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Former UBS Financial Advisor German Nino Accused of Stealing $5.8M from Client

January 27, 2022

National investment fraud lawyers KlaymanToskes investigates former UBS broker German Nino (“German Nino UBS Theft Investigation”) in light of the SEC’s Complaint alleging theft from a customer. In January 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged former UBS broker and investment adviser German Nino with stealing $5.8 million from a long-standing client.

SEC Accuses German Nino of Stealing

According to the SEC Complaint, Nino was a financial advisor for a high-net-worth couple who had invested approximately $11 million with UBS through Nino. The broker had discretionary authority over several of Client’s securities brokerage accounts. In May 2014, Nino began making unauthorized wire transfers out of certain of Client’s UBS accounts, and would sometimes liquidate Client’s securities at or about the same time as the wire transfers. Nino ultimately deposited those funds into a bank account that Nino kept separately from his marital accounts.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Nino, of Weston, Florida, stole the investment funds from his client’s accounts over nearly a six-year period.  Over $4 million was spent on gifts for several women with whom Nino had romantic relationships.

How Did Nino Steal from His Client?

Nino allegedly employed various methods to conceal his misconduct from his client, including :

  • In regular meetings or discussions with the client, Nino misrepresented the performance, account balances, and rates of return for the affected accounts, while failing to disclose his unauthorized transfers.
  • For transfers of $100,000 or more, Nino prepared and submitted to UBS fraudulent letters of authorization containing Client’s forged signatures.
  • Nino altered UBS’s records relating to one of Client’s accounts to ensure that Client did not receive email notification of wire transfers from that account; and
  • Nino prepared and provided Client with false account statements that inflated the balances in two of the affected accounts.

Brokerage firms are responsible for the supervision of all the activities of its financial advisors, including misuse of client funds. If you are a victim of broker theft, contact KlaymanToskes today.

How Else Was the Money Spent?

The SEC alleges that Nino spent money on vacations, luxury cars, and private school tuition for his romantic partners. Nino also allegedly used the $1.6 million to repay funds he had taken from another client.

How was the Fraud Discovered?

In early 2020, the client’s son discovered discrepancies with an account balance, and began to confront Nino. Eventually, Nino confessed to the son that he had stolen Client’s money, promising that he would pay Client back with a signing bonus he would receive when he joined a new firm.

Client then alerted UBS, which began to investigate the issue. In February 2020, UBS requested that Nino submit to an interview as part of its investigation, and Nino then resigned from the firm.

Investors who have questions about the activity in their brokerage accounts should not be thwarted in their efforts to obtain further clarification for questions that are not fully answered by their financial advisors. Maybe it is time to speak with a securities attorney to determine your rights as an investor. KlaymanToskes can help you determine whether an investment loss is the result of a failure to supervise the activities in your brokerage account, including unauthorized wire transfers. If an investor suffers losses as a result of a failure to supervise they may be able recover their losses in a FINRA arbitration claim for damages.

Mishandling Customer Funds is a Serious Violation

Brokers are not permitted to place customers’ checks or money intended for securities transactions into their own bank account or in the accounts of businesses that you are involved with outside of your broker-dealer, regardless of the amount of money or the length of time involved. Mishandling customer funds is a serious violation of FINRA rules and could result in prosecution by state or federal criminal agencies, such as the case is with German Ninos. As noted in its 2018 Examination Findings, FINRA states that discretionary trading authorization can expose investors to material risks.

Brokerage Firm Liability for Client Fund Misuse

According to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, brokerage firms are responsible for the supervision of all the activities of its financial advisors. FINRA rules require the supervision of financial advisor as well as compliance with the securities industry standards of care for the handling of customer accounts as reflected in brokerage firm compliance manuals. The financial brokerage firm compliance manuals provide written procedures designed to achieve compliance with security industry rules and regulations by financial advisors of the firm.

Brokerage firm computerized systems monitor the activities of financial advisors designed to supervise the specific activities related to the type of business conducted at the branch office. Branch office managers are the first line of defense to protect the investors from violations of FINRA rules and regulations. Brokerage firms and branch office manager are responsible for the supervision of financial advisor:

  • hiring and selection;
  • training;
  • communications with customers;
  • presentation materials;
  • suitable recommendations; and
  • client transactions.

Branch office managers can delegate supervisory tasks but not the responsibilities given to them by the brokerage firm. A large number of financial advisors in a branch office may require delegation of supervisory tasks to front-line managers who supervise the day-to-day activities of financial advisors assigned to them for supervision. Due to the number of financial advisors and the number of transactions at the branch office level, an computerized, management by exception system, is used for the oversight of client accounts. The monitoring and review at the branch office is accomplished through the use of exception reports developed by the brokerage firm to flag certain activities in customer accounts.

Recover Unauthorized Wire Transfer Losses

Investors who lost money due to their broker’s unauthorized wire transfer and misappropriation of client funds with losses in excess of $250,000, are encouraged to contact Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq., at (561) 542-5131, and download our Special Investor Report.

About Us

KlaymanToskes is a leading national securities law firm which practices exclusively in the field of securities arbitration on behalf of retail and institutional investors throughout the world in large and complex securities matters. KlaymanToskes has recovered more than $225 million for investors in FINRA arbitrations. KlaymanToskes has office locations in California, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.