Raymond James Accused of Fraud and Perjury; FINRA Arbitration Case Now Before the Fifth Circuit, RJFS and its Branch Manager Subjects of Investigations Due to FINRA conduct

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Precedent setting case involving alleged fraud in arbitration on appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Former financial advisor for Raymond James Financial Services alleges in his brief to the court that RJFS and its branch manager obtained a favorable arbitration award at FINRA by fraud - including perjury, fraud upon the court, obstruction of justice, spoliation of evidence, collusion and conspiracy.

“I have alleged that Raymond James and its branch manager procured a favorable arbitration award by fraud – which was the only way that they could have won the arbitration,” Wanken said.

An arbitration case that was before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in December 2009 is on appeal to the Fifth Circuit for the United States Court of Appeals, Case Number USCA5 11-10219.

Chris Wanken, a former financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services (RJFS), filed the FINRA claim against RJFS and its branch manager in December 2008 alleging breach of partnership, breach of contract, failure to supervise, wrongful termination and defamation of his FINRA U-5.

Wanken alleged in federal court that the defendants perjured themselves during the FINRA arbitration hearing, that they suppressed thousands of pages of discoverable documents, they offered testimony they knew to be false and that this was part of a plan designed by the two defendants and participated in by the attorneys for the parties.

In his brief, Wanken alleged that after the arbitration, RJFS’s branch manager went on to contradict every material statement he and his attorney, N. Henry Simpson, had made about Wanken, his role with the firm and the reason for his termination in investigations conducted by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Internal Revenue Service. As a result, his testimony to these agencies now contradicts both his and RJFS’ FINRA testimony.

“I have alleged that Raymond James and its branch manager procured a favorable arbitration award by fraud – which was the only way that they could have won the arbitration,” Wanken said.

According to Wanken's brief, he alleges that he and RJFS counsel Erin Linehan-Reyes participated in a phone call in advance of the FINRA arbitration during which she told him that she wasn’t concerned about the arbitration hearing because she believed that FINRA arbitrators place greater weight on oral testimony than written evidence.

Wanken has alleged in his brief to the Fifth Circuit that this demonstrates RJFS and its counsel were part of the plan to procure the arbitration award by fraud through perjury, subornation of perjury, fraud upon the court, spoliation of evidence that would have contradicted their intended testimony, obstruction of justice, collusion and conspiracy.

Complaints have been filed with the regulatory bodies governing the financial services industry, including FINRA and the SEC, the United States Attorney’s Office and with the State Bars of Texas and Florida, where N. Henry Simpson III and Erin Linehan-Reyes, counsel for the branch manager and RJFS respectively, are licensed to practice law.

“My brief to the Fifth Circuit alleges that Raymond James and its branch manager conspired and colluded to procure the arbitration award by fraud – and that they did so through a coordinated effort of spoliation of evidence, perjury and fraud upon the court. Given the fact that Raymond James’ own branch manager has now contradicted all of his material FINRA testimony in IRS and TWC investigations, it appears that the two of them worked together to win the arbitration case by fraud,” commented Wanken.

The defendants were required to submit their briefs by June 7, 2011. Wanken has asked for oral argument in his brief.

“I’ve been fighting this battle for more than three years. My life has been utterly destroyed by the actions of Raymond James and its branch manager. I am looking forward to my day in court. I’m hopeful that Raymond James and its branch manager will be held accountable for their actions. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to justice being served. I believe this case will set a precedent for fraud in arbitration cases, particularly with regard to FINRA arbitrations.” Wanken said.

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