In July, 2017, a FINRA arbitrator panel sitting in Los Angeles, CA issued a $1,797,100 binding arbitration award against Wedbush Securities a FINRA registered broker dealer. The award included nearly $1.2 million in punitive damages pursuant to the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Act. The panel also added nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees.
The underlying matter involved structured products and steepeners, synthetic securities that allow speculators to bet on the direction of interest rates. The panel also made an affirmative finding that Wedbush Securities and broker Mark Augusta engaged in unauthorized trading in the Claimant’s account. Among the securities at issue were Citigroup FDG Medium Term, Lloyds TSB Bank Steepner Note, SG Structured Prods Medium Term and Citibank NA Principal Protected MLCD Quarterly Notes
After a seven day arbitration hearing over March and May, 2017, the arbitrators rendered their decision, and awarded the Claimant $250,000 in compensatory damages, with the remainder being commission disgorgement, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs. The panel found Wedbush solely liable, based on Wedbush’s obligation to indemnify Mark Augusta, and no portion of the award is owed by Augusta. The panel, nevertheless found that both Wedbush Securities and Mark Augusta engaged in “improper conduct.” Augusta left Wedbush in May, 2015 after four years with the firm. He is now registered with Hilltop Securities in Del Mar, California.
As a result of this award The Law Office of David Liebrader has opened an investigation into Wedbush Securities and Mark Augusta’s sales of steepeners and structured products.
Mark Augusta’ s broker check lists fifteen customer complaints over 30 years in the brokerage industry.
FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure section 12904 governs the issuance and payments of awards. Key provisions of the rule are that the award may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction, after a motion to confirm the award is filed pursuant to state or federal law. Furthermore, unless the applicable law directs otherwise, all awards rendered under the Code of Arbitration Procedure are final, and are not subject to review or appeal. Grounds for overturning binding FINRA arbitration awards are extremely limited. Wedbush Securities has thirty days to pay the award, or to seek to have the award vacated.
If you are the victim of investment fraud, or if you have lost money investing in structured or synthetic products such as steepeners with Mark Augusta and Wedbush Securities please call The Law Office of David Liebrader at (702) 380-3131 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights and options. Our firm takes cases on a straight contingency fee, with no money up front, and no money owed unless there is a recovery.
There is no charge for the initial consultation, so call (702) 380-3131 today to speak with an experienced securities attorney who will fight to recover your losses.
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.