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Referral Spotlight: LRIS Broker Fraud Case Settles for $1.1M


By Carole Conn Director, Public Service Programs, LRIS


Investment is oftentimes an arcane business. For the layperson, investment requires placing one’s trust in a competent broker whose charge is to responsibly invest one’s money for a likely, positive return. When one particular woman and her two sisters learned, to their horror, that their broker had caused the loss of their $600,000 inherit-ance, they contacted the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS). LRIS panel attorney, Val Hornstein, a 25-year business and securities law attorney, promptly took the case.

Val HornsteinThe clients had commissioned a broker at White Pacific Securities, a boutique firm dedicated to serving Asian American investors. While the broker was to investigate and secure suitable investments that matched his investors’ profile, that level of care didn’t occur. The broker had negligently invested the sisters’ inheritance in a high-risk property venture that went bankrupt. Hornstein discovered that among other FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) violations, the broker had failed to properly certify the sisters for such a risky investment.

As the case proceeded, the brokerage firm changed its representation twice but to no avail. Hornstein ultimately secured an arbitrated award of $1.1million including payment of costs and attorney’s fees from the brokerage firm, a judgment which the broker-age firm twice appealed through “petitions to vacate.” Finally, after more than two years, Hornstein triumphed, winning on both petitions and restoring, to his clients’ great satisfaction, the entirety of their inheritance and more.

“This case was a really rewarding experience” reported Hornstein. “These ladies really needed help and the good work of the referral program got them to me.”

Hornstein is part of a four-attorney law firm, and enjoys having control over the cases he handles. He has been an LRIS panel member for more than ten years, and says, “They help real people with real problems and the appreciation from the clients, who often come to me confused and scared, is very gratifying.”


LRIS receives nearly 50,000 calls annually from the public in need of legal representation. BASF’s LRIS is a State Bar Certified Referral Program, model referral service, well-known nationally for its outstanding legal assistance to the public. Refer with confidence those clients outside your practice area: (415)
989-1616 or

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