Florida Investor Resources

The Florida Securities Investor Protection Act is tricky.  The Statute, Fla. Stat. Ch. 517.301, relating to “Fraudulent transactions; falsification or concealment of facts” provides that:

(1) It is unlawful and a violation of the provisions of this chapter for a person:(a) In connection with the rendering of any investment advice or in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any investment or security, including any security exempted under the provisions of s. 517.051 and including any security sold in a transaction exempted under the provisions of s. 517.061, directly or indirectly:

a) To employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud;

1) To obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading; or

2) To engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon a person.

b) To publish, give publicity to, or circulate any notice, circular, advertisement, newspaper, article, letter, investment service, communication, or broadcast which, though not purporting to offer a security for sale, describes such security for a consideration received or to be received directly or indirectly from an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, or from an agent or employee of an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, without fully disclosing the receipt, whether past or prospective, of such consideration and the amount of the consideration.

Civil Remedies

Civil Penalties are provided for in Florida Statute Chapter, 517.211, and states that with respect to “Remedies available in cases of unlawful sale” that:

(1) Every sale made in violation of either s. 517.07 or s. 517.12(1), (4), (5), (9), (11), (13), (16), or (18) may be rescinded at the election of the purchaser, except a sale made in violation of the provisions of s. 517.1202(3) relating to a renewal of a branch office notification shall not be subject to this section, and a sale made in violation of the provisions of s. 517.12(13) relating to filing a change of address amendment shall not be subject to this section. Each person making the sale and every director, officer, partner, or agent of or for the seller, if the director, officer, partner, or agent has personally participated or aided in making the sale, is jointly and severally liable to the purchaser in an action for rescission, if the purchaser still owns the security, or for damages, if the purchaser has sold the security. No purchaser otherwise entitled will have the benefit of this subsection who has refused or failed, within 30 days of receipt, to accept an offer made in writing by the seller, if the purchaser has not sold the security, to take back the security in question and to refund the full amount paid by the purchaser or, if the purchaser has sold the security, to pay the purchaser an amount equal to the difference between the amount paid for the security and the amount received by the purchaser on the sale of the security, together, in either case, with interest on the full amount paid for the security by the purchaser at the legal rate, pursuant to s. 55.03, for the period from the date of payment by the purchaser to the date of repayment, less the amount of any income received by the purchaser on the security.

(2) Any person purchasing or selling a security in violation of s. 517.301, and every director, officer, partner, or agent of or for the purchaser or seller, if the director, officer, partner, or agent has personally participated or aided in making the sale or purchase, is jointly and severally liable to the person selling the security to or purchasing the security from such person in an action for rescission, if the plaintiff still owns the security, or for damages, if the plaintiff has sold the security.

(3) In an action for rescission:

(a) A purchaser may recover the consideration paid for the security or investment, plus interest thereon at the legal rate, less the amount of any income received by the purchaser on the security or investment upon tender of the security or investment.

(b) A seller may recover the security upon tender of the consideration paid for the security, plus interest at the legal rate, less the amount of any income received by the defendant on the security.

(4) In an action for damages brought by a purchaser of a security or investment, the plaintiff shall recover an amount equal to the difference between:

(a) The consideration paid for the security or investment, plus interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of purchase; and

(b) The value of the security or investment at the time it was disposed of by the plaintiff, plus the amount of any income received on the security or investment by the plaintiff.

(5) In an action for damages brought by a seller of a security, the plaintiff shall recover an amount equal to the difference between:

(a) The value of the security at the time of the complaint, plus the amount of any income received by the defendant on the security; and

(b) The consideration received for the security, plus interest at the legal rate from the date of sale.

(6) In any action brought under this section, including an appeal, the court shall award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party unless the court finds that the award of such fees would be unjust.

However, Florida Statute Chapter, 517.211(3)(6) states the “prevailing party” shall be entitled to legal fees.

Accordingly, if you bring a 517 claim in Florida, and lose, you may be responsible for the brokerage firm’s legal fees.

In Taylor v. E.F. Hutton & Co., Inc., 40 Fla.Supp.2d 144 (Fla. 12th Cir. Ct. 1990) the Court specifically found that:  “(1) § 517.211(6) Fla. Stat. gives to a trial court the discretion not to award attorney’s fees to a prevailing defendant if the trial court finds that to do so would be “unjust”; and in considering whether or not an award of attorney’s fees to a prevailing defendant would be unjust, the trial court should consider: (2) the public policies behind the statute authorizing attorneys’ fees in the case; (3) the relative economic strengths of the parties to the litigation; and (4) whether or not the claims made by the non-prevailing Plaintiff were substantially justified.

