The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of former securities broker William A. Hightower. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, William A. Hightower has been the subject of multiple customer disputes.

William A. Hightower was a Texas based securities broker. He worked in the securities industry for twenty years. During his career, he was registered with five different securities firms. He is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.

His registrations

  • Painwebber Incorporated (1994-1996)
  • A.G. Edwards & Sons (1996-2002)
  • RBC Dain Rauscher (2002-2007)
  • UBS Financial Services (2007-2013)
  • Legacy Asset Securities (2013-2015)

The Allegations 

  • In May 2015, a lawyer, on behalf of customers, alleged that William A. Hightower recommended unsuitable investments, made material misrepresentations, and executed unauthorized trades. This case was settled for $40,000 in damages.
  • In October 2015, William A. Hightower was barred by FINRA from acting as a securities broker in any fashion after allegedly failing to comply with a FINRA investigation into allegations of him referring customers to an unapproved private investment. According to a Department of Justice press release, Hightower continued to act as a securities broker even after being barred from the industry.
  • In March 2016, a customer alleged that William A. Hightower recommended they purchase a highly risky, illiquid, and unsuitable private security. The customer also alleged that Hightower omitted and misrepresented material facts regarding the investment. This case was settled for $125,000 in damages.
  • In September 2018, a customer alleged that William A. Hightower breached contract, engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, violated Texas securities statutes, made intentional negligent misrepresentations of fact, engaged in unjust enrichment, and breached his fiduciary duty.
  • Also in September 2018, a customer alleged that William A. Hightower sold her inappropriate investments, that included a principal protected note, an alternative private investment, and a private annuity. The customers alleged these investments were part of a Ponzi scheme that Hightower implemented to steal funds from them.
  • In April 2019, customers alleged that William A. Hightower liquidated their accounts without their authorization and used the funds to purchase shares in his own company known as Hightower Capital Group. This case is currently pending.
  • In December 2019, a customer alleged that William A. Hightower invested them in three fraudulent private investments. This case is currently pending. The customer is seeking $1 million in damages.

What Does This Mean?

These types of private securities transactions that William A. Hightower was allegedly engaging in are highly unsuitable for most investors. These types of alternative investments are incredibly speculative, illiquid, poorly regulated, and are often accompanied by excessively high fees. Most of which is given to the broker and their firm as their commission for brokering the trade. This can create significant conflicts of interest for securities brokers as those seeking these inordinately high commissions may begin recommending these alternative products to investors that are woefully unsuited for them. These fees drastically lower investor principals to the point that it makes it very difficult for them to actually see any investment returns.

These types of investments also lack the guaranteed redemption associated with publicly traded equities. This means an investor cannot simply redeem their shares for the stated value at any moment should the need to do so arise. Essentially, an investor is told to wait until the company either becomes public or is liquidated to sell their shares for the stated value. If investors wish to withdraw funds from these investments earlier than that, they usually take a large hit as they are usually offered a buy out significantly less than what they are told the shares are worth. This is usually best case scenario as some alternative securities may not even offer enough buyouts to cover every investor looking to withdraw.

Even when legitimate, these products can be highly unsuitable for investors. However, often times these products are just fronts for fraudulent activity. Since these securities are sold away from the firm, brokers can easily provide their customer with falsified financial information about how their investment is doing. They usually misrepresent that their investment is growing exponentially, when, in reality, the broker only used the security as a way to convert customer funds.

Oakes & Fosher Can Help

Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or damages. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages.

Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with William A. Hightower, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. Oakes & Fosher handles cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.