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A complaint filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) against Philip Leonard Grasso Jr. alleges that he, a representative of Allstate Financial Services, LLC (Allstate Financial) “inserted himself into the lives of two elderly customers in order to defraud them of their funds.” FINRA alleged that while Mr. Grasso was on a medical leave of absence from Allstate Financial, he inserted himself into the lives of two elderly customers (ages 89 and 91) in order to defraud them financially.

Between December 2013 and January 2014, Mr. Grasso allegedly convinced the two elderly clients to liquidate their various life insurance policies and annuities (approximately $227,150) and open a brokerage account. Mr. Grasso allegedly then took all the funds from the brokerage account and put them in his own bank account. Mr. Grasso used these client funds for personal expenses like his mortgage and stock investments. In an attempt to hide the misconduct, Mr. Grasso allegedly created false documents for his clients and misrepresented their investment. Mr. Grasso was terminated by Allstate Financial due to allegations that he “commingled the customers’ funds” in May 2014. As it’s a current investigation, FINRA has requested sanctions and restitution to be imposed upon Mr. Grasso. Continue reading →

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A FINRA complaint filed against Miles Bahl of Salt Point, New York, Conrad Huss of Airmont and Christopher Moran of Jackson Heights alleges that the three representatives of du Pasquier & Co. Inc. made fraudulent misrepresentations in “connection with the solicitation and sale of over $3 million of promissory notes.”

The complaint alleges that Mr. Bahl and Mr. Huss fraudulently misrepresented a private offering issued by a real estate development company to 17 of Bahl’s clients. Mr. Bahl and Mr. Huss allegedly misrepresented promissory notes to clients with falsified paperwork that stated that the notes were secured. The complaint also alleges that Mr. Bahl and Mr. Huss made intentional misrepresentations by recommending notes for clients that didn’t fit their “reasonable basis suitability obligations.” In addition, the complaint further alleges that Mr. Moran “failed to establish, maintain, or enforce a reasonable supervisory system or written procedures in connection with the firm’s private placement business.” Mr. Moran allegedly failed to supervise Mr. Bahl and Mr. Huss in connection with the notes, missing multiple “red flags.” In January 2015, Miles Bahl, Conrad Huss, and Christopher Moran settled with FINRA and were barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Continue reading →

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Darrell Vanpamel of Cape Coral, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he engaged in outside business activities for which he received compensation without the approval of member firm, USA Financial Securities Corporation.

Between April and May 2013, Mr. Vanpamel allegedly engaged in outside insurance activities with four clients without his firm’s approval. Mr. Vanpamel received approximately $1,400 in total from his four clients for “account set-up fees.” FINRA found that Mr. Vanpamel failed to provide written notice to USA Financial Securities Corp. (USA Financial) for his outside business activities or for his compensation. According to FINRA, Mr. Vanpamel violated FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010. Mr. Vanpamel was fined $5,000 and was suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for one month. Continue reading →

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David Leonard Potter, of St. Petersburg, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he made “negligent misrepresentations to investors” in regard to private offerings his firm, LaSalle Street Securities, had yet to approve.

Mr. Potter, former branch manager of LaSalle Street Securities’ Tampa, Florida office, ran an investment advisory business, Platinum Wealth Partners, Inc. (PWP) which he decided to expand in late 2012. Without the capital to do so, Mr. Potter commenced a PWP private placement offering in March 2013 to raise capital through the sale of convertible debenture units. The offering was a minimum and maximum offering requiring at least $1.5 million being raised before distribution. Continue reading →

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William Charlton Mays of Corpus Christi, Texas was barred from association with any FINRA member due to his conversion and misuse of customer funds while he was a representative of SWS Financial Services. Around August 2011, while Mr. Mays was still a member of SWS, he recommended a client to invest $50,000 in stocks and commodities. Mr. Mays allegedly told his client the $50,000 investment would yield 6% annual return. On September 6, 2011, Mr. Mays deposited the client’s $50,000 check into a bank account for May’s Financial Group, an organization Mr. Mays controls. A month later, his client requested his funds be returned, but Mays initially told the investor he couldn’t get the funds (but later gave his client $40,000).

