Did You Suffer Losses from Investments with Newbridge Securities and ForceField Energy Stock Fraud?

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Erez Law is currently investigating Newbridge Securities for losses sustained from investments in ForceField Energy Stock, which has a stock ticker of FNRG.

Recently, a former client of Newbridge Securities filed a FINRA arbitration claim against Newbridge Securities for failure to supervise financial advisor Gerald Cocuzzo (CRD# 4047511) regarding ForceField Energy Stock stock fraud. The retiree is alleged to invest $52,000 in Forcefield Energy stock and has accused Newbridge Securities of the following causes of action: negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision, breach of contract, fraud, and other violations of the securities laws.

In May 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed fraud charges against Forcefield Energy, Inc. who was alleged to defraud investors in three market manipulation schemes orchestrated by ForceField ex-Chairman Richard St. Julien. Cocuzzo pled guilty to his role in the market manipulation scheme, which involved ForceField Energy paying kickbacks in cash to Cocuzzo and other brokers, including:

  • Pranav Patel – Dawson James Securities
  • Maroof Miyana – Legend Securities
  • Naveed Khan – Meyers Associates

The first scheme took place between October 2014 and April 2015 and involved an investor relations professional Jared Mitchell who paid cash kickbacks to the registered representatives in return for recommending and purchasing stock in ForceField energy in customer accounts. Between June 2012 and January 2012, the second scheme involved cash kickbacks (in the amount of 10% of the invested amount) paid to Christopher Castaldo, a former registered representative who was found liable for violating the federal securities laws in 2009, who solicited investors to buy ForceField stock in their brokerage accounts by publicizing it in his investment newsletter to his clients. Between December 2009 and April 2015, the third scheme involved St. Julien who paid Hershel Knippa and Louis Petrossi kickbacks in exchange for soliciting investments in ForceField’s private placement of common stocks and warrants. Knippa and Petrossi solicited investors at conferences and on the Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” show. The illegal conduct was allegedly attempted to be concealed through kickback payments via an offshore nominee and communication through prepaid, disposable cellphones and an encrypted, content expiring messaging app.

Forcefield Energy, Inc. was traded on the NASDAQ from October 15, 2013 to April 20, 2015. The company is involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and licensing of “alternative energy
products and technologies.”

Cocuzzo was registered with Newbridge Securities Corporation in Boca Raton, Florida from 2014 to 2016, when he was terminated following “Indictment from the US district court eastern district of NY.” Previously, he was registered with IAA Financial LLC in Boca Raton, Florida from 2009 to 2015.

Cocuzzo has four pending felony charges against him including, Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Securities Fraud, and Money Laundering Conspiracy.

Cocuzzo has been the subject of nine customer complaints between 2001 and 2016, one of which was withdrawn and two closed without action and two denied, according to his CRD report:

  • December 2016. “Client indicated his displeasure with the purchase of a secondary offering in Forcefield Energy Corp and was upset to see his $50K investment diminished. Client alleged that he now knows the investment was a fraudulent offering.” The customer is seeking $52,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.
  • July 2016. “Claimants allege overconcentration, breach of fiduciary duty/contract, common law fraud, negligent supervision, negligent hiring and a violation of the California securities act.”
  • July 2014. “Client alleges unsuitability.” The customer sought $100,000 in damages and the case was settled for $18,000.
  • September 2005. “Client alleges failure to follow instructions by neglecting to execute a stop loss order.” The customer sought $8,790.35 and the case was settled for $4,950.

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, Newbridge Securities may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Cocuzzo’s customers.

Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against Newbridge Securities for losses sustained from investments in Forcefield Energy Stock FNRG. If you were a client of Newbridge Securities or another firm, 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.

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Author: Jeffrey Erez

The founder of Erez Law, Jeffrey Erez, focuses exclusively on securities arbitration and litigation. Mr. Erez passionately believes in representing aggrieved investors and obtaining justice for his clients through litigation.