Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

July 23, 2019

TD Ameritrade launches an in-car feature that lets drivers check stocks, get prices while in traffic (
As set forth in part in the CNBC article:

The financial services company announced in-vehicle features Monday that let drivers check their balances and portfolio performance, or get a stock quote through voice commands from behind the wheel.
. . .
Executives pointed to a report by data company Inrix that said drivers lost an average of 97 hours last year due to congestion. It said the cost of sitting in traffic nationwide was close to $87 billion - an average of $1,348 per driver.

Bill Singer's Comment: According to "How Much Time Do We Spend On the Toilet Each Week?" (

[P]eople spend an average of 3 hours and 9 minutes on the toilet per week. If you do that math, it's about 27 minutes a day! But why is this potty poll trending today? Because people are spending more time sitting on the toilet than working out. 

According to Wikipedia (yes, everything you could possibly want to know is on Wikipedia), there are 252 trading days in 2019. So, let's see, 252 trading days times 27 minutes is 6,804 minutes, which divided by 60 equals 113.4 hours per year of time lost trading stocks when we are on the toilet. Wow, we lost more time tryin' to take a crap (113.4 hours) than sitting in traffic (97 hours)! I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before TD Ameritrade launches an on-toilet feature that let's commode users check stocks and get prices while in the midst of, well, you know. Maybe TD Ameritrade will cross-market its in-car and on-toilet devices with a high-fiber supplement so as to avoid "traffic congestion" and get folks moving on and off the old commode. Can't wait to see the television ads.
Elder fraud is all the rage these days. Nary a day goes by when we don't read about some horrific fraud being worked against senior citizens. Thankfully, federal and state prosecutors/regulators have been stepping up their efforts to pursue the predators who victimize senior citizens. Unfortunately, the old habits of bureaucracies die hard. Instead of spending every precious penny and second on investigation and prosecution, we see dollars and time diverted into public relations ploys. We got a task force hosting a roundtable! Why this penchant for silliness? Well, it does generate publicity and burnishes the resumes of so many consultants and brown-nosers.
John William Alderson pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. Previously, Alderson was sentenced to 41 months in prison and disbarred pursuant to his 2003 conviction for wire fraud and Social Security fraud. As set forth in part in the DOJ Release:

[I]n 2014, ALDERSON met and began a romantic relationship with the victim and stole the victim's identity to open multiple credit card accounts and incurred more than $260,000 in debt.  All the while ALDERSON lied about his age, claimed to be independently wealthy, and concealed his prior criminal conviction and disbarment.  Prosecutors have agreed to recommend no more than 54 months in prison when ALDERSON is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones on November 1, 2019. 

According to the plea agreement, ALDERSON moved into his victim's home in 2015 and gained access to the victim's personally identifying information.  Using that information ALDERSON opened the credit card accounts and pretended to be the victim to dispute charges on the credit cards.  One of the charges incurred on the cards was for ALDERSON to have plastic surgery at a Bellevue clinic.  Those charges traveled interstate, constituting wire fraud.  ALDERSON induced the victim to write him checks that were to be deposited in a joint investment account but instead were used by ALDERSON for his own expenses.  ALDERSON forged letters and emails from various attorneys representing that ALDERSON was to receive a large financial settlement.  Those representations were false.  ALDERSON also used the identity of relatives living in Enumclaw to open an additional credit card account resulting in more than $38,000 in fraud.  ALDERSON admits to a total fraud loss of more than $262,712.

