The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) licenses and regulates the stock brokerage industry. It requires stock brokerage firms and their stock brokers to be qualified, registered, and approved by the agency before they may offer and sell securities to the public. FINRA also requires its registrants to immediately report regulatory events, such as suspensions, fines, and customer complaints, against the firm and broker. FINRA maintains a database of investor complaints and disciplinary and employment history for registered representatives and publishes some of this information on its BrokerCheck website, brokercheck.finra.org. The FINRA BrokerCheck is purportedly useful for predicting future broker misconduct. Unfortunately, not all customer complaints are accurately or completely reported on the website. We are seeking investors with information about The GMS Group broker William M. Ornstein to determine whether the reported information on the FINRA BrokerCheck website is accurate and complete.
FINRA reports that Mr. Ornstein has been registered in the securities industry since 1976. Over the years, he has been registered with nine (9) brokerage firms: Halpert Oberst and Co., McLaughlin, Piven Inc., Baird Patrick and Co. Inc., First Monmouth Securities Corp., Rickel and Associates Inc., Atlantic Group Securities Inc., First Interregional Equity Group, Herbert J. Sims & Co. Inc. and, most recently, The GMS Group, LLC. During that period, the FINRA BrokerCheck Report indicates that Mr. Ornstein has been the subject of one Regulatory Event, two (2) Criminal Proceedings and nine (9) Customer Disputes, six (6) of which were pending as of August 18, 2016.
The Regulatory Event was an NASD n/k/a FINRA enforcement proceeding where allegations were made that Mr. Ornstein participated in an agreement with an unregistered person and his member firm wherein the unregistered person would refer prospective investors to Mr. Ornstein who were interested in purchasing securities involving equipment leases offered by his member firm in return for a percentage of the commissions Mr. Ornstein would receive from each sale and that he failed to promptly amend his form U-4 to disclose the filing of a civil complaint by former customers. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Mr. Ornstein consented to the entry of findings against him that he violated the rules and a fine of $10,000 and suspension for 30 days.
One Criminal Proceeding involved charges that Mr. Ornstein was "conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance." Mr. Weinstein was sentenced to 3 years' probation and 90 days in Treatment Center and a special assessment of $225,000. The other Criminal Proceeding was filed by one of his former brokerage employers charging that Mr. Ornstein was in illegal possession of its mailing list. The charges were subsequently dropped.
There were six (6) customer disputes with allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of FINRA rules, and failure to supervise that have supposedly settled for amounts ranging from $5,000 to $675,000 . There were two (2) pending arbitrations reportedly filed against Mr. Ornstein for the alleged fraudulent sales and unsuitable investment recommendations while he was employed at The GMS Group. We believe that Mr. Ornstein's employers may have not accurately or completely reported all of the Customer Disputes involving him and request that all investors with complaints against Mr. Ornstein contact our office immediately.
The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! We intend to notify FINRA of any and all unreported or inaccurate customer complaints against this firm and/or broker. This blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 35 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website, secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at email@example.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.