With 14 customer disputes and millions paid in settlements since 2015 surrounding allegations of unsuitable recommendations, unauthorized trading, overconcentration, abuse of margin, fraud, elder abuse, and breach of fiduciary duty, broker William Mark Heiden, formerly of Wedbush Securities' Newport Beach, California branch, now makes his first disclosure of regulator action thanks to FINRA's allegation that Heiden committed unauthorized trading in two elderly customers' accounts.
FINRA's 2019 complaint alleges that Mark Heiden (CRD #2885156) effected unauthorized trades in the accounts of two elderly Wedbush Securities customers, additionally exercising discretion in the accounts of two other elderly customers without written authorization and without Wedbush having accepted the accounts as discretionary.
According to investigators, Heiden executed several transactions in an 87-year-old widow's trust account without authorization and shortly after his client's spouse had died. The report states that Heiden purchased 3,000 shares of Clearbridge American Energy MLP Fund for $47,480; sold 1,350 common stock shares of Northwest Natural Gas Company for $58,360; and sold 494 common stock shares of Verizon Communications for $24,058.
The complaint alleges that Heiden similarly purchased the Clearbridge MLP for another elderly client without authorization.
In other words, Heiden allegedly sold common stock and used part of the proceeds to purchase shares of a Master Limited Partnership (MLP), which we noted in 2016 was a "risky and improper recommendation leading to litigation and alleged loss concerns."
In July 2018, InvestmentNews included a handful of financial and energy sector products—including one such MLP fund—in its list of the 10 funds with the largest losses in the first half of 2018, while Financial-Planning included several additional MLPs in its list of the 20 worst performing active mutual funds as of November 2018.
Meanwhile, William Mark Heiden's BrokerCheck file lists numerous pending and settled disputes from his time at Morgan Stanley (2009-13) as well as at Wedbush (2013-18), both of Newport Beach, CA.
If you have invested with former Wedbush Securities broker William Mark Heiden or with any financial adviser or representative who has effected unauthorized trades in your account, including unauthorized use of discretionary trading that caused a product to become overconcentrated in your account, or who has recommended/purchased risky securities, such as the Clearbridge American Energy MLP Fund or other MLP products, and these unsuitable transactions have proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.