Losing money on your securities and investments is bad enough. Losing it because you believe your broker or financial advisor has cheated you is worse. If you believe you have been a victim of intentional misconduct or negligence and need a California securities fraud attorney, the attorneys at Wolper Law Firm, P.A. are here to help. We have recovered money in 99% of our cases for wronged or cheated investors. Call us today at 855.291.2720 for a free consultation about your case.
We Are Here for Individual Investors
People invest in stocks and other financial securities to save for retirement and future goals. It’s natural to trust financial advisors, brokers, and other professionals with hard-earned money. Securities and investments are complex, and you expect those professionals to conduct your business. If you suffer large financial losses, it might be due to market fluctuations or a dishonest broker. You need an experienced securities attorney to help you discover the truth.
Your brokerage firm or financial advisor is supposed to place your interests first. Unfortunately, as countless investors can attest, some brokers do not uphold that responsibility. Fraudulent or negligent brokers may fail to disclose material risks, suggest investments that are contrary to their clients’ instructions, or buy and sell stocks in a way that nets them fees at the expense of their clients. A careless broker may just not be paying attention to your portfolio at a critical time and may miss signals to buy or sell.
Why Do I Need a California Securities Attorney?
There are no guarantees in the investment world. Every investment carries risk, and some carry more risk than others. World events can cause upheavals nobody can predict. If you invest in the securities market and lose money, it does not necessarily mean your advisor or stockbroker did anything wrong.
Losing money does not automatically mean you have a legal claim. Even the great Warren Buffett has lost money in a down market. To make a claim, you must be able to show that you were the victim of intentional misconduct, fraud, or even unintentional negligence.
The complex nature of securities and investments means that to prove fraud or negligence you must show a repeated pattern of improper transactions, deliberate attempts to mislead you, or constant inattention to detail or instructions. These actions must also be violations of federal or state laws. A layperson isn’t expected to know all these rules, so you’ll need a knowledgeable California securities fraud attorney to help you.
About Wolper Law Firm, P.A.
The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. is a client-focused law firm that helps clients recover investment losses. Our securities fraud attorneys in California can pursue claims nationwide in state and federal courts, appear in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (AAA) and JAMS. Our attorneys can represent you in court no matter where the case is being heard.
Recovery of investment losses requires an experienced attorney who can take your case from your first consultation through the trial phase. We prepare each case as if we were going to trial tomorrow, so we are ready from the beginning with all the facts in your case. Our goal is to develop a trusting partnership with our clients that will last.
Lead attorney Matthew Wolper spent some time after law school representing Wall Street banks and brokerage firms in high-value securities matters. This developed his legal expertise and gave him a solid foundation in the securities industry and brokerage firm operations. Mr. Wolper has handled securities cases before FINRA arbitration courts and in state and federal courtrooms. His expertise ranges from traditional stocks and bonds to mutual funds, hedge funds, and penny stocks.
Our California securities fraud lawyers will investigate your case by examining your account statements, broker communications, and other documentation to assess whether anything is amiss and establish what has gone wrong with your account. If you believe you were wronged by an investment advisor or brokerage firm, Wolper Law Firm, P.A. can give you the assistance you need. Call us at 855.291.2720 or visit us online.
Frequently Asked Questions about California Securities Law
These are some questions our clients have asked us about California securities law and protecting themselves from dishonest brokers. If you have similar questions, call our attorneys, or visit our website today.
The Securities Act of 1933 prohibits fraud in the sale of securities and requires that investors receive financial and other information about public securities offerings. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 created the SEC and gave it power to regulate and discipline brokerage firms and their agents.
Each state has its own laws protecting investors, known as “blue-sky” laws. They require companies to register the securities they offer. States license their financial advisors, brokers, and brokerages, so you must invest within your state.
Investment fraud is depressingly common. In 2020, FINRA referred nearly 1,000 cases of fraud and other misconduct for criminal prosecution. That same year, nearly 250 brokers were barred from trading, and 375 more earned temporary suspensions. Investors should not wait to report suspected fraud and misconduct.
Securities fraud elements in California include misrepresentation of a material fact, knowledge of the falsehood, intent to mislead the investor, the investor’s reliance on the falsehood, and damages resulting from the misrepresentation. With this in mind, it is easy for a crooked broker to defraud an investor and can be difficult for the investor to realize what happened.
Greed, carelessness, and the complexity of securities laws are some of the reasons frauds occurs. People typically trust their broker to handle their investments and pay little attention their portfolio unless something goes wrong. This trust lets dishonest brokers omit details or outright lie to their clients when mismanaging their money. Misplaced trust is not a reason to let negligent or criminal brokers off the hook. They owe a fiduciary duty to their clients to manage their money honestly.