In the short title of Chapter 517 Fla. Stat., i.e., the “Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act,” the Florida Legislature expressly acknowledged the critical role that Chapter 517 plays in the preventing the exploitation of investors.  See, Ch. 85-165, § 1, Laws of Fla.; § 517.011 Fla. Stat. (1985 and 1999). Judge Brownell’s opinion in Taylor v. E.F. Hutton & Co., Inc., 40 Fla.Supp.2d at 149, and the First District Court of Appeals’ opinion in Newsom v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 558 So.2d at 1077-1078 both cite Chapter 517’s investor protection public policy purpose as part their rationales for their findings that it was “unjust” to award attorney’s fees to the prevailing defendants in those cases.

Judge Brownell states: With respect to the public policies, if any, behind the statute awarding attorney’s fees, this Court finds that Chapter 517 Fla. Stat. (1987), the Florida Blue Sky Law, was enacted for the purposes of protecting the investing public and regulating the securities industry.  The court finds that the statutory scheme of Chapter 517 is to encourage private citizens to bring appropriate legal actions under the statute to help advance these public policies. The court finds that frequent awards against private citizen plaintiffs would have a deterrent and chilling effect upon others who might otherwise seek to utilize the Florida securities law to advance these public policies.  The court finds that this deterrent and chilling effect would particularly take place were courts to frequently award fees to prevailing securities industry defendants even in those cases where the claims of the plaintiffs, although unsuccessful, had substantial merit or were substantially justified.  Taylor v. E.F. Hutton & Co., Inc., 40 Fla.Supp.2d at 149.

See also, Raymond James & Associates, Inc. v. Stanley Golin et al., No. 94-01599 Div. C (Fla. 13th Cir. Ct. June 5, 1995), aff’d per curiam, 678 So.2d 1294 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996).

In Florida, FINRA Arbitration hearings are held in Orlando, Tampa, Boca Raton, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale

Under the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure, the FINRA Securities Arbitration hearing locations will selected based upon the hearing location closest to your residence at the time of the events giving rise to the dispute.

Additional Florida Investor Resources:

Office of Financial Regulation
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Pam Epting
Director, Division of Securities
(850) 410-9500
(850) 410-9748 (Fax)

Guiliano Law Group – Securities Arbitration & Investment Fraud Lawyers

Our practice is limited to the representation of investors. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you. There is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim.  All consultations are confidential. For more information, contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

If you have been the victim of securities fraud or investment fraud you should contact a lawyer. Our services are offered on a contingent fee basis. We will receive payment for services in connection with your case only if there is a recovery.  You will not be required to advance any fees to the firm during the course of the litigation. 
 In the event that a settlement, award, or recovery is not made, clients have no financial or other obligation to us.  Not admitted in all jurisdictions.  The determination for the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions that should not be based solely on advertisements or self proclaimed expertise. The limitation or concentration in any area of practice does not mean that a lawyer is a specialist or expert in a field of law, nor does it mean that the lawyer is necessarily any more expert or competent than any other lawyer.  See Important Disclaimer.

All claims arising under state and federal securities laws must be brought within a specified time from the discovery of these claims, or within the occurrence of the events giving rise to your claims, whichever is shorter.  If you fail to do file an action within this period, your claim may be potentially barred by the statute of limitations.

For more information concerning common claims against stockbrokers and investment professionals, please visit us at securitiesarbitrations.com.

To learn more about FINRA Securities Arbitration, and the legal process, please visit us at securitiesarbitrations.com.


FINRA Arbitration

The litigation of individual and group investor claims against securities broker-dealers and investment professionals adjuducated in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Defective Financial Products

Alternative Investments, Promissory Notes, Structured Products, High Yield Bond Funds, Non-Marketable Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inverse and Leveraged ETFs,  the Failure to Conduct Due Diligence.

Unsuitable Investments

Speculative or High Risk Investment Recommendations, Unsuitable Investment Strategies, Low Priced Securities, Customer Specific Unsuitability, Inappropriate Investment Recommendations.

Stockbroker Misconduct

Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Churing, Unauthorized Trading, Fraud, Stockbroker Theft, Ponzi Schemes, the Sale of Unapprovied investments.

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I had questions and sought a consultation regarding what I believed to have been inappropriate treatment by my brokerage firm. He took the time to give me a clear understanding of what was involved and clearly described next steps to resolve the matter. He did this in a concise, complete and friendly manner. Although in the scheme of things my matter was small. From what I have seen, if I ever had need of a securities lawyer or was asked to refer one to a friend, Nicholas would undoubtedly be the first name I would mention.

