Erez Law is currently investigating former G.F. Investment Services, LLC financial advisor Richard Martin (CRD# 723309) regarding non-traditional ETFs. Martin was registered with G.F. Investment Services, LLC in Penang, Florida from July 2009 to April 2014 and from April 2014 to July 2015, when he was terminated regarding, “FINRA case: 20150445876 opened 3-25-2015. Wells letter received by Mr. Martin 7-7-2015.” In between, he was registered with Global Strategic Investments, LLC in Miami, Florida for two weeks in April 2014. In July 2009, Martin was terminated from Latam Investments, LLC in Miami, Florida regarding, “A painting belonging to the CEO of the firm was discovered missing. Upon review of the video recording from the office monitoring system the firm positively identified Mr. Martin removing the painting from the CEO’s office early in the morning and then exiting the main door with the painting.”
FINRA has barred Martin from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. According to the complaint, Martin consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he solicited, purchased and recommended his customers hold non-traditional exchange traded funds (ETFs) in their accounts for years, without having a reasonable basis to believe that the non-traditional ETF products he recommended were suitable for any customer and despite the enormous risks associated with holding non-traditional ETFs for more than one trading session.
It is alleged that Martin focused on his prediction of the impending collapse of the monetary and financial system (an apocalyptic crash and a demise of the world economy) and did not account for any other risk, including the risk that his predictions will not come to fruition. Martin recommended non-traditional ETFs to virtually all of his customers, heavily concentrating their investments between 75-99% in non-traditional ETFs, which was unsuitable and caused his customers to sustain significant losses of approximately $8 million, while he received $55,912 in commissions. According to the FINRA findings, “Martin sent communications to the public that failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts, were misleading, and contained exaggerated and unwarranted language, promissory statements and projections of future performance.”
Martin has been the subject of 15 customer complaints between 2006 and 2016, one of which was denied and one was closed without action, according to his CRD report:
- July 2016. “Unsuitable trades.” The customer sought $30,000 in damages and the case was settled for $6,000.
- June 2016. “Unsuitable trades/recommendations.” The customer sought $5,000 in damages and the case was settled for $37,500.
- April 2016. “Unsuitable trades / recommendations.” The customer sought $5,000 in damages and the case was settled for $39,000.
- October 2015. “Unsuitable trade recommendations.” The customer sought $450,000 in damages and the case was settled for $290,000.
- February 2015. “Unsuitable trades.” The customer sought $90,000 in damages and the case was settled for $62,500.
- December 2014. “Poor performance.” The customer sought $2 million in damages and the case was settled for $500,000.
- November 2014. “Unsuitability of ETF trades.” The customer sought $50,000 in damages and the case was settled for $22,500.
- October 2014. “Unsuitability. October 2009 to September 2014. Only 11 trades were done in the account and those positions were held the entire length of the allegation period.” The customer sought $500,000 in damages and the case was settled for $40,000.
- November 2012. “Customer alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unsuitable and unauthorized trading during the time period of 2004 through 2008.” The customer sought $117,500 in damages and the case was settled for $7,500.
- November 2011. “Client alleges short sales were unsuitable for his risk tolerance / account.” The client sought $240,000 in damages and the case was settled for $127,500.
- February 2011. “Customer opened account in November 2009. Client alleges trades placed in her account were not suitable and not consistent with her stated goals. Complaint with the client is now closed and a $40,000 settlement check was issued to her upon her signing a settlement release.” The customer sought $47,694 in damages and the case was settled for $40,000.
- September 2009. “Client alleged unsuitability, churning and negligence in connection with Mr. Martin’s recommendations (made from 2004 to august 2007) to hedge against a catastrophic drop in the economy and with global strategic investment’s recommendation for client to invest in a hedge fund after Mr. Martin was no longer the broker of record.” The client sought $94,742.39 in damages and the case was settled for $8,000.
- February 2006. “Customer alleges that Mr. Martin failed to disclose the mark-up on bond purchases.” The customer sought $402,516.51 in damages and the case was settled for $24,135.
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, G.F. Investment Services, LLC may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Martin’s customers.
Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against G.F. Investment Services, LLC financial advisor Richard Martin, who is alleged to recommend unsuitable non-traditional ETFs. If you were a client of G.F. Investment Services, LLC 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.