Florida Securities Fraud Attorney

There are many offenses that fall under the umbrella of “broker fraud”. If someone in the securities industry commits an act of greed, negligence, or otherwise does something incompetent that costs you money you may be able to hold them accountable. This includes unauthorized transactions, churning (excessive trading to make commissions), and other types of improper investments.

What can investors do to recoup losses from unscrupulous stockbrokers and financial planners? The system allows investors to seek restitution after suffering unjust financial losses. The process of doing so is not easy; in fact it is very complicated. This is one of many reasons you should hire a seasoned arbitration legal team like Place & Hanley that knows how to advocate justice on behalf of their clients.

The securities industry is policed by FINRA and they have regulators who oversee the conduct of brokers. They give suspensions, give fines, and otherwise keep an eye of things. Compliant brokerage firms require investors to first sign a binding arbitration clause, which means any dispute will be handled in arbitration instead of the regular court of law.

The arbitration process involves lawyers and the arbitrators themselves. In this situation you need a competent attorney who has been through the securities arbitration process before. The attorneys at Place and Hanley have gone through thousands of cases just like yours. These include churning, unauthorized and misrepresented transactions, unsuitable investments, transfer failures, botched execution, unregistered securities (and brokers!), bribery, shoddy research, and other acts of misconduct. There is no aspect of securities we haven’t worked with. The cases we have represented have included bonds (including “junk” ones), stocks, “penny” stocks, commodities, options, REIT’s, mutual funds, limited partnerships, auction-rate securities, collateralized debt obligations, derivative securities, and many other types of investments.

Place & Hanley is proud to have recovered damages on behalf of our clients, sometimes even getting them punitive damages and having our lawyer fees reimbursed. Summaries of securities and stockbroker fraud cases like these that we have worked on can be seen on our website. All of these successful cases can be attributed to the way we approach every case individually. We work hard and concentrate on using our securities industry knowledge to best represent every client.

You will never know if your case has the potential to yield the same kind of rewards unless you are advised by an attorney well-versed in securities. Our attorneys are focused on assisting investors who have been made victims of their stockbroker’s misconduct. If you have lost money because of such misconduct or fraud, call us today for a free consultation at (866) 318-4725.

Posted in Securities Broker Misconduct | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Florida FINRA Arbitration Lawyers

One of FINRA’s roles is oversee disputes that investors may have with their broker or brokerage firm. There have been mandatory arbitration clauses governing transactions within the securities industry since the late 1980s’. If you have done business with a large or national brokerage company, odds are that you were asked to sign FINRA arbitration agreement before starting any transactions. This keeps any fraud of investment malpractice dispute you have with your broker out of the normal court system. This was done because litigation is expensive and time consuming in such cases.

Instead, there is a FINRA arbitration or mediation process that your case would go through. Though out of traditional court, if you brought a case against your brokerage firm you would need a securities arbitration lawyer from a firm such as Place & Hanley.

The arbitration proceedings are overseen by a panel of three arbitrators who are experts at regulation and securities law. As mentioned, even without a jury or judge there are still lawyers present to represent each side. If you want to bring a case against your investment adviser, stock broker, or their company you will need a lawyer who know securities arbitration law.

The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC works to represent those investors who feel like they have been victims of securities fraud. Our offices are located in Naples, Florida, with quick access to clients in Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Tampa. We offer FINRA Arbitration services throughout the state of Florida and nationally as well.

If you or your family has lost their hard-earned money because of securities fraud, you may have a chance to recover your losses. Call us toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Posted in FINRA Arbitration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

SEC and FINRA Warn of Penny Stock Scams

Many investors are lured into purchasing penny stocks. The lure is often that the price per share is very cheap. Furthermore, there are typically news releases touting the merits of the stock. Investors think that this may be a chance to turn a small investment into a large pay-off. However, many times, penny stocks are scams.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an alert warning investors that some penny stocks being aggressively promoted as great investment opportunities may in fact be stocks of dormant shell companies with little to no business operations.

