Last month, Westminster Financial Securities agreed to pay an arbitration settlement of $275,000. However, the firm is now attempting to rely on a unique legal strategy to renege on the award.
A Bizarre Tale of Misleading Advice
Sixty-eight year old, Mary Krevosh, was a client at Westminster for four years through June 2016. She and her attorney had reached a settlement agreement with Westminster as a conclusion to her original claim in regards to her experience working with one of its brokers, Louis Telerico, who had his license suspended for six months. She argues that he misled and took advantage of her on numerous occasions, including bizarre recommendations. “He recommended my client purchase a bronze bear for $200,000 from his own 95-year-old mother,” said Gana. “And my client never event got the bear.” Gana also claims that that Telerico suggested she purchase $219,000 in real estate from a business that he owned. She even made close to $50,000 worth of personal loans to him.
Krevosh Seeks FINRA Suspension of Westminster Financial Securities
After learning that the firm was no longer planning on being Krevosh, she secured the law firm of Gana Weinstein to seek damages. Firm partner, Adam Gana, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Nevada, arguing that the firm is in breach of the settlement agreement.
According to Gana, he was informed by Westminster’s legal representatives that they will not be honoring the agreed upon settlement award. He also sent a letter to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA), asking that Westminster be suspended for violating the settlement agreement. However, the plans to renege on the settlement were not written down in a document, but rather were communicated by Westminster’s attorney. If the intent to renege on the settlement agreement were in fact written down, FINRA would be able to suspend the brokerage firm immediately.
The settlement was purportedly reached 11 days before a scheduled FINRA arbitration hearing. Prior to the discovery that Westminster no longer planned to honor the settlement, Gana was attempting to move forward and document the resolution with a “letter of settlement principal.”
Should the Case be Removed from FINRA’s Arbitration Docket?
Westminster’s attorney, Joseph Simms, requested that the wording “in principal” be removed all together from the letter. The suit now claims that the removal of those words also removed the entire case from FINRA’s arbitration docket.
A History of Disputes
Telerico worked at Westminster from 2012 through June 2016, when he was suspended by FINRA. According to FINRA’s “BrokerCheck,” Telerico worked for seven different firms over his forty-six year career. Over his career FINRA recorded 14 customer disputes with which he was involved, twelve of which were recorded prior to his time at Westminster. Only time will tell whether the brokerage will in fact break its alleged settlement agreement.