In September, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced that registered representative Vikas Goel of Chino Hills, CA and associated with Newport Coast Securities submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was fined $10,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months.
Without admitting or denying the allegations, Vikas Goel consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he falsified customer documents by obtaining and maintaining pre-signed customer forms. The findings stated that Goel obtained customer signatures on one set of documents and then copied the signature pages and used them for multiple sets of documents for the same customer while transferring customer accounts to his broker dealer from his former firm. Goel maintained pre-signed account transfer documents, as well as other documents requiring a customer’s signature, in his files throughout his employment with the firm. His firm conducted an unannounced audit of Goel’s branch office files and discovered the documents that were either blank forms pre-signed by a customer or forms completed using an earlier obtained signature.
Goel’s suspension is in effect from August 17, 2015, through February 16, 2016.
Vikas Goel’s registration and disciplinary history
In order to lawfully sell investments to the public, one must either be registered or exempt from registration.
Vikas Goel was registered with:
NEWPORT COAST SECURITIES, INC.
LPL FINANCIAL LLC
According to FINRA’s CRD disclosure report, Vikas Goel has been the subject of two customer complaints and two regulatory investigations.
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.