Thursday, January 9, 2014


The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently investigating an alleged Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Michael Palazzo, a former Tonawanda, New York based stockbroker at Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. Mr. Palazzo's former customers are alleging that he fraudulently solicited investments in Fixed Income 1 Fund as a part of his plot to misappropriate funds. Sales practice allegations by customers against Mr. Palazzo and his employer have been filed. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently reported a June 3, 2013 complaint made by former customers inquiring whether the investments they made through Mr. Palazzo were legitimate. FINRA also reported a June 7, 2013 complaint by former customers against Mr. Palazzo alleging churning, misapppropriation of funds, and a misrepresentation related to the terms of a variable annuity contract. In addition, the June 7, 2013 complaint alleged that Berthel Fisher failed to supervise Mr. Palazzo's activities.

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are investigating where Michael Palazzo engaged in a "Ponzi scheme," an unsustainable fraud pyramid that inevitably ended in ruin. Schemers use money raised from latter investors to pay an earlier investor's returns. Ponzi schemes invariably fall apart when markets deteriorate or when the schemer is unable to raise more cash. "Selling away" is the inappropriate practice of an investment professional who sells or solicits securities or investments not held, approved, or authorized by the brokerage firm with which the professional is associated. Under NASD and FINRA rules, brokerage firms must approve investments offered by their investment professionals and supervise its sales. Broker-dealers have been held liable for "Ponzi schemes" perpetrated by their registered sales representatives.

Broker-dealers must establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from stockbroker misconduct. If broker-dealers do not establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system, they may be liable to investors for damages flowing from the misconduct. Independent broker-dealers have been criticized for their lax supervisory practices and procedures, which oftentimes leaves investors vulnerable to sales of securities that have not been reviewed or authorized by anyone other than the sales representative earning a commission.

Have you suffered losses in your Berthel Fisher account due to Michael Palazzo and the Fixed Income 1 Fund and/or any other questionable investments? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation. Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against Berthel Fisher stockbrokers such as Michael Palazzo who may have engaged in misconduct and caused investment losses.

The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 33 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.

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