Banc of America Pays Brokers Over $1.2 Million Arising from FINRA Award and False U-5's

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Vindicated brokers Rock Mirich and Brent Cowin clear their names (and U-5s) and receive large payments from Banc of America for wrongful termination and defamation.

On December 5, 2008, Banc of America satisfied the civil judgment of over $1.2 million entered against Banc of America Investment Services, Inc. (BAIS), after a four year dispute concerning the termination of two of Nevada's and the country's top producers.

The brokers, Rock Mirich and Brent Cowin, through their attorneys, Kevin Mirch and Marie Mirch, accused Banc of America Investment Services, as well as some of its executives, of damaging their reputations with current and potential clients by purposely interfering with prospective business relationships, libeling and slandering them and wrongfully firing them when they were asked to leave Banc of America, a broker-dealer subsidiary of Bank of America Corp, in October of 2004.

The matter, FINRA case no. 07-00446, was tried earlier this year before a three person FINRA Panel, who issued an award in favor of Messrs. Cowin and Mirich in excess of $1.2 million. Further, the Panel ordered that the brokers' U-5 forms contained false and defamatory information and ordered that the language be expunged from the U-5's, replaced with the language that the brokers were "erroneously terminated".

BAIS, who had originally moved to compel the case into arbitration, in a feeble attempt to minimize the victory, erroneously claimed victory on all but one claim, and petitioned the Nevada Court to vacate the award. The Nevada Court flatly rejected BAIS's argument and affirmed the award on all claims, including the individual executives. Banc of America has satisfied the judgment by paying all damages awarded to Messrs. Cowin and Mirich.

A representative of the San Diego based Mirch Law Firm believes that a substantial number of false U-5's are regularly submitted as business tools to protect securities firms that overcharge commissions, churn accounts, and sell defective products through misrepresentations or fraud. The Cowin/Mirich case is just one example. At the time of termination, Banc of America Investment Services (BAIS) had claimed that the Brokers were overcharging commissions. However, NASD E-Mails to management at BAIS confirmed that BAIS knew that its software programs were overcharging commissions for at least one year prior to 2004, and failed to disclose the problem to their brokers or clients. Rather, BAIS blamed the brokers, and in one case, voluntarily refunded over $800,000 in commissions that were overcharged as a result of the faulty grid.

A spokesperson for the Mirch Law Firm stated its opinion that millions of dollars in excessive commissions may have been paid by BAIS clients while under a directive from the NASD (FINRA) to correct the software. The Mirch Law Firm is currently investigating instances where Brokers have been wrongfully terminated and are entitled to U-5 expungement and/or monetary relief. From his San Diego Office, Kevin Mirch, Esq., insists that new legislation is necessary to prevent false U-5's from being filed as a means to obtain legitimate brokers' clients following wrongful terminations. Mirch notes that the current stock crisis may be a result of securities firms refusing to acknowledge and immediately address brokers' concerns regarding improper industry practices.

The Mirch Law Firm is located in San Diego, California.

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MARIE MIRCH

Kevin Mirch

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