Securities Class Action Attorneys

When multiple investors have suffered damages because of fraud and wrongful business by Wall Street brokerage firms and their stockbrokers, these investors can bring a securities class action suit. Often, a class action suit is a good option for investors whose losses have been relatively small, and whose claims would not be worth pursuing as an individual. Class action suits allow many investors who couldn’t afford to pursue compensation individually to pursue compensation as a group.

While the damages done to these investors may seem relatively insignificant, for small investors these losses can be painful. Because these investors could never pursue recovery on their own, large corporations would go unpenalized if not for class action suits. This way, investors are able to level the playing field and force brokerage firms to take responsibility for their violation of securities laws.

We have helped thousands of clients around the nation get compensation for claims regarding botched transfers, broker bribes, commission churning, “boiler room” sales practices, disappearing funds, excessive mark-ups, execution failures, fraudulent research, improper margin liquidations, unregistered securities, unregistered brokers, and many other fraudulent acts. We’ve successfully represented victims against major Wall Street institutions and other top brokerage firms in the nation. Our attorneys will help you assess whether you can pursue recovery through a securities class action suit, and we’ll help you receive the compensation due to you.

The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is committed to assisting investors who have been victimized by brokers and brokerage firms. To get more information and learn how we can assist you with your securities fraud claim, contact our team today for a free initial consultation.

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Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Arbitration Attorneys

Regardless of whether the damage was intentional or caused by negligence, victimized clients have a right to seek financial recovery from the brokers or brokerage firms at fault. Our firm has successfully handled claims through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as well as in State and Federal courts of several jurisdictions.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is a non-governmental, self-regulatory organization responsible for the financial regulation, enforcement and arbitration of member brokerage firms and exchange markets. FINRA is devoted to assisting investors, brokers and brokerage firms resolve their business and monetary disputes, and maintains the largest dispute resolution forum in the securities industry to do so. They are recognized by Congress to protect the investors of America by enforcing honesty in the operations of the securities industry. It was originally created following the merger of the National Association of Securities Dealers and the regulation committee of the New York Stock Exchange.

There are two ways of settling securities disputes: arbitration and mediation. While mediation is an informal agreement to find a mutual compromise for both parties, arbitration is a formal and binding process. The parties–either investors, brokers or brokerage firms who have a securities dispute between them– choose an arbitrator to be an unbiased third party. The arbitrator listens to both sides of the argument, analyzes presented evidence, and then makes a decision. Because an arbitration award is final and binding, parties can no longer take their claim to a court of law after receiving the arbitration decision.

If you are considering arbitration proceedings, we recommend hiring a professional attorney to assist you. Brokers and brokerage firms generally hire experienced attorneys to represent them at this time, and you’ll need experienced and knowledgable representation on your side to present a compelling case. Our firm has handled many FINRA arbitration matters and we’ll be able to bring our expertise to your case.

We offer free consultations and are dedicated to protecting the rights of investors. If you have been a victim of securities fraud and pursuing FINRA arbitration, contact Place & Hanley, LLC at (866) 318-4725.

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Two Martin County, Florida Financial Advisors Charged with Stealing from Clients

Two financial advisors were charge with allegedly stealing $310,000 from clients of the pair’s investment firm.

Robert Lawrence “Larry” Dahn, 64 of Stuart Florida and formerly associated with Mutual Service Corporation was arrested April 12 on two counts fraudulent transaction of securities, two counts of grand theft of $50,000 or more from a person 65 or older, one count of grand theft of between $50,00 and $100,000 and one count grand theft of more than $100,000.

Donald Richard “Rick” Dahn, 56, of Palm City, Florida and formerly associated with LPL Financial, LLC and Mutual Service Corp. was arrested on the same charges as his brother, plus an extra count of fraudulent transaction of securities.

Donald Dahn recently submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent to FINRA in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Without admitting or denying the findings, Dahn consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he borrowed a total of $27,100 from public customers without the ability to repay the loans that had been represented to be used for operating expenses for a company Dahn ran with his brother. The findings stated that Dahn failed to disclose the loans to his member firms. Dahn has failed to repay either of the loans, one of which required payment within 90 days. Dahn misappropriated the funds by failing to repay either loan, and by borrowing customer funds without the ability to repay the loans.

Dahns owned an investment firm called Estate Planning & Investment Concepts (EPIC) in Stuart. In November, an 81-year-old woman complained to the State Attorney’s Office that the brothers had persuaded her in 2008 to invest $20,000 through their firm and, because of the “unsettled” investment market, to loan $60,000 to the firm for six months at 6 percent interest.

The woman said she never got her money back.

Apparently, Robert Dahn pleaded guilty in June 2007 to a felony charge of illegally diverting about $744,000 in insurance funds. He was sentenced to five years probation, required to repay the diverted money and had his Florida insurance license permanently revoked.

