A FINRA arbitration panel ordered Raymond James & Associates, Inc. to pay $3.2 million in damages to customers for unauthorized and reckless securities trading. The claimants are 29 clients of former Raymond James’ financial advisor named James Edward Lyons. The arbitration claim was brought against Raymond James and Shreveport, LA branch manager, Thomas Whitmeyer O’Brien.
The claimants alleged that Lyons engaged in unauthorized trading and over-concentrated their portfolios with limited partnerships and trust interests in the oil and gas sectors. Lyons invested client funds in companies which went bankrupt or experienced a precipitous decline in value, including Linn Energy, Memorial Production Partners, Calumet Partners and Cushing MLP Funds. The customer accounts at issue included retirement accounts, trusts for elderly persons, family trusts, and a charitable organization dedicated to feeding the homeless. Lyon’s reckless trading devastated client portfolios during a strong bull market.
Lyons was a registered representative in Raymond James’ Shreveport branch until April 2017 when the firm terminated him for unauthorized trading. Lyons is a well-known amateur golfer in Shreveport. According to the Shreveport Times, he won the 28th LGA Senior Amateur Championship and is a nine-time winner of the Shreveport City Amateur Golf Tournament. He was banned from the securities industry in 2018 after refusing to appear before FINRA in its investigation into his trading activities.
On October 25, 2019, panel of three arbitrators ordered Raymond James to pay $3.2 million in damages. The panel denied the claims against the branch manager, O’Brien, and approved his request to have the dispute expunged from his BrokerCheck record.
If you believe that you have been misled by a financial advisor or wish to engage the services of a securities lawyer, please call the Costello Law Group at 410-832-800 (or Toll Free 877-418-0003) for a free consultation. Tom Costello of the Costello Law Group has 25 years of experience in stockbroker misconduct and investment fraud.