi scheme. He kindly and skillfully guided me through the process of submitting the required documentation of loss, provided sound legal advice regarding accepting arbitration, and kept me fully informed as the case moved forward. As a result of his work on my behalf, I recovered a large portion of my lost funds. I would absolutely, without reservation, recommend this firm to others.” Anonymous