17 Customer Complaints Pending Against FINRA-Barred Former A.G.P. / Alliance Global Partners Broker and Investment Advisor Michael F. Shillin
Michael F. Shillin (CRD#: 5927156) was previously registered as a Broker and a Financial Advisor for A.G.P. / Alliance Global Partners from 2018-2020. He entered the securities industry in 2011 and previously worked for Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., and Edward Jones.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Michael Shillin has been the subject of 17 customer complaints, most of which are pending. Among the customer complaints against Michael Shillin include the following:
● March 2021—”FA recommended withdrawing funds from a 401k to fund the purchase of a life and long term health insurance policy, and misrepresented that premiums would be paid from the policies’ dividends after 5 years.”
● February 2021—”Client stated that Mr. Shillin told him that he owned pre-IPO shares of SpaceX, even though the client did not pay for those securities and does not own them.” This customer dispute is pending.
● February 2021—”Clients stated that Mr. Shillin made misstatements about the taxability of withdrawals from IRA accounts, resulting in tax issues for the clients. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin told them that they owned pre-IPO shares of SpaceX, even though the clients did not pay for those securities and does not own them.” This customer dispute is pending.
● February 2021—”Clients stated that Mr. Shillin made misstatements about the taxability of withdrawals from an annuity and accounts at AGP, resulting in tax issues for the clients.”
● February 2021—”Clients stated that Mr. Shillin misrepresented the features of insurance policies which appear to have been purchased before Mr. Shillin’s employment with AGP. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin mismanaged their retirement funds resulting in poor investment performance.
● February 2021—”Client stated that Mr. Shillin recommended an IRA rollover that caused a taxable event, and that Mr. Shillin charged management fees that were higher than the amount that had been agreed upon. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin told him that he owned pre-IPO shares of SpaceX and Palantir, although it does not appear that the client ever purchased those shares. Further, client stated that Mr. Shillin lied about creating a living trust for him.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client stated that Mr. Shillin provided them with an inaccurate, falsely inflated value of pre-IPO shares of SpaceX that had been purchased by the client.” The customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client was told by Mr. Shillin he had purchased pre-IPO shares of SpaceX and Palantir. The client did not pay for these securities, and does not own them. The client further stated that Mr. Shillin gave him poor advice about the amount of money he could remove from his account per month.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Clients indicated they are having tax and insurance issues based on Mr. Shillin’s advice. Clients indicated Mr. Shillin provided a falsified 1099 for 2019 in an attempt to coverup his bad advice.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Clients stated that (a) they retired in 2015 and 2016, and made other financial decisions, based on misrepresentations made by Mr. Shillin about their financial situation and account balances; (b) Mr. Shillin recommended that they cash in a paid insurance product to fund a different policy, and that this policy has lapsed due to Mr. Shillin’s misrepresentations, and (c) Mr. Shillin told them they owned pre-IPO shares of SpaceX and Palantir, even though the clients did not pay for those securities and do not own them.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client stated that he was supplied with a falsified 1099 by Mr. Shillin which caused tax and other issues, including with the receipt of a federal stimulus check. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin misrepresented Enterprise Zone formation and associated taxation. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin told him he owned pre-IPO shares of SpaceX and Palantir, even though the client did not pay for those securities and does not own them.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client stated that he was supplied with a falsified 1099 from Mr. Shillin which caused tax issues. Client further stated he based retirement decisions on Mr. Shillin’s misrepresentations about his financial status. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin told him that he had purchased pre-IPO shares of SpaceX and Zoom.” This customer complaint is pending.
● January 2021—”Clients stated that they retired based on false information that Mr. Shillin provided to them as to the value of their accounts in 2014. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin misled them about the source of their monthly distributions by stating that they represented income on their investments, when they appear to have been disbursements of the principal in their accounts.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Clients stated that Mr. Shillin misrepresented the features of an insurance policy they purchased in 2015 (while at a different firm). The clients indicated they were misled about the source of distributions from their accounts at AGP. The clients further indicated that they had tax issues based on bad advice from Mr. Shillin, and that Mr. Shillin reimbursed them for those amounts. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin told them they owned pre-IPO shares of Spacex. It does not appear that the clients ever paid for the shares of SpaceX.”