Brokers and financial advisers who commit fraud or embezzle their clients’ money, or who commit other criminal acts may be criminally prosecuted. They may face large fines and prison sentences and may lose their securities certificates or brokerage licenses.
Those found guilty of negligence may escape criminal charges, but may be required to repay their clients’ money, and may lose their right to trade or practice as brokers or advisors.
Churning is an illegal method dishonest brokers sometimes use to generate commissions. Brokers earn fees and commissions each time securities are bought and sold. These commissions are paid out of the client’s account. Although buying and selling securities isn’t by itself illegal, doing it too often, or without notifying the client, is. If the broker is earning large commissions and your portfolio isn’t gaining by all the movement, churning could be to blame.
Many brokerage firms include arbitration clauses in their customer agreements to avoid the time and cost of litigation. In arbitration, independent arbitrators hear the evidence and arguments from both sides and then make binding decisions. This decision is final and cannot be appealed, unlike a court case. If the decision goes in your favor, the advisor or broker who committed misconduct will have 30 days to pay you your financial award.
Arbitration has the advantage of being less expensive and less time-consuming than traditional litigation. The disadvantage is that if you lose, you cannot appeal your case. If you are required to arbitrate by the terms of your agreement, our securities attorneys can represent you in your arbitration, just as they would in a trial.
How To Tell if Your Money is at Risk
In a volatile financial market, you can’t always assume that a poorly performing portfolio is your broker’s fault. How can you know whether the problem is the market or a shady broker doing something illegal?
Financial advisors and brokers have a fiduciary duty to their clients. This means that they must always act in their clients’ best interests, not engage in self-dealing or misuse of funds, and be open with their clients. If you notice any of these danger signs, you should have your attorney investigate further:
- Your broker recommends investments that are unsuitable or do not align with your previously stated financial goals and acceptable risk.
- Your broker misrepresents speculative or complicated investment opportunities or fails to fully explain new opportunities when asked.
- You see large, unexpected losses in your portfolio when the market is performing well or, alternatively, sudden gains in your portfolio when the market abruptly drops.
- There are multiple transactions which were not authorized, especially if they take place in a short period of time.
- Your broker abruptly becomes difficult to find, won’t answer your phone calls, or seems disinclined to answer questions.
- There is money missing which cannot be accounted for or which your broker cannot explain.
These are some common signs of misconduct. A prudent investor should keep an eye on the market and their investments and understand what their portfolio is supposed to be doing. You need not know all the complexities of investing, but you should have some idea where your money has gone and what it is doing.
If you have any suspicions that something is not right, you should contact a California securities fraud attorney immediately. We will investigate any suspected misconduct and assist you in taking action. If you believe your financial advisor or broker has misled you, contact Wolper Law Firm, P.A. today. We will review your accounts and ensure your finances are secure.
Make Sure Your Finances Are Secure
You should always check out your broker or financial advisor before investing with them. Just as you wouldn’t trust your car to an unknown mechanic, you shouldn’t trust your money to an unknown brokerage. Multiple agencies and government sites will let you verify the credentials of brokers, brokerage firms, and financial advisors. If you find anything that alarms you, these sites also have mechanisms to report misconduct or fraud.
You should also use your common sense. Protect your money the same way you would protect anything else:
- Say “no” to investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.
- Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into quick investment decisions.
- Walk away from securities that don’t have documentation.
- Don’t buy unregistered securities.
- Ignore anyone who contacts you with an unsolicited securities offering.
- Report fraudulent or suspicious behavior. Let the regulators make the determination.
If despite your precautions you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact our securities lawyer for fraud cases today for help.
Reach Out to a Diligent California Securities Fraud Lawyer
Fraudsters know that most people will be unsure whether they’ve really been defrauded and too ashamed to admit they were fooled. They take advantage of this confusion and embarrassment to continue their fraud. At Wolper Law Firm, P.A., we know that what happened was not your fault. We’re here to help get your money back. We will investigate the facts of your case and talk to the people involved and find out what happened to make it possible.
Once we learn all the details of your case, we’ll advise you about the paths to financial recovery that may be available to you. We will let you know the best ways to proceed after the investigation concludes and the litigation begins. Call a CA securities fraud lawyer today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation at 855.291.2720.
We have a 99% success rate in recovering our clients’ money, and we will do our best to help you, too. Call or visit our website to schedule a free confidential consultation with Wolper Law Firm, P.A.. Our securities attorneys advocate zealously for the rights of defrauded and cheated investors. Call us at 855.291.2720 to learn how we can help you and get your money back.