SEC Investigates Demitrios Hallas for Unsuitable investments
Have you suffered losses investing with former financial advisor Demitrios Hallas? If so, The White Law Group may be able to help you recover your losses by filing a FINRA Arbitration claim against the brokerage firm that employed him.
Today, the SEC charged a former broker, Demitrios Hallas, with knowingly or recklessly trading unsuitable investment products in the accounts of five customers and misappropriating more than $170,000 from one of those customers.
According to a press release, the SEC alleges that Demitrios Hallas repeatedly traded unsuitable investments in his customers’ accounts, exposing customers who were unsophisticated with limited or no investing experience and modest incomes, net worth levels, and assets to a significant degree of volatility and risk.
In a little more than a year, Hallas allegedly traded 179 daily leveraged exchange traded funds (ETFs) and exchange traded notes (ETNs) – products that the SEC alleges are inherently risky, complex and volatile, and only appropriate for sophisticated investors – in the customers’ accounts, generating commissions and fees of approximately $128,000.
The net loss across all 179 positions was approximately $150,000. The SEC’s complaint further alleges that Hallas misappropriated more than $170,000 in funds from one customer. Instead of investing the funds on the customer’s behalf, Hallas allegedly deposited the funds into his own personal bank accounts and spent them on personal expenses, including significant bar and restaurant bills, credit card and student loan payments, and rent.
The SEC is on the lookout for Churning and Excessive Trading
Recently, the SEC issued an Investor Alert warning about excessive trading and churning that can occur in brokerage accounts, and an Investor Bulletin educating investors about ETNs and the risks associated with them.
According to a statement by Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office and Co-Chair of the Enforcement Division’s Broker Dealer Task Force “..As alleged in our complaint, Hallas enriched himself by systematically disregarding his customers’ investment profiles and repeatedly trading in risky, volatile products that were unsuitable for them. The SEC is very focused on brokers who seek to exploit their customers by willfully recommending unsuitable trades or strategies to them.”
According to his FINRA Broker Check, Hallas was suspended last April from the securities industry for failure to respond to a request for information in an investigation of a customer complaint.
Since June of 2011, Hallas has worked for six different investment firms in New York City. He was most recently registered with PHX Financial from 08/03/2015 – 12/03/2015.
Failure to Supervise
Brokers have a fiduciary duty to make investment recommendations that are consistent with the clients net worth, investment experience and objectives. Risk tolerance, age, and liquidity needs also need to be considered. Furthermore, brokers are prohibited from engaging in underhanded businesses practice, like churning or unauthorized trading, that violate securities laws and regulations.
When brokers abuse client accounts and conduct transactions that violate securities laws, the brokerage firm they are working with may be liable for investment losses. Brokerage firms that fail to monitor the business activities of their employees may be liable for investment losses due to negligent supervision for the misconduct of their employees.
If you suffered losses investing with Demitrios Hallas, the attorneys at The White Law Group may be able to help. For a free consultation, please call (888) 637-5510.
The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida.
For more information on The White Law Group, visit www.WhiteSecuritiesLaw.com.