● January 2021—”Clients stated that they have tax, insurance, social security, and related issues arising out of falsified 1099s provided by Mr. Shillin. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin told them they owned pre-IPO SpaceX shares. It does not appear that the clients ever paid for the shares of SpaceX shares.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client stated that Mr. Shillin misrepresented the features of a life insurance product purchased in 2014 while Mr. Shillin worked for Edward Jones. Client further indicated that Mr. Shillin misrepresented that monthly ACH deposits were coming from a life insurance company when they were coming from the client’s own funds. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin told him he owned pre-IPO SpaceX shares, and that he was provided a falsified 1099. It does not appear that the client ever paid for the shares of SpaceX.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Client stated that Mr. Shillin provided bad advice in regard to taking distributions from an IRA account, and provided poor advice regarding his business. Client also stated that Mr. Shillin told him he owned pre-IPO SpaceX shares. It does not appear that the client ever paid for the shares of SpaceX.” This customer dispute is pending.
● January 2021—”Clients stated that Mr. Shillin guaranteed them they would not lose any principal in their account, but they lost $17,336 in an IRA based on his bad advice. The clients also stated that Mr. Shillin advised him not to speak to AGP employees in late September 2020 (shortly before Mr. Shillin resigned). Clients also expressed concerns about statements made at a “town hall” meeting held by Mr. Schillin’s successor (Jake Jansen) in December 2020.” This customer dispute was settled for $10,000.
● December 2020—”Without admitting or denying the findings, Shillin consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to produce information or documents or give on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA. The findings stated that Shillin’s member firm filed a Form U5 stating that he had resigned while under investigation for creating and altering documents and e-mails designed to show the existence of a long term care insurance policy that did not exist, for directly making a series of payments to the beneficiary of the non-existent long term care insurance policy, and for making material misstatements and providing falsified/altered documents to firm personnel during the investigation in an apparent effort to explain the situation. The firm filed an amended Form U5 stating that a client had complained that Shillin made misrepresentations relating to the amount and source of expected dividends in his account.” FINRA indefinitely barred Michael F. Shillin indefinitely beginning December 21, 2020. For a copy of Michael F. Shillin’s FINRA disciplinary action details, click here.
● December 2020—“Clients stated that starting in or around October 2019 (or possibly earlier), Michael Shillin misrepresented the amount and source of expected dividends and funds in their accounts. Clients also stated that Mr. Shillin told them that they owned SpaceX stock and had significant profits in that stock, when in fact, the clients did not buy or own SpaceX stock. Clients also stated that they told Mr. Shillin that they had a tax liability of approximately $13k based on reporting of supposed profits and income. Client stated that Shillin said there was no tax liability and that he would resolve the issue and submit the clients’ tax returns to the IRS for them. Clients indicated the issue was not resolved and tax returns were never filed.” This complaint is pending and the damages requested are $13,000.00
● December 2020—“Clients stated that Michael Shillin provided them with falsified 1099 forms for 2019, causing the clients to complete an inaccurate tax return for 2019. Clients also stated that they took more money out of husband’s IRA in 2019 than they otherwise would have based on Mr. Shillin’s advice and misrepresentation that the interest on the bonds that they held in their individual accounts was tax-free.” This complaint is pending and damages of $5,000 are requested.
● December 2020—“Client complained that in 2020, Mr. Shillin made misrepresentations and provided bad advice in connection with the viability of a life insurance policy purchased in 1988, and the resolution of a claim by one of the beneficiaries of that policy. The client stated that Mr. Shillin advised them to pay the complaining beneficiary approximately $18,000 from a separate account and then reimburse that account when the money was received from the insurance company. To date, it appears that no insurance proceeds have ever been received by the client or any of the beneficiaries. Instead, it appears that the subject insurance policy lapsed in 2006, and that no such proceeds will ever be forthcoming.” The complaint is pending with $18,466.00 in damages requested.