According to newspaper articles, the State Attorney’s Office is concerned that there are more victims.

If your financial advisor stole your funds, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley for a no cost initial consultation at:

(866) 318-4725


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Former New England Securities Broker Timothy John Coyle Fined and Suspended

Timothy John Coyle (CRD #2437046, Registered Representative, Palm Harbor, Florida)

submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was fined $5,000 and

suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Coyle consented to the described sanctions and

to the entry of findings that he forged signatures on documents and also forged a

a customer’s initials next to amendments to a variable annuity application. The findings

stated that the customer signatures and initials Coyle forged were done without the

customers’ knowledge or consent.

If you believe you have been the victim of a forgery by your broker call Place & Hanley at

(866) 318-4725

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Mark Grimaldi and Navigator Money Management Charged by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission on January 30, 2014 charged a New York-based money manager and his firm with making false claims through Twitter, newsletters, and other communications about the success of their investment advice and a mutual fund they manage.

An SEC order against Mark A. Grimaldi and Navigator Money Management (NMM) finds that they selectively touted the past performance of the Sector Rotation Fund (NAVFX) and specific securities recommendations they made to clients.  They cherry-picked highlights but ignored less favorable recommendations and other data that would have made the facts complete.

Grimaldi and NMM agreed to settle the SEC’s charges.

According to the SEC’s order, Grimaldi is majority owner, president, and chief compliance officer at NMM, which is based in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.  Grimaldi particularly used a newsletter called The Money Navigator to solicit clients for NMM and investors for the Sector Rotation Fund.  The Money Navigator had more than 60,000 subscribers.  In 2008, the SEC conducted an examination of NMM and a fund it managed.  SEC exam staff notified NMM that the newsletters could be considered advertisements under Rule 206(4)-1, which generally prohibits false or misleading advertisements by investment advisers.  SEC staff also noted that the newsletters could be considered advertisements under Rule 482, which governs advertisements for mutual funds and other investment companies and has specific requirements for ads containing performance data.

The SEC’s order details several misleading advertisements made by NMM and Grimaldi in newsletters following that SEC examination.  For example, they misleadingly claimed in a December 2011 newsletter that Sector Rotation Fund was “ranked number 1 out of 375 World Allocation funds tracked by Morningstar.”  However, a time period of Oct. 13, 2010 to Oct. 12, 2011 was cherry-picked to broadly acclaim that ranking, and Sector Rotation Fund had a poorer relative performance during other time periods.  From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2011, the day before Grimaldi published the ad, at least 100 other mutual funds in that same Morningstar category outperformed Sector Rotation Fund.

According to the SEC’s order, NMM was advertised as a “five-star (Morningstar) money manager” in the newsletters as well as on websites and in e-mail correspondence with potential investors.  This claim was materially misleading because Morningstar rates mutual funds not investment advisers.  And since February 2009, NMM has not been the investment manager of any mutual fund rated five stars by Morningstar.

The SEC’s order finds that Grimaldi also made misleading statements on Twitter.  He claimed responsibility for model portfolios in his newsletters that “doubled the S&P 500 the last 10 years.”  However, Grimaldi made the claim even though he had no involvement in the model portfolio performance for the first three years.

The SEC’s order finds that NMM violated Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rules 206(4)-1(a)(2), 206(4)-1(a)(5), 206(4)-7, and 206(4)-8 as well as Section 34(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.  Grimaldi violated many of the same provisions and aided and abetted and caused NMM’s violations.

Grimaldi agreed to pay a penalty of $100,000, and he and the firm agreed to be censured and comply with certain undertakings including the retention of an independent compliance consultant for three years.  Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, NMM and Grimaldi are required to cease and desist from future violations of these sections of the securities laws.

If you suffered investment losses, contact Place and Hanley at:


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Did You Suffer Losses with James A. Busch?

Busch recently submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. See FINRA Case #2013038441201. Busch was registered with Wells Fargo Investment Advisors, LLC, formerly Wachovia Securities, LLC, from October 2000 until his termination in September 2013.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Busch consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he utilized his customers’ bank account information, with the affiliate bank of his member firm, to misappropriate approximately $1.3 million from some of his firm brokerage customers, most of whom were elderly women. FINRA found that Busch misappropriated money from his customers using two primary methods. First, Busch called his credit card company’s automated system and requested payments from his customers’ bank accounts to his personal credit card account. Busch provided his credit card company with the customers’ bank routing and bank account numbers to make the transactions. In addition, Busch used a manual process, whereby he submitted a paper debit memo to his credit card company to authorize payments from his customers’ bank accounts to Busch’s credit card account. In some instances, Busch liquidated securities from the customers’ brokerage accounts in order to generate cash. The cash was transferred from the customers’ brokerage accounts to the customers’ bank accounts prior to Busch’s misappropriation of the funds.

