Victory – Vindicated By The California Court of Appeals

“The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration”

In August, 2014, I represented Sandra Liebhaber in a FINRA hearing requested by Royal Alliance Associates and its one time financial advisor, Kathleen Tarr. This was an expungement hearing in which Royal Alliance and Tarr asked FINRA to erase any trace of the claim that my client had filed and settled with Royal Alliance. To grant that extraordinary remedy, the FINRA three-person panel had to find essentially that Ms. Liebhaber had filed a false claim. Ms. Liebhaber did not and would not file a false claim, and when I found out about the request, Darlene Pasieczny and I agreed to represent her without charge at the hearing to oppose the expungement. At the hearing, the arbitrators allowed Ms. Tarr to testify that she was a minister’s daughter and had done nothing wrong. When I asked to cross examine Ms. Tarr, the FINRA panel refused to allow me to ask her any questions. I then asked permission to call Ms. Liebhaber as a witness, to testify about what Ms. Tarr really had done. The panel refused to allow her to testify, as well. And, along the way, they told me that they had heard enough from me, despite the fact that I retained my cool and acted with respect through the entire Gulag-like ordeal. When the decision came down, and not surprisingly, the panel granted the expungement.

Yesterday, we were vindicated by the California Court of Appeals. The court found that the panel had acted improperly. It vacated the FINRA panel’s decision granting expungement. Ms. Liebhaber’s claim will remain on Ms. Tarr’s Broker-Check report, as it should.

The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration. It was the product of many hands. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend and colleague in Beverly Hills, Lenny Steiner, who ably represented Ms. Liebhaber before the California Court of Appeals. I thank FINRA itself for recognizing that the panel had done wrong, and joined us in the request that the court toss the arbitration ruling. I also thank Susan Antilla, whose reporting on this case originally in The New York Times, and again yesterday in, brought much-needed national attention to the case. And, last but clearly not least, I thank Sandra Liebhaber, who cared enough for future victims of investment abuse to fight the good fight.

A copy of the California Court of Appeals decision, which is scheduled for publication, can be found on the California Courts website.


Investor Defenders is a practice group of Samules Yoelin Kantor LLP focused on representing investors in situations where professional misconduct resulted in a financial loss. Lead securities attorney Bob Banks has earned a national reputation for his success fighting on behalf of investors in FINRA arbitration and in court for over 30 years. Consultations are complimentary and most cases are done on contingency fee, meaning that our clients do not pay any attorney fees unless we recover losses.

Aequitas Private Notes

Investor Defenders

I received a document from a confidential source that was prepared by Aequitas and it is quite enlightening. It is written about the Aequitas Private Notes issued by ACF (Aequitas Commercial Finance), and dated the third quarter of 2015.

The document states, “ACF uses proceeds from Private Notes primarily to repay prior investors.” I interpret this to mean that the company did not have the assets to pay prior investors from its regular course of business. I define a Ponzi Scheme as an investment scheme that operates by using new investor money to pay prior investors, and creating the illusion that distributions are from operations, when they are not. It is beginning to sound a lot like Ponzi at Aequitas. Investors in the ACF Private Notes who were unaware of this fact when they made their purchases have legitimate reason to complain, and file claims against Aequitas principals and the advisors who sold those notes. The law requires that investors be told all of the material facts if they are solicited to make a purchase.

So far we don’t know whether the other Aequitas programs also used new investor money to pay existing investors, but we will find out.

Samuels Yoelin Kantor securities attorneys Robert Banks and Darlene Pasiczny are heading up the Aequitas investigation. Banks recently updated concerned investors with information regarding their choices for pursuing recovery. Please contact our office to discuss your situation confidentially. You can call 800-647-8130 or reach us by email at or

Elder Financial Abuse and Escrow Agents – Proposed Oregon House Bill 2780 (HB 2780)

Real Estate

Oregon’s recent House Bill 2780, sponsored by Rep. Julie Parrish of West Linn, seeks to diminish the potential for elder financial abuse by brokers with modifications to real estate regulations that govern property sales for older Americans.

At first glance it might seem like the bill complicates sales for homeowners ages 65 and older, but the extra check serves to protect older sellers from unknowingly vending their property for less than its value.

House Bill 2780 simply adds a ‘pause button’ to any transaction with both of the following conditions:

• A seller ages 65 or older
• A sale price more than 20{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} below the property’s appraised or assessed value

As heinous as it might seem, older property owners are victimized by greedy brokers across the nation. People 65 and older are sometimes targeted because it is more likely that they have reduced cognitive functioning, marked by trouble remembering, difficulty learning new things, concentrating, and making decision that affect their everyday life. The Center for Disease Control reports that the number of Americans ages 65 years and older who suffer from cognitive impairment may surpass 13.2 million by the year 2050. Dishonest financial advisers know these statistics just as well as the healthcare professionals.

Read more about how Salem is working to help seniors with House Bill 2780 on OregonLive.

Investor Defender attorneys at Samuels Yoelin Kantor have focused on protecting investors from financial fraud and abuse for more than 32 years. Securities attorney Darlene Pasieczny states, “ We have experience with unscrupulous brokers convincing owners to sell their homes or to take second mortgages in order to purchase risky financial products for the benefit of the commissioned broker.” If you or a loved one has reason to be concerned with a sale or transfer of funds to purchase alternative or illiquid securities, or swing of more than 10{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} of reported portfolio value in any account statement, please contact us to understand your potential options for recovery.