A FINRA arbitration panel has fined Wedbush Securities Incorporated, founder Edward Wedbush, and broker Debbie Michelle Saleh to pay $2,865,885 in damages. The victim of this securities case was Rick Cooper, an elderly investor. His securities claim alleged breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, failure to supervise, intentional misrepresentation and omissions, unauthorized transaction, unsuitable transactions, emotional abuse, elder abuse, and churning related to transactions of unspecified variable annuities.
Cooper’s securities fraud lawyers claim that Saleh sent him bogus monthly account statements, forged his signature, and conducted transactions that he hadn’t authorized, including the buying and selling of annuities and other financial products that were not suitable for him.
While Cooper’s account balances went down to one-third of $1.86 million, Saleh is accused of making money from fees and commissions that she charged him. The FINRA panel found that Saleh purposely misrepresented information about Cooper’s investments and she did make unauthorized transactions. The panel believes that Saleh of acting intentionally to defraud her clients. They said her actions either bordered on or actually were acts of “criminal misconduct.”
Of the $2.9 million, Saleh must pay $500,000 plus $1 million in punitive damages. Wedbush and its founder have to pay $500,000. Saleh, Wedbush, and Edward Wedbush also have to pay 10% annual interest on the damages, Cooper’s legal fees, and his other costs. Wedbush has to pay 100% of the arbitration forum fees, which is about $33,300. Two years ago, Saleh, who is no longer with Wedbush, has been permanently barred from the securities by FINRA.
Cooper is not the only person to file a securities claim against Saleh accusing her of misconduct. She is at the center of 4 investigations and 10 client complaints.
Wedbush has been named in at least 53 regulatory events and 52 arbitrations. Failure to supervise was a common complaint.
Failure to Supervise
Our securities fraud lawyers cannot stress how important it is for broker-dealers and investment advisers to properly supervise their brokers, advisers, other employees, and independent contractors. Not only must appropriate supervision take place, but also procedures of supervision have to be designed, implemented, and executed. Also, an employee assigned a supervisory role must complete specialized training to receiver a supervisor license from the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).
In the event that the broker engages in any type of misconduct or other wrongdoing, his/her supervisor and the financial firm can be held liable for allowing the alleged acts to take place-even if the employee that actually engaged in the wrongdoing isn’t found liable. You will want to work with a securities fraud law firm that knows how to prove that failure to supervise occurred.
FINRA Panel Orders Wedbush, Former Broker to Pay Investor $2.9M, OnWallStreet.com, August 31, 2011
FINRA Arbitrators Award Millions in Elder Abuse Case, Forbes, September 1, 2011
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FINRA Panel Orders Wedbush Securities to Pay $233,000 in Securities Fraud Damages, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, March 28, 2011
Wedbush Ordered By FINRA Panel To Pay $3.5M to Trader Over Withheld Compensation, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, July 16, 2011
SEC Charges Filed in $22M Ponzi Scam that Targeted Florida Teachers and Retirees, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 29, 2011 Continue reading