Articles Posted in Ameriprise Financial Services

The Financial Regulator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently announced a settlement with five brokerage firms–Ameriprise Financial Services, Commonwealth Financial Services, Lincoln Financial Advisors, Securities America and Royal Alliance Associates–over the unsuitable sale of a particularly risky real estate investment trust referred to as a “non-traded REIT” due to the fact that this type of REIT has limited liquidity and cannot be freely sold on the open market. See related blog post: Investors Beware: Non-Listed REITs

  • Inland Real Estate Trust, Inc.
  • Inland Western Real Estate Trust, Inc.

sec crest.bin.jpgOn February 14, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against Brenda Esbach of Tustin, California charging her with numerous securities fraud violations. The activity in question began while Brenda Esbach was employed as an investment advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services and continued after she left Ameriprise and began working with Aventine Investment Services, Inc. and Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that, instead of making investments as directed by her clients, Esbach misappropriated the funds using them to pay personal and business expenses, including private school tuition and trips to Las Vegas. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Esbach agreed to provide restitution to her victims in the amount of $2,561,873.

Esbach, who has also been the subject of several investor lawsuits and securities arbitration claims, is awaiting sentencing in a related Federal prosecution where she entered a guilty plea to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering back in September 2011.

Since my last two blog postings about the Medical Capital securities class action lawsuits pending in California, I have heard from several investors that were defrauded into purchasing not only Medical Capital Holdings, but also Provident Asset Management. Brokers who recommended either one of these private placement investments have a lot of explaining to do. Before recommending any investment, brokers have a fiduciary duty to exercise due diligence in determining whether an investment is appropriate and suitable for their customer. Defrauded investors interested in recouping their investment losses should consider all of their legal options, including the filing of a securities arbitration claim against their stockbroker or investment advisor that recommended the investment.

Below is a brief overview of the Provident Asset Management and Medical Capital securities fraud matters.

Provident Asset Management

Here is a bit of good news for investors with securities arbitration claims against 14 of the largest brokerage firms, including Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Wells Fargo. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has agreed to extend its year-old pilot program established to give investors the option to request an arbitration panel composed entirely of arbitrators that are not affiliated with the securities industry. Currently, a 3-person arbitration panel must include one industry arbitrator and two public arbitrators. The pilot program was created in response to criticism over whether an industry arbitrator, such as a stockbroker or branch manager, can act impartially when a customer is complaining about securities fraud or account mismanagement by their broker. I’ve participated in arbitrations with both good and bad industry arbitrators. The trouble is, allowing an industry arbitrator to sit on a panel gives the appearance of bias and takes away from the legitimacy of the proceedings. That should be reason enough to dump the industry arbitrator. My California securities law firm is in favor of the pilot program and we have been actively encouraging clients to participate whenever possible.

The brokerage firms who have agreed to participate in the pilot program are:

Ameriprise Financial Services Charles Schwab Chase Investment Services Citigroup Global Markets Edward Jones Fidelity Brokerage Services LPL Financial Merrill Lynch Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Oppenheimer Raymond James TD Ameritrade UBS Financial Services Wells Fargo Advisors / Wachovia Securities

Investors Have Choice to Make Regarding Medical Capital Corporation Fraud Recovery

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for medcap.jpgA class action lawsuit was filed in the Central District of California on September 18, 2009, against brokerage firms Cullum & Burks Securities, Inc., Securities America, Inc., Ameriprise Financial, Inc., and CapWest Securities, Inc., on behalf of investors who purchased so called “Medical Capital Notes” issued by Medical Provider Financial Corp. III, IV, V and/or VI on or after September 18, 2006.

The class action alleges that the defendant brokerage firms made materially false and misleading representations in the sale of the sale of the Medical Capital Notes. This class action has not yet been certified by the court. If the class is certified, the parties will be required to submit a proposed timeline for class members that want to opt out of the class action. Class members that elect to opt out can file a claim for their Medical Capital losses with FINRA. For more information about opting out of a class action and submitting an arbitration claim, please see our blog posting: Securities Arbitration vs. Class Actions: Consider Your Options. Investors who purchased Medical Capital Notes from brokerage firms that were not named as defendants are currently not included in the class action. If you believe you have a meritorious securities claim, speak with a securities attorney to discuss your rights and the advisability of opting out based on your individual circumstances.