The investor alert provides tips to avoid pump-and-dump schemes. In these scams, the fraudsters deliberately buy shares of very low-priced, thinly traded stocks and then spread false or misleading information to pump up the price. The fraudsters then dump their shares, causing the prices to drop and leaving investors with worthless or nearly worthless shares of stock.

The investor alert highlights five tips to help investors avoid scams involving dormant shell companies:

1. Research whether the company has been dormant – and brought back to life. You can search the company name or trading symbol in the SEC’s EDGAR database to see when the company may have last filed periodic reports.
2. Know where the stock trades. Most stock pump-and-dump schemes involve stocks that do not trade on The NASDAQ Stock Market, the New York Stock Exchange or other registered national securities exchanges.
3. Be wary of frequent changes to a company’s name or business focus. Name changes and the potential for manipulation often go hand in hand.
4. Check for mammoth reverse splits. A dormant shell company might carry out a 1-for-20,000 or even 1-for-50,000 reverse split.
5. Know that “Q” is for caution. A stock symbol with a fifth letter “Q” at the end denotes that the company has filed for bankruptcy.

Attorney Randall Place formerly worked in the Market Regulation Department at Florida. Part of Mr. Place’s job at FINRA was to investigate penny stock scams. Place & Hanley, LLC has won arbitration claims on behalf of clients defrauded in penny stock scams.

If your broker recommends a penny stock, chances are that it is part of a scam. If you have losses in a penny stock recommended by a broker, contact Place & Hanley for a no-cost initial consultation at (239) 455-1242.

Posted in Investor Protection | Tagged , | Leave a comment

FINRA Permanently Bars Omaha, Nebraska Stockbroker Robert John Head

Robert John Head consented to a permanent bar from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA alleged that Head exercised discretion in the account of an elderly customer, who was diagnosed with dementia, without obtaining the customer’s prior written consent to do so. Head was prohibited from placing any trading that the customer had not explicitly and specifically approved. Head also recommended unsuitable investments given the customer’s financial need and medical condition.

Robert John Head was previously registered with:

08/2008 – 01/2014            STIFEL, NICOLAUS & COMPANY, INC.; OMAHA, NE

05/2004 – 08/2008            WELLS FARGO INVESTMENTS, LLC; OMAHA, NE

10/1997 – 06/2004            ROBERT W. BAIRD & CO. INC.; MILWAUKEE, WI

If you had an account where you suffered losses due to unauthorized trading, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for no cost initial consultation.  Call (866) 318-4725.



Posted in General, Investor Protection, Securities Broker Misconduct | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

FINRA Suspends Stockbroker, Benjamin Brown, Jr. for Unauthorized Trading

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended stockbroker Benjamin Brown, Jr. for 10 days and fined him $5000 for unauthorized trading.

FINRA alleged that Brown effected option transactions while exercising discretion in a customer’s account without the customer’s prior written authorization to exercise such discretion and without written permission from his member firm to engage in such discretionary trading.

Brown is not currently registered with a FINRA member.  Brown was formerly registered with the following broker-dealers.


02/2012 – 05/2013 – WHITEWOOD GROUP, INC; GREAT NECK, NY





If you had an account where you suffered losses due to unauthorized trading, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for no cost initial consultation.  Call (866) 318-4725.

(866) 318-4725
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

FINRA Bars Wilmington, Delaware Broker for Alleged Client Theft

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that they barred Michael E. Donnelly.  Donnelly was terminated by Coastal Equities, Inc.   Coastal Equities noted that the reason for termination was “misappropriation of client funds.”

FINRA opened an investigation thereafter but Donnelly failed to cooperate in FINRA’s investigation.  FINRA barred Donnelly from association with any FINRA member.

Donnelly was also associated with Coastal Investment Advisors, Inc., an SEC registered investment advisor.

If you believe that you may be a victim of theft by Michael Donnelly, contact Place & Hanley, LLC for a no fee initial consultation at 866-318-4725.

(866) 318-4725
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment