Last week, a FINRA arbitration panel awarded a former professional baseball player, Angel Pagan, and his wife, Windy, $1.7 million in connection with their investment in Puerto Rico municipal bonds and closed-end bond funds. During his MLB career, Pagan was a center fielder with the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants.
In 2017, the Pagans filed claims with FINRA alleging that their financial advisor, Alex J. Gierbolini, violated state and federal securities laws in selling them the bonds. According to AdvisorHub, Gierbolini changed the Pagans’ stated investment objective without notifying them when they moved their accounts from to UBS to Merrill Lynch. This led to his over-concentrating their portfolio in Puerto Rican municipal bonds and closed-end funds. As a result, the Pagans lost more than $2 million between 2012 and 2016.
The Pagans alleged that Merrill Lynch failed to adequately supervise Gierbolini. According to his BrokerCheck report, Gierbolini has been the subject of 24 customer disputes during his career, five of which are currently pending. He is still a registered representative of Merrill Lynch.
On January 21, 2020, a panel of three arbitrators in Puerto Rico awarded the Pagans more than 2 million in damages. The award represented compensatory damages of $1.7 million, 4.5% interest on those damages starting in June 2017, and more than $88,000 in costs. The FINRA panel denied the Pagans’ request for punitive damages and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
If you have concerns about an investment you made in Puerto Rico bonds or closed-end bond funds or believe that you have been misled by a financial advisor, please call the Costello Law Group at 410-832-8800 (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.