Ameriprise Sought Permanent Injunction Forcing Future Employers to Disgorge Bonuses as Repayment. In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Claimant, v. Jeffrey E. Krupnick, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration Decision 17-03080)
In a FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim field in November 2017 and as amended, Claimant Ameriprise asserted breach of Promissory Note and unjust enrichment. Claimant sought at the close of the hearing, $90,453.07 in compensatory damages, $28,718.83 in ineterest, $28,718.83 in attorneys fees; $6,336 in estimated future attorneys' fees, $5,757.44 in costs, and $525 in estimated additional costs. Respondent Krupnick representing himself pro se generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses. The sole FINRA Arbitrator found Respondent Krupnick liable to and ordered him to pay to Claimant Ameriprise, $90,452.07 in compensatory damages plus interest, $12,000 in attorneys' fees, and $1,000 in reimbursed filing fees. Of interest in this matter was that Claimant sought (but was subsequently denied):

permanent injunctive relief in the form of an order directing Respondent to make a legally enforceable request to any new or subsequent employer to disgorge any bonuses to Claimant in order to repay all amounts owed to Claimant by Respondent . . . 

FINRA Arbitrators Bar Respondent From Presenting Defense and Facts at Hearing. In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Nicholas Ahuja, Ajay Ahuja,  Dr. Ajay Ahuja Deutsche Bank IRA, Claimants, v. Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc., Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc., Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., and David Wilson Fleming, Respondents (FINRA Arbitration Decision 17-01369)
In a FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in May 2017, Claimants asserted unsuitability, misrepresentations of risk, materiality of omissions, misrepresentations, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision, respondeat superior, violation of FINRA's Conduct Rules. Claimants sought compensatory damages, interest, fees, and costs. Respondents generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses. The FINRA Arbitration Panel granted Claimants' Motion to Bar Respondent Fleming from presenting defense and facts at the hearing pursuant to:

FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes Rule 12308: Loss of Defenses Due to Untimely or Incomplete Answer

(a) If a party does not answer within the time period specified in the Code, the panel may, upon motion, bar that party from presenting any defenses or facts at the hearing, unless the time to answer was extended in accordance with the Code. The party may also be subject to default proceedings under Rule 12801, if the conditions of Rule 12801(a) apply. . . 

The FINRA Arbitration Panel found Respondent Fleming liable to and ordered him to pay Claimant Nicholas Ahuja $401,000 plus interest, Claimant Ajay Ahuja $327,000 plus interest. Further, the Panel found Respondent Fleming liable to and ordered him to pay to the Claimants $35,000 in unpaid loan plus $30,605 in expert witness fees. Nice job by Claimants' lawyer, veteran industry litigator David Robbins, Esq. of  Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins LLP.

FINRA Arbitrators Find Customer Did Not Intend to Complain. In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Michael R. Kanner, Claimant, v. Edward D. Jones & Co., Respondent  (FINRA Arbitration Decision 17-01369)
In a FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in January 2019, associated person Claimant Kanner wouth the expungement of a customer complaint from his Central Registration Depository record ("CRD").  In recommending expungement, the FINRA Arbitration Panel noted that the deceased customer's next of kin had been notified of the expungement hearing but did not contest the requested relief or participate in the hearing. After making a FINRA Rule 2080 finding that the customer's claim, allegation, or information is factually impossible or clearly erroneous, and false; and that Kanner was not involved in the alleged investment-related sales practice violation, forgery, theft, misappropriation, or conversion of funds, the Panel offered this rationale:

The claim against Claimant arose from a letter signed by an elderly customer of Respondent. The letter claimed that Claimant pushed the customer into investing in risky mutual funds, that the mutual funds declined, that Claimant failed to communicate with her and that the mutual funds lost over $20,000.00. The letter was typed by another financial advisor but signed by the customer. After learning of the complaint against Claimant, the customer sent two letters in which she advised that she had been asked by another financial advisor to sign the complaint letter without reading it and that she had not written the letter. The customer stated that she did not want to be a part of the complaint or investigation against Claimant and felt that the complaint was fraudulent. She requested that the charges against Claimant be dropped.

Based upon the fact that the customer did not intend to actually file a complaint against Claimant, the Panel recommends expungement because (1) the claim was clearly erroneous, (2) the registered person was not involved in the alleged investment-related sales practice violation and (3) the claim is false.