Securities Lawyer Mark J. Astarita’s Significant Matters

  • Obtained decision from FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council which reversed a hearing Panel’s findings of violation, vacated all sanctions and dismissed the complaint.
  • Successfully defended broker-dealer in arbitration with hedge fund claiming 5 million dollars in losses for misrepresentations regarding firm’s abilities, platform, and expertise. Zero award for the Claimant.
  • Obtained six-figure award for broker against wirehouse for breach of contract, misrepresentations, fraudulent inducement, and unjust enrichment
  • Successfully defended regional brokerage firm in customer claim for unsuitability, inadequate due diligence
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for broker and firm of claims by an octogenarian for allegedly unsuitable variable life insurance policy, and obtained expungement of the arbitration with a finding that the transaction was suitable and that the claimant was fully informed of the risks of the investment.
  • Successfully defended and obtained a denial of a claim by a CPA customer against a broker-dealer, where the customer claimed unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation, failure to supervise, respondeat superior, negligent misrepresentation, unauthorized trading, negligence, fraud, and control person liability. Complete denial of all claims
  • Obtained an award of attorney’s fees and compensation for a broker against a brokerage firm for filing a false and malicious U-5.
  • Obtained a full dismissal of a wire houses’ claims against a broker for a $750,000 promissory note.
  • Obtained expungement of complaint from branch manager’s CRD records after settlement of a customer’s claims against the broker and firm.
  • Successfully defended broker-dealer and its principals with a full dismissal of multimillion dollar claims in arbitration by a family trust, as well as expungement of the claim from the broker’s registration records
  • Obtained arbitration award in favor of introducing broker against its clearing firm for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract and violation of industry standards and customs.
  • Obtained full dismissal of arbitration claim against broker dealer for allegations of successor in interest to defunct broker dealer.
  • Defended broker in promissory note arbitration and obtained a 70% reduction in the outstanding balance due on the promissory note due to the firm’s failure to fulfill its obligations to the broker.
  • Represented disabled man and his family against major wire house for unsuitable recommendations, including writing naked put options. Obtained award against the firm and the broker for 1.6 million dollars, including $900,000 in punitive damages and attorneys fees, and received full payment of the award.
  • Successfully represented CPA against major wire house for breach of referral agreement, obtained full compensation owed, an order requiring the firm to continue paying on referred clients, as well as attorneys’ fees related to the arbitration.
  • Obtained award in favor of a customer of 1.5 million dollars for unsuitable recommendation against hedge fund, broker and brokerage firm for unsuitable recommendation in mortgage based fund.
  • Obtained compensatory damages and attorneys fees against major wire house for excessive margin trading in customer account.
  • Represented broker-dealer defending 14 customer claims arising from ponzi scheme allegedly operated by the firm’s broker. Negotiated settlements with all of the customers on favorable terms.
  • Defended brokerage firm in 11 cases brought by one attorney for individual clients, ultimately successfully negating favorable settlements of all claims.
  • Represented Managing Director of European Equities vs. Member Firm (former employer) relating to claims of misrepresentations, undermining claimant’s professional relationships for Respondent firm and breach of contract. Obtained $750,000 award, plus interest for unpaid bonus and compensatory damages.
  • Successfully defended brokerage firm in customer claim for statutory attorneys fees claimed in excess of $300,000, including bench trial, defending an appeal, and a second bench trial, resulting in an award of less than 15 % of the total claim for costs and attorney’s fees.
  • Successfully represented principals of NYSE member firm in 12 million dollar claim for fraud, misrepresenting and breach of contract in connection with the sale of a member firm, resulting in an award of zero against the principals.
  • Negotiated the settlement of dozens of promissory note cases and related counterclaims by broker against every major brokerage firm
  • Defended countless investors and financial professionals in SEC and FINRA investigations.

In addition, attorneys at Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC have achieved the following

  • Represented Miami doctor in an insider trading case brought by the SEC in federal court. After a two-week jury trial, the doctor was found not liable – SEC v. De La Maza, et al., Case No. 09-21977 (S.D. Fla.). 
  • Successfully argued dismissal of shareholder suit in federal court alleging insider trading – Kamin, et al. v. Acord, et al., Case No. 09-22829-Civ-Jordan (S.D. Fla.).
  • Represented nominee for Commissioner of Financial Regulation for the State of Florida in FINRA Enforcement Hearing – Dept. of Enforcement v. Carreno, No. 2006005546007. All claims against Respondent were dismissed, with prejudice.
  • Represented multiple claimants/plaintiffs in multi-week FINRA arbitration hearing resulting in $7.5 million dollar award against the broker – Paula Casper, et al. v. Gary Gross, FINRA Case No. 07-00624.
  • Defense of a large regional brokerage firm in SEC investigation of firm’s institutional trading desk, market making activities, and syndicate department (declination letter by SEC)
  • Defense of CFO of publicly-traded company in SEC investigation of his conduct following company’s restatement of earnings (declination letter by SEC)
  • Defense of high-profile South Florida businessman in SEC insider trading investigation (declination letter by SEC) Defense judgment in state court in favor of four departing brokers sued by a large, multi-national brokerage firm for violation of restrictive covenants
  • Obtained expungement of customer complaints from the CRD reports of dozens of individual brokers

Enforcement Results

Defended firm manager in 4 week SEC administrative proceeding, obtaining better result than offered by the SEC. Filed and argued appeal before the full Securities and Exchange Commission

Represented owner of brokerage firm, NAC appeal of FINRA disciplinary proceeding which ordered restitution to a non-customer who the BD did not have a relationship, with interest going back 6 years.

Represented broker in appeal of FINRA disciplinary hearing regarding fairness of the hearing where evidence is transcripts of private On The Record Interviews where the broker was not present and testimony of investigators as to testimony of witnesses, with no opportunity for cross examination of material witnesses.

Successfully defended broker in FINRA enforcement proceeding obtaining full dismissal of all charges.