In September, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced that registered representative John Waszolek of Scottsdale, AZ, and formerly associated with Raymond James submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Waszolek consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he took unfair advantage of an elderly customer by having the customer give him successor trustee and residual beneficiary roles and responsibilities when he knew of her declining mental condition and lack of testamentary capacity.
The findings stated that John Waszolek knew that the customer had twice been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and suffered from dementia and memory loss. Despite this knowledge, Waszolek procured the appointment as successor trustee and residual beneficiary of the customer’s trust, and following her death, attempted to inherit more than $1.8 million from her estate.
The findings also stated that John Waszolek concealed his roles as a fiduciary to the customer and a beneficiary of her trust from his broker dealer. Waszolek also failed to adhere to the firms’ written procedures when he failed to disclose or receive preapproval for his role as beneficiary or successor trustee of the customer’s trust, or that he had received a healthcare power of attorney over the customer. Waszolek neither sought nor obtained either firms’ approval to act in a fiduciary capacity as to the customer.
John Waszolek ’s registration and disciplinary history
In order to lawfully sell investments to the public, one must either be registered or exempt from registration.
John Waszolek was registered with:
According to FINRA’s CRD disclosure report, John Waszolek has been the subject of two customer complaints and one regulatory investigation.
The Law Office of David Liebrader practices exclusively in the field of investment loss recovery. For the past 23 years, we have dedicated our law practice to assisting investors who have been victims of investment fraud via fraudulent and unsuitable investment transactions. During that time we have recovered money for over one thousand individuals, pension plans, trusts and companies. The recoveries we have obtained via judgments, awards and settlements on behalf of our clients exceed $40,000,000.
When investors contact our firm they can expect prompt attention, and a detailed analysis of their issues. Typical claims that we are asked to review involve “unsuitability (where a financial advisor makes investment recommendations that are inconsistent with a customer’s investment objectives), claims for “churning” (where a broker enters into an excessive number of trades for the purpose of generating commissions), claims involving illiquid investments such as private placements (I.e., real estate investment trusts, limited partnerships, equipment leasing and oil and gas drilling programs) as well as claims for violations of state securities laws, which often provide investors remedies like attorney’s fees and interest, if they are successful on the claim.
Since a Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s, most investment related disputes between brokerage firms and their customers have been filed in an arbitration forum hosted by FINRA Dispute Resolution. FINRA, along with the SEC, serves as a securities industry “watchdog” and regulator. Most brokerage firms require their clients to sign binding arbitration agreements, mandating that any disputes between them be arbitrated at FINRA.
Investors pursuing claims at FINRA typically advance claims related to suitability. FINRA rules require that all registered representatives make suitable investment recommendations to their clients. Other claims are based on negligence or breach of fiduciary duty, while another category includes claims based on misrepresentations and fraud. Most claims filed with FINRA are resolved within 15 months, and oftentimes, the cases are resolved via settlement or mediation in under a year.
FINRA’s rules require that all investment recommendations made by licensed financial advisors be suitable in light of a customer’s needs, objectives and risk tolerance. In addition, all registered representatives are required to be properly supervised, with periodic inspections and reviews by qualified supervisors, whose job it is to vigorously investigate suspicions of wrongdoing (red flags).
If you suspect that you have been the victim of investment fraud, or had a financial advisor recommend unsuitable investments to you, call us today for a free, confidential consultation at (702) 380-3131.