If you suffered losses due to the mishandling of your funds, call:

(866) 318-4725.

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Worst Performing Stocks in 2013

In 2013, the S&P 500 was up 29.6%.  However, even with the broad market index up considerably, some stocks fared much worse.  Below is a list of the worst performing stocks for 2013:

Name Symbol YTD % Chg
1 Prospect Global Resources PGRX -97.6
2 Desarrolladora Homex ADS HXM -90.63
3 NewLead Holdings NEWL -90.17
4 Golden Minerals AUMN -89.72
5 Celsion CLSN -89.45
6 Allied Nevada Gold ANV -88.22
7 Wright Medical Group Rt WMGIZ -88.21
8 Aastrom Biosciences ASTM -87.18
9 Loncor Resources LON -86.85
10 xG Technology XGTI -86.32
11 Coldwater Creek CWTR -84.5
12 Tandy Brands Accessories TBAC -83.47
13 Alvarion ALVR -82.53
14 Gyrodyne of America GYRO -82.36
15 Dolan DM -82.26
16 International Tower Hill Mines THM -81.11
17 Banro BAA -80.14
18 Sanofi Rts 12/31/2020 GCVRZ -80
19 Delcath Systems DCTH -79.27
20 Tower Group International TWGP -78.47
21 Cardium Therapeutics CXM -78.16
22 CEL-SCI CVM -78.08
23 AVEO Pharmaceuticals AVEO -77.27
24 Golden Star Resources GSS -76.09
25 Prosensa Holding RNA -75.74

If your financial advisor recommended a poor performing stock that was unsuitable for you, we may be able to help you recover your investment losses.

Contact Place & Hanley at (866) 318-4725.

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Law Firm Investigating Cornerstone Industrial Properties and Pacific Cornerstone Capital, Inc.

The Law Offices of Place and Hanley is currently investigating claims against Cornerstone Industrial Properties (“CIP”) and Pacific Cornerstone Capital, Inc. (“Pacific Capital”).

Pacific Cornerstone is a registered broker-dealer of FINRA with its primary office in Irvine, California, and exclusively markets products sponsored by affiliates of its parent company, Cornerstone Ventures, Inc. (“CVI”).  Pacific Capital offers these products to retail broker-dealers who sign distribution agreements with Pacific Capital.  The retail broker-dealers, in turn, offer and sell to the investing public.

Terry Roussel is Pacific Capital’s majority owner.  Roussel was President, Principal, Director, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Pacific Capital.  Roussel is also the founder of Cornerstone Industrial Properties, LLC.  Roussel is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative, General Securities Principal, and Financial Operations Principal.

Pacific Cornerstone and Roussel entered into a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent with FINRA in November 2009.  The AWC makes certain findings of fact including regarding Cornerstone Industrial Properties, LLC  (CIP):

  • Pacific Capital and Roussel violated NASD Rules by promulgating Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) and accompanying sales literature for CIP contained material misstatements and omissions about key issues, including:  targets as to when investors would receive the return of their principal investment, the targeted yield on their investment, targets for how much money affiliated real estate investment trusts and limited partnerships would raise, and CIP’s ability to pay its expenses.
  • Pacific Capital and Roussel also violated NASD Rules by preparing and distributing sales literature, in the form of periodic letters  to existing investors, that perpetuated the targeted results and omissions.  The update letters were sent to existing investors in the private placements and to the registered representatives at retailers who had offered and sold them the investments.  These materials lacked certain risk disclosures and fair and balanced disclosures, and included prohibited statements.

If you invested in Cornerstone Industrial Properties or another private placement and lost money, we would like to speak with you as part of our investigation.  If you have lost money in CIP or another private placement, we offer a no cost initial consultation.

Call:  866-318-4725


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Law Firm Investigating Peter Bruno

The Law Offices of Place and Hanley, PLLC is currently investigating claims against Peter Bruno.  Mr. Bruno is the President of Wall Street Money Center Corp., a stock brokerage firm that has withdrawn its registration from FINRA.  Mr. Bruno is also President of Wall Street Money Management Group, Inc.

Peter Bruno has been the subject of two recent regulatory matters.

In January 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) entered into letter of acceptance waiver and consent with Peter Bruno.  See  FINRA alleged that Bruno made unsuitable investments and an unauthorized trade among other allegations.  Bruno was suspended by FINRA for three months and fined $20,000.

In April 2013, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation filed an administrative complaint against Bruno and his investment advisory firm alleging that Bruno made unsuitable investments on behalf of clients and failed to disclose conflicts of interest.  The case was highlighted in a recent newspaper article.  See  The matter is pending.

If you had an account with Peter Bruno, Wall Street Money Center Corp. or Wall Street Money Management Group, Inc. please contact the Law Offices of Place and Hanley.  We would like to speak with you as part of our investigation.  If you suffered losses, we offer no fee initial consultations.

