Levin Papantonio Wins $1.1 Million Award for Victims of Financial Fraud by Jerry McCutchen and Berthel Fisher
Arbitrators with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, FINRA, awarded over $1.1 million to Mobile area clients who lost investments and retirement savings as a result of inappropriate recommendations from a former Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services advisor Jerry McCutchen.
Mr. McCutchen operated through Retiring With Dignity and The McCutchen Company in the Mobile, AL area and advertised on local television and radio, including an advertisement where he received the endorsement of Dave Ramsey. The verdict included the recovery of compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, costs, and even punitive damages. The claimants were represented by Michael C. Bixby, an attorney with the national law firm Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, in Pensacola, FL.
Mr. Bixby has been investigating allegations against former financial advisor Mr. Jerry McCutchen and Berthel Fisher for several years. Mr. McCutchen is accused of making unsuitable recommendations with regard to the purchase of certain non-conventional investments, including wholesale recommendations for fee-laden, conflict-ridden, illiquid, and high-risk non-traded REITs and Equipment Leasing programs and Oil & Gas Limited Partnerships.
Mr. McCutchen has been the subject of dozens of customer complaints or claims and has been permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, FINRA, from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Berthel Fisher was separately subject to a regulatory investigation and penalty from FINRA relating to its sale and supervision of these types of products. This is the first arbitration award involving Mr. McCutchen and Berthel Fisher and these non-conventional investments. Based upon available data, this is the largest FINRA award ever issued against Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services.
“McCutchen’s former clients came to the Levin, Papantonio firm seeking legal help after they realized what they had been told for years was not true and that the investments McCutchen recommended resulted in huge losses to their retirement savings,” said Michael Bixby, with Levin Papantonio’s Securities & Business Litigation Department. “There is little recourse for people who have invested in products like these, except through counsel. Arbitration is typically required in an industry forum where investors often face long odds in recovering for their losses. I am proud that justice has been served for my clients. This verdict is a tremendous victory for our clients who have recovered their losses, including attorney’s fees, costs to help make our clients whole. The evidence we presented demonstrated Jerry McCutchen and Berthel Fisher’s wholesale business model recommending these high-fee products to their clients. It was an absolute fee bonanza at the expense of the client’s best interest. The arbitrators awarded punitive damages against Berthel Fisher and Jerry McCutchen to punish them for their conduct.”McCutchen serviced many clients and retirees’ investment accounts in the Mobile, Bay Minette, and Fairhope areas and advertised on Mobile area television stations, targeting retirement-minded investors with commercial claims like: “At the McCutchen Company we’re known for answers to difficult financial questions in good times and especially bad times. Don’t wait; let us help you make your retirement dignified – it’s what we do…”
Mr. Bixby is currently taking another case against McCutchen and his former employer, Berthel Fisher & Company, to arbitration and he is continuing to represent other investors. If you have complaints regarding Jerry McCutchen, contact the securities and investment fraud attorneys at the Levin, Papantonio firm. Our Securities & Business Litigation Department has represented more than 3,000 investment fraud victims across the country in state and federal court and arbitration.