Investors Sue Cetera Advisors For Stockbroker Misconduct
George Craig Merhoff Jr. of Klamath Falls Oregon a stockbroker associated with Cetera Advisors LLC is the subject of a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim in which the customer requested $43,000.00 in damages based upon allegations of Merhoff’s unsuitable stock trading. FINRA Arbitration No. 20-00551. According to the claim, transactions were negligent and violative of FINRA Rule 3110. The claim also alleges breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract in reference to the customer’s equities transactions.
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Merhoff has been referenced in forty more customer initiated investment related disputes concerning accusations of his improper sales practices while associated with Cetera Advisors LLC. On September 18, 2019, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim in reference to Merhoff where the customer sought $100,000.00 in damages based upon accusations of transactions being effected in violation of Oregon securities laws. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-02710. According to the claim, a fiduciary duty was not complied with and the stockbroker’s negligence resulted in the customer’s losses on stock transactions.
Merhoff is referenced in another customer initiated investment related arbitration claim in which the customer requested $325,000.00 in damages based upon allegations including negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-03090 (Oct. 25, 2019). Equity trades effected by Merhoff allegedly failed to be suitable for the Cetera Advisors customer. The claim also alleges that an investment agreement was breached by the stockbroker and that FINRA rules and Oregon securities laws were violated.
The stockbroker is also referenced in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim in which the customer requested $460,000.00 in damages supported by allegations of bad investment recommendations. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-03482 (Dec. 3, 2019). The claim alleges breach of a fiduciary duty and negligence in reference to the common and preferred stock transactions effected by Merhoff during the period that he was employed by Cetera Advisors. On January 29, 2020, another customer filed an investment related arbitration claim involving Merhoff’s conduct in which the customer sought between $500,000.00 and $1,000,000.00 in damages founded upon accusations including fraud. FINRA Arbitration No. 20-00123. The claim also alleges negligence and the breach of both a contract and a fiduciary duty by Merhoff.
On August 10, 2017, Merhoff was fined $70,000.00 and ordered by Oregon Division of Financial Regulation to cease and desist violating securities laws or regulations founded on accusations that the stockbroker effected unsuitable transactions and that Cetera Advisors failed to supervise him. Consent Order No. S-17-0007-A.
On June 14, 2019, Merhoff was barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon findings of him obstructing the regulator’s investigation. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018057331001. According to the AWC, Merhoff was instructed by FINRA personnel to furnish information and documentation relating to his alleged undisclosed payments to customers. The regulator was also looking into the stockbroker’s dissemination of consolidated reports to his customers. Merhoff’s legal counsel informed FINRA that Merhoff would not cooperate in the investigation. FINRA determined that the stockbroker failed to comply with FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210.
Merhoff’s registration with Cetera Advisors has been terminated as of April 5, 2019.