Call (866) 318-4725

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Did You Invest in an Inappropriate Mutual Fund?

Before you can determine if a fund was a right choice, you must determine if it is a suitable investment for you.  Certainly, nobody has a crystal ball and cannot predict the future.  However, using hindsight you can perhaps tell if you invested in a fund suited to your needs.

Sector Funds posted the largest losses in the trailing 12 months.  A sector fund is a mutual fund that invests in a particular segment of the economy such as a particular precious metal, country or market segment.  One of the benefits of investing in a mutual fund is diversification.

However, sector funds typically focus on one particular type of investment.  Thus, the fund will typically offer diversification by investing in more than one underlying investment.  For example, a “gold fund” may invest in many different investments that are related to gold such as gold mining companies as well as gold bullion.  However, sector funds do not typically offer diversification from the particular sector.  The name of the fund will typically suggest the sector for which the fund invests.  It is necessary to read a mutual fund’s prospectus to fully understand the funds’ investment profile fully.

So it is no wonder that over the trailing 12 month time period, mutual funds with the greatest losses were largely confined to sector funds.  Indeed, most of the greatest losses came from gold, silver, country funds and leveraged funds.

Below is the list of the biggest losers sorted by percentage loss:

Fund Name Symbol Trailing 12 Month Loss
VelocityShares 3x Long Silver ETN USLV


VelocityShares 3x Long Gold ETN UGLD


ProFunds UltraShort Japan Svc UKPSX


ProFunds Precious Metals UltraSector Inv PMPSX, PMPIX


Rydex Inverse Russell 2000 2x Strategy RYIZX, RYIRX, RYIUX


Direxion Mthly Small Cap Bear 2X DXRSX


ProFunds UltraShort Small-Cap UCPIX, UCPSX




Fidelity Select Gold FSAGX


American Century Global Gold BGEIX, ACGWX, ACGGX, AGGNX, AGYCX


US Global Investors Wld Prec Minerals UNWPX




USAA Precious Metals and Minerals USAGX, UPMMX, UIPMX


ProFunds UltraShort NASDAQ-100 USPIX, USPSX




Rydex Dyn Inverse NASDAQ-100 2X Strat RYVTX, RYCDX, RYVNX


Van Eck Intl Investors Gold INIVX, INIIX, INIYX, IIGCX


US Global Investors Gld & Prec Mtls USERX


Wells Fargo Advantage Prciou Metals EKWDX


Tocqueville Gold TGLDX


ProFunds UltraShort Mid-Cap UIPIX, UIPSX


Franklin Gold and Precious Metals FKRCX, FGADX, FRGOX


Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals OPCSX, OGMNX, OGMCX, OGMIX, OGMBX, OGMYX


OCM Gold Advisors OCMAX


ProFunds UltraShort China UHPIX, UHPSX


First Eagle Gold SGGDX, FEGOX, FEGIX


Rydex Precious Metals RYZCX, RYMPX, RYMNX, RYPMX


Direxion Mthly S&P 500 Bear 2X Inv DXSSX


ProFunds UltraBear URPSX, UPPIX


Rydex Inverse S&P 500 2x Strategy RYTMX, RYTPX, RYCBX


Invesco Gold & Precious Metals IGDBX, IGDCX, IGDAX, IGDYX, FGLPX


ProFunds UltraShort Dow 30 Inv UWPIX


Rydex Inverse Dow 2x Strategy RYCZX, RYCWX, RYIDX


Ramius Strategic Volatility RVOIX, RVOAX


ProFunds UltraShort Intl UXPIX, UXPSX


Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Inv VGPMX


Encompass ENCPX


ProFunds Short Small Cap SHPSX, SHPIX




ProFunds Short NASDAQ-100 SOPSX, SOPIX


ProFunds UltraLatin America UBPIX, UBPSX


Rydex Inverse NASDAQ-100 Strategy RYAAX, RYACX, RYAIX, RYAPX


Direxion Mthly Latin America Bull 2X DXZLX


Comstock Capital Value DRCVX


Rydex Inverse Mid Cap Strategy RYMX, RYCLX, RYAGX


ProFunds Bear BRPSX, BRPIX


Federated Prudent Bear BEARX, PRBCX


Grizzly Short GRZZX


Dimensional Retirement Fxd Inc III DRXIX




During the trailing 12 months, the S&P 500 was up 23%.  The mutual funds listed above were down between -25% to -83%.  If you are a conservative or even a moderate investor, the mutual funds identified above may have not been a suitable investment for you.  Certainly, it is an area to be concerned about if you financial advisor invested your funds in an investment that lost a large percentage.

If you believe that you were invested in an unsuitable mutual fund, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley for a no cost initial consultation.

Call (866) 318-4725


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