Massachusetts Financial Advisor and Firm Charged In Connection with Deceptive Advertising Scheme
Barry Graham Armstrong from Needham Heights, MA, a financial advisor with Securities America, Inc. and Armstrong Advisory Group, were charged by the Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth in a Complaint alleging Armstrong had engaged in a misleading and dishonest advertising campaign in violation of Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 110A, and 950 Mass. Code Regs. 10.00-14.413. In the Matter of: Barry Graham Armstrong (Mass. Securities Division Docket No. E-2015-0092 Filed July 8, 2015).
In a parallel Complaint, Securities America, Inc., a FINRA member broker-dealer since 1985 headquartered in Nevada, was additionally charged on July 8, 2015 by the Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth in a Complaint alleging that the Firm had participated in, and failed to supervise its agent in engaging in a misleading and dishonest advertising campaign in violation of Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 110A, and 950 Mass. Code Regs. 10.00-14.413. In the matter of: Securities America, Inc. (Mass. Securities Division Docket No. E-2014-0106 Filed July 8, 2015).
According to the Complaint, in 2014, Armstrong is alleged to have directed a deceptive advertising campaign on the radio that was targeted to senior citizens from MA that MA’s Securities Division Enforcement Dept. deemed to be vulnerable. The Complaint indicates that Armstrong’s advertisements, heavily focused on the dangers of Alzheimer’s, were suggestive that Armstrong had special access status with regard to support and medical information. The Complaint further states that senior citizens would be pulled into Armstrong’s advertisements based on his approach of presenting alarming language regarding Alzheimer’s disease, yet where Armstrong had failed to provide adequate disclosure regarding exactly what role Armstrong had other than taking part in what appeared to the MA Enforcement Dept. as a public service announcer.
The Complaint further indicates that in Armstrong’s advertisements, Armstrong had not disclosed the identity of the speaker in the radio advertisements, the information the speaker had access to, telephone numbers, and caller contact information.
The Complaint indicates that Armstrong Advisory Group had a process by which the listeners of these radio advertisements would ultimately be routed to telemarketers in order to be pitched the services of the Armstrong Advisory Group, despite the information telemarketers received coming from investors calling merely to obtain free information about Alzheimer’s disease. The Complaint further states that that Armstrong Advisory Group’s tactics of sending materials to callers with an offer of Armstrong Advisory Group’s services constituted bait and switch advertising, based on the notion that the advertisements were false because of the service impliedly provided if citizens would call the number, and the financial services information being provided instead.
The Public Disclosure
Public disclosure records reveal that Armstrong has been subject to at least two customer disputes. On December 21, 1998, Armstrong settled a dispute for $250,000.00 after a client alleged that Armstrong (among others) misrepresented and/or failed to disclose relevant information in the sale of a fixed life insurance policy and that recommendations were unsuitable. On December 21, 2009, Armstrong settled a customer dispute for $12,380.63 after a client alleged damages from misrepresentations and other wrongdoings.
Public disclosure records also reveal that Armstrong was terminated by discharge from a former firm, Capital Management Company, after allegations that Armstrong violated the company’s procedures and failed to supervise. According to public disclosure records, Armstrong was also subject to at least one criminal complaint from August 4, 1980, containing grand larceny charges.
FINRA BrokerCheck Report
According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Securities America, Inc. has been subject to a myriad of misconduct issues, including 39 regulatory events and 28 arbitrations.
Guiliano Law Group
Investors suffering losses or damages caused by Armstrong and Securities America, Inc. may be able to recover their investment losses. Our practice is limited to the representation of investors in claims, for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.