Lawyer Says Brokerage Reneging on $275K Settlement with Client
An Ohio-based brokerage firm is allegedly reneging on an award settlement it had agreed to last month with a 68-year-old former client, using a technicality in the resolution document, the client’s lawyer tells InvestmentNews.
On July 20, 11 days prior to a scheduled Finra arbitration hearing, Westminster Financial Services allegedly agreed to pay $275,000 to Mary Krevosh over the actions of one of its former brokers, according to Adam Gana, partner at the law firm Gana Weinstein, the publication writes.
But when Gana prepared a resolution document to be sent to Finra, Westminster’s lawyer, Joseph Simms of law firm Koehler Fitzgerald, allegedly requested to exclude “in principal” from the phrase “letter of settlement in principal” describing the resolution, Gana claims, according to InvestmentNews.
Removing that wording in effect removed the case from Finra’s arbitration docket “in its entirety,” according to a lawsuit filed by Gana on Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Nevada, the publication writes.
Simms declined comment to InvestmentNews and Westminster didn’t respond to its request for comment. But Gana tells the publication that Westminster’s “legal representatives” informed him verbally that they wouldn’t honor the settlement. On top of the lawsuit, Gana also requested Finra suspend the firm, InvestmentNews writes. If there had been written proof Westminster wouldn’t honor the settlement, Finra could then suspend the firm immediately, according to the publication. A Finra spokeswoman declined to comment on the specific case to InvestmentNews.
Louis Telerico, the broker tied to the settlement agreement, had allegedly "misled and took advantage" of Krevosh several times, including by recommending that she buy a bronze statue of a bear for $200,000 from his mother and purchase $219,000 in real estate from a company he owned, Gana tells InvestmentNews.
Krevosh, who was Telerico’s client from 2012 to 2016, had filed her original claim in April 2017, and last month’s settlement was aimed at concluding that claim, according to the publication.
Telerico’s license had been suspended for six months through December, InvestmentNews writes. He had been at Westminster from 2012 until his suspension by Finra in June 2016, according to the publication.
Out of the 14 customer disputes listed on Telerico’s BrokerCheck record from 1999 through 2016, 12 occurred before he came to Westminster, InvestmentNews writes.
Telerico had been in the industry for 46 years, according to the publication, which couldn’t reach him for comment.