Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer, Esq.

October 19, 2017

When respondents are no longer in business, recovery of arbitration awards against them often is unavailing. Accordingly, FINRA is proposing to amend the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (Code) to expand a customer's options to withdraw an arbitration claim if a firm or an associated person becomes inactive before a claim is filed or during a pending arbitration. In addition, the proposed amendments would allow customers to amend pleadings, postpone hearings and receive a refund of filing fees under these situations.

Former eastern Kentucky social security disability lawyer, Eric Christopher Conn, 56, of Pikeville, Kentucky, and Curtis Wyatt, 47, of Raccoon, Kentucky, were charged in a federal Indictment in the Eastern District of Kentucky with one count of conspiracy to escape and one count of conspiracy to fail to appear for sentencing.  Conn is also charged with one count of escape and one count of failing to appear.  Wyatt is also charged with one count each of assisting in Conn's escape, aiding and abetting Conn's failure to appear, and making a false statement to the FBI. READ the Indictment

Wyatt pleaded not guilty and Conn remains a fugitive.

As set forth in the Press Release, while on home confinement, Conn allegedly:

escaped from custody by severing an electronic monitoring device from his ankle during a court-approved visit to Lexington on June 2, and fled to the Mexican border in a vehicle delivered to him by Wyatt a day earlier.  The indictment further alleges that Wyatt, at Conn's direction and prior to Conn's escape, crossed into Mexico at two different pedestrian checkpoints to assess security procedures for individuals exiting the United States in an effort to aid Conn in escaping prior to Conn's sentencing hearing.  According to the indictment, Conn ultimately failed to appear for his sentencing hearing on July 14.

Conn was indicted last year, along with a former Social Security administrative law judge and a clinical psychologist, in an 18-count indictment charging conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, false statements, money laundering and other related offenses in connection with a $600 million social security disability fraud scheme.  Conn previously pleaded guilty on March 24, to a two-count information charging him with theft of government money and paying illegal gratuities, and was sentenced in absentia on July 14, to 12 years in prison on those charges.  Conn remains charged under the original indictment.

Starting sometime around October 2013 through at least September 2016, Christopher Wilson a/k/a "Eric Fields,", 32, of Teaneck, New Jersey; Jack Kavner, a/k/a "Bob Wiley," a/k/a "Phil Powers,", 31, of West New York, New Jersey; and Daniel Quirk, a/k/a "Lou Epstein," a/k/a "Bill Huckabee," a/k/a "Josh Newman", 33, of Little Ferry, New Jersey allegedly operated telemarketing companies that targeted largely 70-year-old-plus victims by promising to earn them money in exchange for an initial cash investment in what was fraudulently depicted as business development, website design, grant applications, or tax preparation services. When these victims requested refunds or challenged credit card charges, the telemarketing companies falsely represented to the credit card companies that the promised services had been provided. READ the Superseding Indictment

Defendants  Wilson, Kavner, and Quirk were each charged in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Wilson was also charged with one count of destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in a federal investigation, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

Brokerage Customer Says That What Looks Like A Complaint Wasn't So Intended ( Blog)

You tell me: What constitutes a "Complaint." 

Okay, fine, let's go with your definition. 

Now, what happens if a brokerage firm customer sends a letter to the firm indicating that he was disappointed in his account's performance? Using your definition of a complaint, is that customer's letter a "Complaint?" 

Next, what happens if you are a compliance officer at the brokerage firm and you read the customer's letter questioning his account's performance? Should that compliance officer deem the letter as constituting a reportable customer complaint? 

No, don't go anywhere, I got one more twist for you, what happens if the customer says that the letter was never intended to be viewed as a "formal" complaint? 

Today's Blog tackles the fascinating issue of whether a letter from a customer that seems to be a "complaint," is, in fact, a complaint in light of the customer's renunication of any such intent.  READ