Category: Broker Fraud

Fraud Lawyers in Florida

Investing in securities can be a great way to secure your financial future; however, it’s important to understand the ways your investments can be mishandled. Understanding the different types of fraudulent activity that can occur is crucial if you plan to invest your money. Making an arrangement with a stockbroker should be carefully considered, as there are many ways that your investments can be mishandled. Stockbroker fraud constitutes a large portion of all lawsuits related to securities, so understanding the different ways your broker could be mishandling your accounts is essential for investors.

You might feel that your investments are unsuitable to your portfolio, over-concentrated in one area or industry, were misrepresented to you (either by purposefully withholding information or presenting misleading information), or that your broker was churning your investments. Churning refers to when a broker trades excessively on your behalf to increase their commissions. Insurance and annuity fraud is often subject to this; annuities, for example, offer some of the highest commissions for stockbrokers, and as such can be misrepresented or sold to investors when it is not in their best interest.

In addition to stockbroker fraud, there are other abuses that regulatory agencies like FINRA & the SEC (Securities & Trade Commission) look out for. Insider trading, fraud and market manipulation also occur in the industry, when individuals privy to certain company information use that information to help theirs or others investments. Investment schemes need to also be considered – these include methods for stealing investor’s money, using misrepresentation and instilling false hope into the investor. A well-known example of an investment scheme is the Ponzi scheme – Where brokers will use the money from new investors to pay their current clients, rather than money generated from the investment. To this end, when the Ponzi scheme is shut down, there isn’t enough real money that can be used to pay back investors. Pyramid schemes are another example of an investment scheme.

Securities violations come in many different forms and carry severe punishments. The process for solving these issues can come in the form of litigation or, more commonly, arbitration, and anyone looking to recover damages from a securities lawsuit should fully understand both options and the prerequisites to filing a claim. If you feel your investments have been mishandled or you may have been subject to securities abuses, it’s important to speak with an attorney who specializes in securities arbitration and litigation. The Hanley Law offer free case evaluations and can help you navigate through your claim.

Security Fraud in Florida and Nationwide

Securities Arbitration and Litigation Attorneys

Securities Fraud is widespread and as an investor, it is essential to be aware of the most common types of fraud so you can take preventative measures, maximize your gains and reduce the possibility of taking a loss. Not all types of fraud are the result of premeditated criminal schemes, though a lot of them are. Professionals in the securities industry are trained in making sound investments so even if they didn’t have the intention of compromising your investment, in the event they have or do in the future, those individuals can still be held responsible. Similar to the medical profession, a doctor who commits malpractice may not have had the intention of harming the patient, but if they do they can be held responsible in a civil court and even a criminal court if laws were violated in the process. This logic is also applicable to investment bankers, firms, stock brokers,etc.

The most common types of fraud are propagated by individuals who practice outright deception and those who are incompetent/irresponsible. Whether your losses are a result of reckless practices or flat out lies, the implications for you don’t vary as much as they do for the individual you trusted with your hard earned money. In either case, you can seek to recover losses suffered.

Investments Compromised due to Negligence

One of the most common types of fraud occurs when an inappropriate investment is made, this is related to the investors status and is usually a high risk investment. For example, a particularly high risk investment would not be right for a person who is retired or an investor with a conservative track record.

Another form of fraud is when the firm fails to perform their fiduciary duty to the investor, this is called failure to perform due diligence and commonly this results in the firm investing someones funds in a company they didn’t properly research.

Additionally, failure to diversify an investors portfolio is considered an inappropriate practice. Over concentrating funds in one investment is a poor practice that can result in losses for the investor.

Brokers Knowingly Compromising Your Investment

There a number of circumstances when brokers knowingly compromise your investment for their own personal gain. There are a wide range of practices from over-trading to selling penny stocks that are considered fraud. Excessive trading is when a broker trades with the primary intention of profiting from the commission they make as a result of the trade, this is called Churning and is illegal. To prove churning, attorneys will look at excessive activity, that is quantifiable by turnover rate and cost-equity ratio.

Misrepresentation occurs when a stockbroker fails to disclose pertinent information to an investor, which interferes with their ability to make a sound decision/ investment. Omitting facts or details about a company is a common cause of investment loss.

Investors who promise guaranteed returns on investments or claim that an investment will offer high returns with little to no risks are committing fraud. Shy away from brokers or firms that guarantee a return , usually one that is just too good to be true.

Finally, trading without permission of the investor is considered unauthorized trading and is also a poor practice. In certain circumstances, the broker does have permission to trade without consulting the investor only if they receiver prior authorization, these accounts are called discretionary accounts.

If you’ve suffered losses due to fraudulent practices, contact the The Hanley Law, who are offering free case evaluations. Hanley Law have experience recovering losses for sole investors and in class actions suits against major investment firms.