The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has banned broker fraud Winston Wade Turner from the securities industry for allegedly making deceptive recommendations to clients concerning variable annuities, and for the deceptive disclosure of his recommendations to his company’s supervisory board.
Turner, a former Pruco Securities and Metlife registered broker, is accused by FINRA of misrepresenting facts to clients and encouraging them to surrender their existing variable annuities and other securities in exchange for other products recommended by him, causing his clients to lose large sums of money in surrender costs. He allegedly made claims that those customers had not previously held annuities, and falsified records and misrepresented facts to the supervisory board.
Winston Wade Turner supposedly withheld accurate information concerning the deals from his company to avoid the extra scrutiny associated with changes in annuities. These securities transactions allegedly remained undisclosed and unapproved, due to falsified documents and misrepresentation of records.
Turner is alleged to have even went so far as to forge his clients signatures on annuity applications and supply his email address in place of his clients so that account notifications would not be sent to clients.
He also allegedly deceived certain clients, claiming that his newly recommended annuities would supply a greater return on investment, and even may have disguised interest payments to one customer so that those payments appeared to come from the VA issuer when Turner was the real source.
According to this reported timeline on FINRA’s website http://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/5965386, there were several years of complaints that Turner falsified or misrepresented claims concerning variable annuities. The timeline is as follows:
- A customer alleged that Turner called to say that she was broke and that he couldn’t provide any more money. She alleges that Turner had her make withdrawals and then write him a check, one for $20,000 and one for $29,040. She also alleges that he was making counter deposits into her checking account.
- A client alleged Turner made an unauthorized electronic signature. Damages were granted in the amount of $3,150.56
- A client alleged that in August 2014 Turner promised a 5% ROI and did not disclose that his money would be invested aggressively into an variable annuity. Turner also did not disclose any surrender charges and provided incorrect information to the firm about the client’s personal risk tolerance, investment objectives, personal finance information, and prior investment experience. The client was granted damages of $6,012.68.
- A customer alleged that Turner promised a 10% bonus and a 5% year over year growth on an amount deposited into his annuity. Damages were requested in the amount of $75,200. The investigation is still pending.
- FINRA initiates regulatory investigations under the allegations that Turner falsified VA transaction information, circumvented his member firm’s supervisory process, engaged in deceptive conduct, forged signatures, and falsified books and records.
- The complaint also alleges that Turner violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5 by coercing customers to purchase securities by making material misstatements and omissions regarding earnings and any tax impacts.
- Turner refuses to produce the required information during his investigation and does not appear for his scheduled testimony.
Following that investigation, further customer disputes and allegations were placed on record.
- Customer alleged that he provided a check to Turner made out to a company for an investment. That dispute is pending.
- A customer alleged that Turner did not disclose surrender charges or other charges about the surrender of the annuity, misrepresented the tax consequences, and informed the customer there would be no surrender charges due to the customer’s disability. The customer claims Turner also made personal payments on the annuity, misrepresenting them as coming from the firm.
- In later correspondence, the customer also alleges that Turner stole money from her and that she lost money plus interest, and that Turner did not fully disclose all the facts regarding Guarantees and Risks.
The dispute is pending, but customer requests $19,000.22 in damages.
- An initially non-reported customer dispute was settled for $20,263.78. The underlying allegations are not available at this time.
- Client alleges that Turner recommended the surrender of a Metlife annuity but did not fully disclose information regarding tax consequences. The dispute is pending, but requested damages are $27,399.00
- Customer alleges that Turner misrepresented a variable annuity purchased in December 2012. The dispute is pending, but requested damages are $33,000.00
- Customer alleges that Turner misrepresented the guaranteed minimum percentage growth and surrender charges of his policies. The dispute was settled for $44,260.61
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority requires that when recommending variable annuity products the representative must make every effort to document and submit information such as the customer’s net worth, investment objective, investment experience, and risk tolerance among other required information. Members are also required to have a supervisory system in place, either a form authorized by the state insurance board or other regulatory body, and that representatives must disclose when financing of new products is required, risks involved, and any potential penalties including tax penalties.
All told, Winston Wade Turner’s affected customers lost roughly $151,000 in what appear to be deceptive practices, and Turner may have refused to comply with the investigation and information requests. Turner is no longer a registered representative and cannot sell securities products, including variable annuities, although he is still eligible to sell insurance products, including fixed and fixed index annuities, in Florida.
The investment litigation team is currently investigating a number of similar issues on behalf of clients. If you have any information related to questionable variable annuity transactions at MetLife or any transactions involving Mr. Turner, please contact our office. If you have questions regarding your investment or annuity losses, please contact the securities arbitration and investment litigation lawyers website, email & phone number. The investment litigation team represent You, the investor. Call for a free consultation. No recovery, no attorney’s fees.