Erez Law is currently investigating former Hilltop Securities Inc. broker Walter Valenzuela (CRD# 2280224) regarding investment losses due to unsuitable investment recommendations in Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). Valenzuela has been registered with Kestra Investment Services, LLC in San Diego, California since April 2020. Previously, Valenzuela was registered with Hilltop Securities Inc. in Del Mar, California from 2008 to May 2020.
Valenzuela has been the subject of 10 customer complaints between 1999 and 2020, two of which were denied and two were closed without action, according to his CRD report. Recent complaints are regarding:
- June 2020. “Claimants allege excessive trading, unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentation, and elder abuse.” The customer is seeking $250,000 in damages in this pending complaint. The complaint was regarding UITs and corporate debt.
- May 2020. “Claimant alleges unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentation and excessive trading.” The customer is seeking $1 million in damages in this pending complaint. The complaint was regarding UITs, corporate debt, real estate securities, business development companies, and master limited partnerships.
- December 2019. “Customer alleges losses of $50,000.00 and requests settlement compensation.” The customer is seeking $50,000 in damages in this pending complaint.
- July 2018. “Unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentation, excessive trading.” The customer sought $3 million in damages and the case was settled for $100,000. The complaint was regarding UITs.
- August 2017. “Claimant alleges through attorney unsuitable recommendations, unsuitable use of margin, churning, financial exploitation, elder abuse and excessive mark-up/mark-down with respect to municipal bond and UIT trades executed in the account. Also alleges that the representative failed to obtain proper breakpoint discounts for UIT purchases. Subsequent arbitration Statement of Claim filed on November 8, 2017 alleges unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, excessive trading, misrepresentation and elder abuse.” The customer sought $9.5 million in damages and the case was settled for $400,000. The complaint was regarding UITs and municipal debt.
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, Hilltop Securities Inc. may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Valenzuela’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.