Were you the victim of former J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC broker Christopher Bennett (CRD# 2510231)? Bennett was registered with J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC in Louisville, Kentucky from 1995 to 2018.
In February 2018, a former client of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC won an award in a FINRA arbitration for compensatory damages for $445,000 for losses sustained from unsuitable and unauthorized trades among other securities violations. The investors were clients of Bennett.
The causes of action included breach of fiduciary duty, unauthorized trading, suitability, churning, misrepresentation, omission of facts, common law negligence, fraud, failure to supervise, common law negligent supervision, respondeat superior, and violation of Kentucky statutes, regulations, and FINRA Rules, including, without limitation, KRS 292.480; 808 KAR 10: 440, Section 1(12), (13), (18), and (22); 808 KAR 10: 440, Section 2; 808 KAR 10: 030, Section 2 and 3; and FINRA Rules 2010, 2020, 2090, 2111, 3110. The causes of action related to losses to Claimant’s qualified and non-qualified retirement accounts.
The former client alleged that Bennett executed transactions in her accounts without authorizations, allocated her assets in an unsuitable manner for her age and investment objectives without discussing the risks associated with such re-allocation, and engaged in excessive trading in her accounts. The FINRA arbitration hearing was conducted in Louisville, Kentucky.
In July 2020, FINRA barred Bennett after he “consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to provide information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation in response to an amended Form U5 filed by his former member firm that identified a customer complaint alleging that he had conducted trading in her account without her permission. The findings stated that FINRA’s investigation of Bennett expanded to include additional claims by other customers alleging similar misconduct, as well as allegations of unsuitable recommendations.”
In February 2019, Bennett was sanctioned to a $5,000 civil and administrative penalty and fine and was suspended by FINRA for 15 days after he “consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he exercised discretionary trading authority in the accounts of several customers, including a senior investor, without express or written authorization from the customers and without seeking or obtaining his member firm’s prior written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary.”
Bennett has been the subject of 15 customer complaints between 2016 and 2019, one of which was denied, according to his CRD report:
- July 2019. “The former clients allege losses in their accounts as the result of advisor’s recommendation of unsuitable investments. They further allege unauthorized trading, churning, fraud, as well allege that Hilliard Lyons failed to properly supervise advisor.” The customer is seeking $65,000 in damages in this pending complaint.
- January 2018. “Claimant alleges breach of fiduciary duty as well as the misrepresentation and suitability of certain securities.” The customer is seeking $5 million in damages and the case is currently pending.
- May 2019. “Claimants allege unsuitable investments, unauthorized selling and trading, and excessive trading in their accounts.” The customer is seeking $900,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- February 2019. “Claimant alleges violation of the Securities Act of Kentucky, breach of fiduciary duty, and unsuitable investment recommendations.” The customer sought $139,214 in damages and the case was settled for $67,000.
- January 2019. “Client alleges unauthorized trading, unsuitability, overconcentration, churning, and lack of diversification.” The customer sought $559,429 in damages and the case was settled for $150,000.
- December 2018. “Eric Parr who was granted power of attorney over his mother’s (Mary) account felt a holding in the account was an unsuitable investment.” The customer sought $20,000 in damages and the case was settled for $15,000.
- November 2018. “Client alleges unauthorized trading and suitability issues.” The case is currently pending.
- November 2018. “Client expressed concerns over losses in securities, alleged the rep had conducted trading without her permission and that she was charged excessive commissions on those trades. Alleged activity period was 1/1/2014 to 11/20/2018.” The case was settled for $15,000.
- June 2018. “Former client alleges breach of fiduciary duty, violation of Kentucky’s Securities Act, common law fraud, breach of contract, restitution, negligence/negligent misrepresentation, omission, and negligent supervision related to the purchase of Breitburn Energy.” The customer sought $550,000 in damages and the case was settled for $375,000.
- April 2018. “Client, through her attorneys-in-fact, allege representative recommended the purchases of unsuitable securities in her accounts. Alleged actively 10/2013 – 12/2015.” The customer sought $1,581,025 in damages and the case was settled for $470,000.
- January 2018. “Claimant alleges breach of fiduciary duty as well as the misrepresentation and suitability of certain securities.” The customer is seeking $5 million in damages.
- August 2017. “Claimant alleges that registered representative failed to properly diversify and invested in products that exposed the client’s portfolio to significant risk.” The customer sought $311,455 in damages and the case was settled for $350,000.
- July 2017. “Claimants allege unauthorized trading and violation of suitability rules with regard to certain securities from 2014 through 2016.” The customer sought $330,713.07 in damages and the case was settled for $90,000.
- July 2017. “A representative for the client alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unauthorized trading, violation of suitability rules and inadequate risk assessment.” The case is currently pending.
- December 2016. “Client’s daughter/POA alleges the representative engaged in unauthorized trades that were unsuitable. UPDATE–Alleged complaint evolved into arbitration which was received on 4/4/2017.” The customer sought $250,000 in damages and the case was settled for $445,000.
Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Bennett’s customers.
Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against brokers and brokerage firms for wrongdoing. If and have experienced investment losses, please call us at 888-840-1571 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. Erez Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies on a contingency fee basis.