If you have lost between $10,000 and $50,000 we can file a small claims proceeding with FINRA to recover your lost funds. We have designed a small claims process for our clients that is cost effective, user friendly and so streamlined that you should expect to get a result in about seven months or less from the date your claim is filed. For your convenience we have listed the steps from beginning t
claim within 45 days
o end so that you will know what to expect. Having won over 100 million dollars for our clients, speaks volumes about the quality of legal representation you can expect to receive from our firm. After reading the small claims process, if you still have questions, please feel free to email us at JLAllen@myinvestorfraud.com or call our toll free number at:
1. Submit a Claim Evaluation Form from our Website.
2. After receiving the form, our office will review the form, and, if appropriate, send you a longer version of the claim evaluation form. Please be sure to complete the entire form. You will need to answer all of the questions as best you can. If you leave out information or fail to provide the requested information, it can impact our analysis of your potential claim and it could also limit the monies you may recover. So please do your best to complete the entire form. If you are having difficulty providing answers or need help completing the form, email or call us and we will be pleased to help you.
3. After receiving the full version of the Claim Evaluation Form, we will review your answers and determine what documents we may need you to send us. Now would be a good time to gather your monthly account statements and put them in chronological order. If you are missing statements, you can get them from the brokerage company by calling or writing them. You can ask your broker for them or, if you don’t want to talk with your broker, just ask the branch administrator. Do not have any conversations with anyone at the firm about seeking legal counsel or your intention to file a claim against them. Other documents that would be very helpful include your Customer Agreement with the brokerage firm and your New Account Suitability Document. When you opened your account, you signed a Customer Agreement with the firm which included a list of questions about your financial condition, risk tolerance and time horizon. These questions may or may not have been included on the Customer Agreement. We will need to review these documents to determine your rights and obligations. If you do not have a copy of these documents, then go ahead and ask your brokerage firm to send them to you.
4. One thing that would be helpful, but not required, would be for you to write a short version of what happened. Tell us what you were told about the investment that caused your losses; why you made the investment and what you thought the risks were. We also would like to know how much you invested; how much you believe that you lost; and how long ago you made the investment. Tell us anything that you think might help us evaluate your potential claim, including conversations you had with your broker. After finishing your story send it to us by email or snail mail.
5. Once we receive your story, we will call you to discuss it together with the Claim Evaluation Form you completed. If you couldn’t write out what happened, then make an outline of important facts so that you will be prepared when we talk. After our discussion we will tell you what documents you will need to send us. We will need to confirm what you have told us by referring to the account documents. This is necessary to that we can write a strong claim on your behalf. Sometimes clients think that they have been defrauded, when, in fact, they didn’t realize that they withdrew a lot of money from their account. You don’t want to ask for monies that you withdrew but thought you lost – it only weakens your claim.
6. After confirming your losses, reviewing the documents that you have sent us and the Claim Evaluation Form, we will notify you if your potential claim qualifies for acceptance. If we accept your claim and you wish to become one of our clients, we will email you a Retainer Agreement for you to sign and return to us.
7. After signing and returning the Retainer Agreement, go onto our Website and go to the Pay Fee tab (located under the ‘SERVICES’ drop down menu) and follow the directions for making a retainer payment. You will pay one percent (1%) of the losses you are trying to recover. The only other fee that you will have to pay is the filing fee which is also listed on our website. For example, if you lost $10,000, then you would be responsible for paying a $100 retainer fee and a $325 filing fee to FINRA. You will not have to pay any other fees. We will receive a contingent fee of thirty five percent (35%) from any monies we recover for you.
8. After we receive your retainer fee, we will schedule a recorded interview. This will take about one hour, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more, depending upon how prepared you are and how well you recall what happened. We will send you a copy of the interview for you to review so that you can correct anything that you think needs clarification or correction.
9. Next, we will write your claim and send it to you together with a Claim Approval Form and a Uniform Submission Agreement. Be sure that everything we say is 100% accurate. Now is the time to make any corrections BEFORE we submit it to FINRA. Once your claim is submitted we can’t take back anything we said.
10. If you are pleased with the claim, you will sign the Claim Approval Form, the Uniform Submission Agreement and return them to us. Incidentally, the Uniform Submission Agreement gives FINRA the power to hear your claim. We can’t proceed without it.
12. After confirming payment and receiving the Claim Approval Form and the Uniform Submission Agreement, we will prepare your claim for filing. There are a few other documents that we will have to prepare, but nothing requiring your signature.
13. Once all of the documents are prepared we will file the claim with FINRA.
14. FINRA will serve the claim on the brokerage firm and the brokerage firm will file an answer to your claim within 45 days.
15. Sometimes, but not very often, limited discovery may be required. This will depend on the nature of the claim and the relief sought. The arbitrator will decide what, if any, documents will be produced.
16. Sometime within seven months from the date that your claim was filed, the arbitrator will render his or her decision. As soon as we receive the arbitrator’s decision we will send you a copy.
17. The brokerage firm usually sends us a check within 30 days from the date we receive the arbitrator’s decision. After we receive the brokerage firm check, we will send you a check minus our contingent fee of thirty five percent (35%) together with a schedule of payments and costs.
18. One final note. In many cases we are able to reach a compromise with the brokerage firm either before we file a claim or prior to the arbitrator’s decision. In that case you would receive payment in a far shorter period of time.
Please note that anything you submit to us is considered confidential in nature and will not be shown or discussed with anyone except members of our firm, experts used on your behalf or when ordered to be produced by the arbitrator. Thank you for choosing our firm to represent you. We value our clients deeply. We will pursue your rights aggressively, ethically and professionally.
If you are thinking about pursuing a case, you should contact an experienced broker fraud attorney. The Law Offices of John Lawrence Allen – your securities fraud attorneys – would be honored to have you as a client, and help you reach a successful outcome. For assistance, call us or complete our online form for a free case evaluation.
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