● December 2020—“Client indicated that Mike Shillin attempted to switch his (and separately his wife’s) life insurance from State Farm to John Hancock in July 2018. His wife’s policy was switched, but the documentation Client received regarding his policy switch appears to be falsified as John Hancock indicated to him that he had no policy with John Hancock, and the policy number was not for Client (He discovered this fact recently). A check drawn from State Farm for $29,658.78 was deposited into Client’s joint brokerage account in April 2019. The money stayed in the account; and was not used to pay for any insurance policy. A review of Firm emails indicates Client was rejected for the policy in underwriting, but Mr. Shillin did not relay this information to Client. Client provided copies of multiple texts from Mr. Shillin which stated Client had a valid policy with John Hancock. He also provided copies of John Hancock documents he received directly from Mr. Shillin.” The complaint is pending and damages of $30,000.00 are requested.
● December 2020—“The client advised that Michael Shillin provided a written account summary that reflected the ownership of certain securities (including SpaceX pre-IPO shares) that, in fact, were not purchased for the client. Client believes he has been “misled” by Mr. Shillin. It does not appear that the client ever paid for the shares he claims Mr. Shillin told him that he owned, and it further appears that no funds are missing from the client’s account.” The complaint is pending with $5,000.00 requested in damages.
● November 2020—“Complaint alleges that Mr. Shillin told [REDACTED] that he had purchased shares of SpaceX Series G Founders Shares in October 2019 or December 2019. Client further alleges the investment was for $20,000 (although he alleges that $25,000 was withdrawn from the account); and that Mr. Shillin promised the SpaceX shares would be delivered into client’s account.” The complaint is pending and $5,000.00 is requested in damages.
● November 2020 – FINRA Department of Enforcement opened an investigation “To determine whether violations of the federal securities laws or FINRA, NASD, or MSRB rules have occurred.
● October 2020—“The client alleged that Mr. Shillin made misrepresentations relating to the amount and source of expected dividends in his account.” The complaint was settled for $22,991.67.
In addition, Michael Shillin has employment disclosures relating to his sales practices. In October 2018, ”Mr. Shillin resigned while under investigation for (a) creation and alteration of documents and e-mails designed to show the existence of a long term care (LTC) insurance policy in favor of a “beneficiary” who was not a client of the Firm, when in fact, that policy did not exist, and (b) for directly making a series of payments to the “beneficiary” of the non-existent LTC policy. In addition, Mr. Shillin made material misstatements and provided falsified/altered documents to Firm personnel during the investigation in an apparent effort to explain the situation. The investigation to date has not uncovered any evidence of diversion of funds.”
Previously, in May 2018, Michael F. Shillin was discharged from Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. after the following allegation was made: “failure to follow firm directive regarding the payment of client CPA fees.”
For a copy of Michael F. Shillin’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.
Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.
FINRA has defined the standards in which investment recommendations made by brokerage firms and registered financial advisors are evaluated. The FINRA suitability rule focuses on three fundamental concepts: (1) reasonable basis suitability, (2) quantitative suitability, and (3) customer-specific suitability.
● Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.
● Quantitative suitability requires a brokerage firm or financial advisor with actual or de facto control over a customer’s account to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of recommended transactions – even if suitable when viewed in isolation – is not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s investment profile. No single test defines excessive activity, but factors such as the turnover rate, the cost-equity ratio, and the use of in-and-out trading in a customer’s account may provide a basis for a finding that a member or associated person has violated the quantitative suitability obligation.
● Customer-specific suitability requires that a member or associated person have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommendation is suitable for a particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile. Among the criteria that a financial advisor must evaluate to satisfy his or her customer-specific suitability obligations include the investor’s age, other investments, financial situation and needs, tax status, and investment objectives. Other considerations include the customer’s time horizon, liquidity needs, risk tolerance, and any other information disclosed by the customer.
Failure by a financial advisor to adhere to these requirements, including misrepresenting the nature of securities purchases, their characteristics or potential liabilities to the investor, may be evidence of negligence or, worse, investment fraud. If you as the investor can establish, at a minimum, negligent misconduct, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.
The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at (800) 931-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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