Most investors are unaware that there is any legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages. The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is interested in hearing from investors who feel this may be them.

Oakes & Fosher is currently investigating the possible misconduct of former securities broker Richard Hartnett. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Richard Hartnett has been the subject of multiple customer disputes.

Richard Hartnett operated most recently as a Florida based securities broker. He worked in the securities industry for forty-three years. During his career, he was registered with five different securities firms.

His Registrations

  • Kidder, Peabody & Co. (1972-1988)
  • Lehman brothers (1988-1993)
  • Smith Barney (1993-1996)
  • CIBC Wold Markets Corp. (1996-2001)
  • Morgan Stanley (2001-2016)

The Allegations

  • In January 1981, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett churned their account. This case was settled for $75,000 in damages.
  • In June 1984, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett traded their account excessively and executed unauthorized transactions. This case was settled for $56,000 in damages.
  • In October 2001, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett engaged in unauthorized trading, churning, and unauthorized use of margin. This case was settled for $375,000 in damages.
  • In November 2001, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett invested their trust assets in unsuitable investments. The customer also alleged that Hartnett churned their trust account and fabricated financial documents. This case was settled for $367,500 in damages.
  • In December 2012, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett made unsuitable investments and executed trades without authorization. The alleged transgressions would have taken place between 2005 and 2012. This case went to arbitration where the customer was awarded $150,000 in damages.
  • In April 2015, customers alleged unsuitability and misrepresentation. The alleged transgressions taking place between January 2011 and February 2014. This case was settled for $210,000 in damages.
  • In February 2016, an attorney, on behalf of a customer, alleged that investments purchased on the customer’s behalf by Richard Hartnett were unsuitable. This case was settled for $235,263 in damages.
  • In May 2016, a customer alleged that Richard Hartnett executed excessive trades meant to generate commissions for himself. They also alleged that he invested their assets in unsuitable securities. This case was settled for $87,500 in damages.

Churning 

One of the most noteworthy allegations levied against Richard Hartnett was that of churning. This is a deceptive practice that many securities brokers, like Richard Hartnett, engage in. It involves the securities broker trading a customer’s account excessively with the express purpose of generating larger and additional commissions for themself. Despite the fraudulent nature of this practice, many securities brokers continue execute it.

Unsuitable Recommendations

Another allegation levied against Richard Hartnett that stood out was that he made numerous unsuitable investment recommendations to his customers. Securities brokers have a legal obligation to only recommend securities to customers that are suited for them. A customer’s suitability is determined by factors that include their financial situation, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs. Securities brokers, like Richard Hartnett, are expected to conduct the necessary due diligence required to discern a customer’s suitability by analyzing the above mentioned factors. Because of this, securities brokers cannot excuse themselves by claiming that they did not know a particular product would be unsuitable.

Oakes & Fosher Can Help

Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Richard Hartnett, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation.