“When we went to our hearing, Bob Banks was extraordinarily prepared,” states former client Bob Spitzka. “He brought five D-ring binders… you know the big kind… into that hearing. Over the next few hours, he demonstrated to everyone in the room that he knew every line, every page in those five binders. I admire the man without reservation.”
Spitzka contacted Banks after seeing his name in the newspaper. Spitzka had just lost a great deal of money to a stockbroker firm. The broker who contacted Spitzka sounded sincere and honest, and convinced him to open an account. After gaining Spitzka’s trust, the agent began to sell Spitzka small stocks that he had never heard of by telling him that the businesses were growing at a breakneck pace. As it turned out, almost everything the broker told him was untrue. And the brokerage was selling unknown and unproven stocks to many clients, using the same outright lies to do so.
Meanwhile, Banks had been contacted by five other clients who had lost money to the same brokerage. The brokerage firm itself closed its doors after Banks filed suit, but Banks was able to bring the claims against others responsible for running the fraud and operating the brokerage. The charges were aired in the course of a five day hearing before the NASD arbitrators. When the case was over, Banks’ clients received close to $2 million, including enough to pay Banks’ attorney fees. “I had no clue where to turn for help,” relates Spitzka. “Banks was tough but polite. I give the man my total respect and unlimited endorsement. To me, he achieved the impossible.”
“Bob made an unpleasant experience as pleasant as can be,” client Patricia Miller says, talking about her arbitration hearing with Bob Banks. “He’s very professional in every way. I was impressed with his wonderful mind.”
Miller, a woman now in her 70s, had trusted a Merrill Lynch broker to handle her retirement savings. Through her mid to late 60s, the broker began to manage Miller’s investments more aggressively, eventually committing a great deal of the account to high risk stocks that were not appropriate for a person at her stage in life. Miller trusted the broker completely and would okay whatever the broker recommended, with little knowledge of the risks she was taking. When the market fell in 2000 and 2001, Miller lost a significant amount of her retirement savings.
“I was stunned when I realized what had happened,” Miller recalls of her losses. “I didn’t know what to do. I became sort of numb about the whole thing.” It was Miller’s accountant who pushed her to talk to Bob Banks.
After they met, Banks reviewed all of the brokerage account statements that Miller provided. He then filed a claim with the NASD. Over the course of a three day hearing, Banks demonstrated how the Merrill Lynch broker had financially abused Miller and taken advantage of her trust. Banks and Miller won the hearing and recovered a significant award.
Miller states, “Bob knew just what to do at the hearing. He has a wonderful assistant, Jennifer, and she helped keep all the files organized. The whole thing went like clockwork. They were able to open the files to just where they needed to be.”
“I recommend Bob all the time,” Miller adds. “I tell everyone what a good job he did for me and how satisfied I am.”
“I felt better as soon as I talked to Bob Banks,” client Jim Carskadon recounts of their initial meeting. “He said ‘Nothing is cast in concrete’ but he made me feel like there was a real chance we might get our money back. His performance at our hearing was fantastic. You could feel knowledge and skill come forward.”
Carskadon was in his 70s when he found himself in need of a good investment attorney. He is an Air Force veteran and had retired from Boeing at the age of 65-years-old. He underwent open heart surgery. Following his retirement, in 1998, Carskadon went to Merrill Lynch to seek advice on how to best manage his life-long retirement savings. The management of his nest egg would be critical to his future quality of life. He needed to have enough money to pay future medical expenses and other living expenses for him and his wife.
Merrill Lynch assigned a broker to Carskadon, telling him that this individual handled “Priority Clients.” In early 2000, the Merrill broker advised Carskadon to sell his mutual funds to purchase aggressive and risky stocks. In two years, his savings lost two-thirds of their value with those stock investments. He recalls, “Our advisor came on as a friend, but he took us for a ride down the river. I figured I’d never get a penny back.” When Carskadon hired Bob Banks on a contingency fee agreement, the attorney began looking into the situation. He soon reported his belief that Merrill Lynch had violated its fiduciary responsibilities in a number of ways. The Merrill broker should never have recommended or sold the aggressive investments to a 73-year-old, especially one with a history of serious health problems.
Banks filed a case with the NASD. He arranged for a hearing for Carskadon in front of an arbitration panel. At the hearing, Banks laid out the case against Merrill Lynch and its broker. The panel found in Carskadon’s favor and ordered Merrill to pay him a six figure award, which included the entire amount of his losses, plus interest, plus Banks’ attorney fees. “Bob Banks is an aggressive attorney and he knows the letter of the law,” Carskadon states. “If you need some help because of bad investment advice, he’s the one you want.”