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Excellent Attorney!

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Brian F. (Avvo)

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"Excellent Expertise In Securities Fraud"
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My case was taken on a contingency basis. Even though it lasted about two years, the Guiliano law firm kept in contact with me, continued to research the case and brought it to a successful conclusion. They were very supportive of me in my first such experience and were very good to work with.

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Personable and professional, he is the one to go to when investors are defrauded by Brokerage houses and Investment banks. Somebody you want on your side when things go wrong. He takes personal interest in every case and tries his best. Although I could not recover all my losses due to Fed/SEC action which was beyond his control, I would give Mr. Guiliano full marks on every count. He even worked with my accountants to help me write off losses due to fraud.

Ashok N. (Avvo)
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My husband and I were lucky to find Nick after losing a substantial amount of money due to poor investing from a prominent company. He made us feel at ease right away and was always accessible for questions and concerns. Nick and his team were wonderful with gathering up all the pertinent information needed for our case, constantly in contact with us, answering all of our questions, which helped to make the process a lot less stressful. We are so very grateful to have had The Guiliano Law Firm represent us and the fact that they did it on a contingency basis made it possible to follow through. If not for them, we would never have been able to pursue this, financially or emotionally.

Stacey B. (Avvo)
"Man Of Integrity"

Nick is an incredibly decent Atty. He's a man of integrity, fairness, and honesty. You could see that it's wasn't just me who noticed, it was opposing counsel, at the end of the Zoom! I'm completely impressed with Nick and will keep him in my prayers. Thanks again!

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I contacted Nicholas Guiliano for my 90 year old mother, who lives in Oregon to assist her in recovering from an unscrupulous financial manager who talked her into investing in some very high risk and speculative securities to reap high commissions. Mr Guiliano worked very hard to recover what he could for my mother. He is the best and fights for his clients like a bull dog to uphold their rights and protect their interests. I highly recommend Mr Guiliano and his firm when it comes to securities issues.

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Anthony P. (Google Business)
"Best Of The Best"

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I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations for your awesome results. I want to acknowledge my appreciation and respect for their splendid professionalism and knowledge you have shown in handling the laws (previous and present), for arbitration over fraud litigations.

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"Incredibly Resourceful"

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Mr. Guiliano (Nicholas) represented my mother and I in an investment case where it appeared the agent was preying on elderly people and steering them to improper investments to reap commissions. Mr Guilano did an excellent job of preparing the case and representing us. Although the case settled out of court, it was the best outcome expected for several technical reasons out of his control. He always kept us informed and provided sound recommendations. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Guiliano for any investment related case.

Bob W. (Avvo)
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I used Mr. Guiliano for a investment fraud case and he did a very good job. I got a good deal of my money back that had been lost due to risky investments I was put into by a prominent company. It was not a really big case, yet Mr. Guiliano was interested and responsive and kept on top of things for me. I would recommend him strongly.

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We called Mr. Guiliano after reading his article in Forbes magazine. Although we though the statue of limitations might have run out on our case, we were thrilled when he took our case. Against the odds, he was able to get a settlement for us. He kept us informed and advised us on the proper course of action. We always felt confident with his ability and advice and it paid off. Highly recommend.

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Nick Guiliano came highly recommended to me and I was very fortunate that he agreed to take my case. His knowledge of the law and his ability to think outside the box amazed me more and more as my case progressed. His aggressive style and total dedication to me and my case gave me the confidence that we were going to prevail and we did. He is one of the few Attorneys that does not finish his work at end of the day. He was always thinking of ways to use his expertise and knowledge on my behalf. On a personal note, he is a very down to earth guy who makes you very comfortable and at ease. He gave me the ability to sleep at night knowing that my case was in his hands. I will always recommend him without any reservations. In my book he is “the Best”

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Nicholas Guiliano was successful in winning a case against one of the firms where I had invested. I had a safe investment until a young eager stock broker took over my account and slowly kept putting my money in risky stocks, all while I was on disability. Nick was able to get me a portion of my money back within 2 months. He always was available to speak, and very courteous. I am so grateful to have found Nick. Thank you Nick!
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Philadelphia has lived up to it's reputation as having the best attorneys in the Country. I had been told I had a problem of having a Hedge Fund investment. He went to a lot of time and trouble to not take my case. What I really appreciate is his work ethic. He was very kind to me not only with the generosity of his time, but with his words of support. No civilian, like myself, wants a lawsuit but if I ever needed one, it is Mr, Guiliano who I would call upon to represent me. He is a good man.

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