FINRA found that between September 2011 and October 2011 Mr. Mays converted and used upwards of $30,000 from his clients’ investment for personal expenses. For violation of FINRA conduct Rule 2150(a) and Rule 2010, Mr. Mays was barred from association with any FINRA member, ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and ordered to pay restitution. Continue reading →

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WFG Investments, Inc. of Dallas, Texas submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm consented to, but it did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that it failed to conduct appropriate due diligence and supervision with respect to a private placement offering and that a registered representative sold an investment away from the firm as an approved private securities transaction.

FINRA found that in various times between March 2007 and January 2014, “the Firm failed to commit the necessary time, attention and resources to an array of critical regulatory obligations related to its supervision of registered representatives.” Clients who invested in the private placement offering allegedly lost their entire investment. FINRA also found that WFG Investments failed to supervise its representatives, who allegedly recommended the sale of high risk equity and ETF purchases for a retired client with conservative risk tolerance. In addition, WFG Investments failed to supervise a representative’s private securities transactions. According to FINRA, the WFG representative allegedly structured and sold two funds that had substantial investments (exceeding the 50% limit) without investors’ knowledge. All private placement investors allegedly “lost 100% of their investments resulting from a related entity’s fraudulent business practices.” Consequently, WFG Investments was censured and fined $700,000 by FINRA. Continue reading →

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Geoffrey Richards Securities Corp. of Hypoluxo, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm consented to, but did not admit to or deny the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that it conducted securities business after the firm’s net capital fell below its minimum requirement.

FINRA member since 2002, Geoffrey Richards Securities Corp. (Geoffrey Richards) is a firm that specializes in securities. FINRA found “between June 2010 and January 2013, Geoffrey Richards acted as an underwriter in a firm commitment offerings, conducted a securities business while it was net capital deficient, failed to file to the requisite net capital deficiency notifications, filed inaccurate Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) Reports, and maintained inaccurate books and records.” Mr. Richards’ alleged involvement as underwriter in the firm commitment offering required deductions to the firm’s net capital to be made. For an eight day period, the firm’s net capital fell below its minimum requirement. For violation of several FINRA, NASD, and SEC Rules, Geoffrey Richards Securities Corp. was fined $40,000. Continue reading →

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Clearview Correspondent Services, LLC (Clearview) of Richmond, Virginia submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that it failed to report positions to the Large Options Position Reporting (LOPR) system.

According to FINRA, Clearview (now known as BB&T Securities), failed to properly aggregate positions of over 1,000 accounts that were acting in concert under the coms review periods. In addition, FINRA found that the firm failed to “establish and maintain a supervisory system that was reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the applicable securities laws and regulations, and FINRA Rules, concerning the reporting of options positions to the LOPR.” Consequently, Clearview, n/k/a BB&T, was censured and fined $1,000,000. Continue reading →

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Dawson James Securities, Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that it “failed to establish and implement an adequate system to determine whether a former registrant’s disclosed outside business was properly characterized as an outside business activity or whether it should be treated as an outside securities activity subject to the requirements of NASD Rule 3040.” Continue reading →

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Michael Hadden, a former broker with UBS Wealth Management (UBS), has made claims that UBS allegedly made it “impossible” for his to continue working due to “… its various unethical practices with respect to customers …” as stated in his original arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Mr. Hadden has asked a federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, to overturn FINRAs arbitration award which ordered him to repay over $300,000 in bonus money, attorneys’ fees and interest. According to Mr. Hadden’s court filings, UBS would allegedly mislabel conservative investors as moderate in order to avoid future restitution and penalties. As Mr. Hadden noted in his court documents, “… the risk reporting system is done … to protect UBS from future claims of lack of suitability from the client or FINRA.”
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