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Former Legend Equities Corporation Financial Advisor Walter Marino Suspended by FINRA for Excessive Commissions

Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 at 10:52 am    

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Erez Law is currently investigating former Legend Equities Corporation financial advisor Walter Marino (CRD# 2121623) regarding unsuitable recommendations and excessive commissions in customer accounts.

Marino was registered with Marino was registered with Benjamin Securities, Inc. in Hauppauge, New York from November to December 2016. Lincoln Investment in Dix Hills, New York from October 2015 to October 2016, when he was terminated regarding, “Advisor made an unsuitable recommendation to a client to fully surrender an annuity without knowing the surrender fees that would be incurred by the clients. Firm stopped the transaction and the annuity contract was reinstated, with no harm to client. Rep was on heightened supervision at Lincoln due to his termination from his prior firm for annuity-related violations of firm policy.” Following that, Marino was registered with Planmember Securities Corporation in Farmingville, New York from August to September 2015.

Marino was registered with Legend Equities Corporation in Bohemia, New York from July 2002 to August 2015, when he was terminated regarding, “Firm discovered what rep. represented as a non-replacement va sale was in fact a replacement.”

Marino was also terminated from Brill Securities Inc. in New York, New York in August 2001 regarding, “Claimant contends that RR engaged in unauthorized trading activity and disregarded claimants investment objectives,10/20/2000 thru 10/24/2001.”

In October 2017, Marino was suspended by FINRA for one year after he was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that he recommended unsuitable replacements (also known as exchanges) of non-qualified variable annuities to two customers without having a reasonable basis for recommending the transactions resulting in benefits to him and substantial financial harm to his customers. According to the complaint, Marino received commissions of approximately $60,000 from the unsuitable transactions, while his suffered financial harm due to the costs incurred as a result of the annuity replacements. It is alleged that Marino failed to utilize the tax-free exchange available, causing the customers to incur significant tax liabilities. The complaint alleged that the new annuities resulted in an increase in annual mortality and expense charges, a new, annual advisory fee of 1.5% of the new annuity’s value, and new surrender periods. The complaint also alleges that Marino lied to his member firm to evade the supervisory scrutiny, by stating that the funds being used to purchase the new annuities as being from a “check” or money market funds and not replacing existing annuities.

Marino has been the subject of 15 customer complaints between 1996 and 2016, according to his CRD report:

November 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in his account.” The case was settled for $20,000.

October 2016. “The firm received a phone call from the client after he heard about the Firm’s internal review being conducted on accounts of a former advisor’s clients. The client expressed concerns with excessive fees and the performance of his accounts. The client’s accounts were included as part of the internal review that was conducted. We sent letters to the client regarding the progress of our review and the final outcome. We recently settled with the client.” The case was settled for $40,000.

July 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in her account.” The customer is seeking $89,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.

July 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in her account.” The customer sought $60,000 in damages and the case was settled for $75,000.

July 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in her account.” The case was settled for $15,000.

May 2016. “Client alleges representative charged excessive fees and misrepresented the investment activity in her 403b account.” The customer is seeking $20,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.

May 2016. “Client alleges representative charged excessive fees and misrepresented the investment activity in her 403b account.” The customer sought $20,000 in damages and the case was settled for $18,000.

May 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in her account.” The case was settled for $37,500.

May 2016. “The firm received a phone call from the client and her husband after they heard about the Firm’s internal review being conducted on accounts of a former advisor’s clients. They expressed concerns with excessive fees and the performance of the clients’ accounts. The client’s accounts were included as part of the internal review that was conducted and we found that there were no transactions noted that deviate from firm’s standards. We sent letters to the client regarding the progress of our review and the final outcome on 5/13/2016, 6/8/2016, 6/20/2016, 7/29/2016 and 8/5/2016. We recently settled with the client.” The case was settled for $30,000.

March 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive fees in her 403b account.” The customer is seeking $264,101 in damages and the case is currently pending.

March 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive fees in her 403b account.” The customer sought $264,101 in damages and the case was settled for $25,000.

March 2016. “Client alleges misrepresentation and alleges representative charged excessive commissions in her account.” The case was settled for $40,000.

June 2015. “Firm discovered what rep represented as a non-replacement VA was in fact a replacement. The firm settled for $225,000.00.”

July 2003. “Suitability, fraudulent misrepresentation/omission, violation of securities exchange act, violation of NASD rules, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of penny stock reform act, failure to supervise.” The customer sought $79,000 in damages and the case was settled for $50,000.

February 1996. “Unauthorized trading & failure to sell a position alleged damages equalling $14,250.” The case was settled for $14,250.

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, Legend Equities Corporation may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Marino’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.