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Eric Howard Kunis, of South Setauket, New York, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which Kunis was assessed a deferred fine of $2,500, suspended for two months and ordered to pay $2,189.78 in restitution to his customers.

From 2002 through 2018, Kunis was registered with Maxim Group as a General Securities Principal. According to FINRA, between February 2012 and January 2017 Kunis engaged in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading in the accounts of eleven customers. FINRA stated that Kunis repeatedly recommended his customers purchase and sell unit investment trusts (UITs) before their maturity date, causing the customers to incur unnecessary sales charges. Based on the foregoing, FINRA concluded that Kunis violated NASD Rule 2310 along with FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. Continue reading →

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John Scott Simoncic of Carlsbad, California submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was barred for willfully violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Exchange Act Rule 10b-5 and FINRA Rules 2020, 2111 and 2010.

From May 2014 until November 2016 Simoncic was registered with Financial West as a General Securities Representative and Supervising Principal. According to FINRA, while registered with Financial West, Mr. Simoncic was responsible for churning, engaging in excessive trading, and making unsuitable recommendations in five accounts held by two customers. FINRA stated that the customers gave Mr. Simoncic de facto control over the accounts and relied upon him completely to advise the accounts. Mr. Simoncic allegedly charged the customers commissions and fees totaling $79,000, earning 88 percent of his gross commission solely from the accounts, and caused the customers to exceed losses of $105,000. Continue reading →

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Jose Luis Paula submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly violating FINRA Rule 2010.

Jose Paula joined NYLife Securities LLC as an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative in March 2010 until his termination in January 2017. According to FINRA, Paula attempted to settle a customer complaint related to losses in her account by agreeing to refund her the total principal associated with the trades. The findings stated that when Mr. Paula issued a check in the amount of $10,000, he told the customer not to cash it until he could fund his checking account, but never did. The findings also stated that Mr. Paula never informed his firm of the complaint nor did he obtain authorization to settle the complaint, thereby violating FINRA Rule 2010. Continue reading →

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Daniel K. Kittner, a former registered representative with Ameritas, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was alleged to be in violation of NASD Rule 2510(b), FINRA Rule 2010 and 4511, assessed a fine of $7,500 and suspended.

In 2011, Kittner joined Ameritas Investment Corporation as a General Securities Representative and a General Securities Principal. According to FINRA, from June 2015 to September 2017, Kittner exercised discretion in the account of a married couple without having written authorization and acceptance of the accounts as discretionary by both the customers and the firm. The findings stated that Kittner effected approximately 700 trades in six separate accounts belonging to the customers without contacting them and confirming the details. The findings also stated that Kittner failed to mark the orders as discretionary, causing the firm’s books and records to be inaccurate. Continue reading →

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Chris Raymond Kubiak, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a former registered representative with Freedom and Calton, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) without admitting or denying allegations that he violated FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010.

From February 1989 to July 2017, Kubiak was registered with Freedom Investors Corp. (Freedom) as a General Securities Representative. On July 2017, Kubiak left Freedom and joined another firm, Calton & Associates, Inc., as a (GSR) and as an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative. According to FINRA, between June 2015 and August 2018, Kubiak converted customer funds in violation of FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010. The findings stated that a total of seven customers from Freedom and Calton, gave $270,000 in funds to invest on their behalf. Kobiak, however, allegedly deposited the funds in his own bank account and used it for his own personal use, including to gamble and pay medical bills. Continue reading →

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On September 21, 2018 an Officer of Hearing Officers (OHO) decision became final against David Jonathan Bolton in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for violating FINRA Rules 4511 and 2010 and FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010.

Bolton joined Thurston, Springer, Miller, Herd & Titak, Inc. (“Thurston”) in November 2014 until February 2016 when he handed in his resignation. The findings stated that after Bolton resigned, Thurston filed a Uniform Termination for Securities Industry Registration. According to FINRA, Bolton engaged in unsuitable short-term trading in Class A mutual fund shares in two customers’ accounts causing them to pay $24,747 in unnecessary sales charges. Bolton’s tradings were allegedly unsuitable because the short-term nature of the trades conflicted with the customers’ longer-term investment horizon. In addition, Bolton allegedly caused his firm to maintain inaccurate books by mismarking or causing others to mismark as unsolicited electronic order tickets that he had solicited. FINRA also stated that Bolton took the files of his customers with him when he moved from firm to firm and destroyed them. Continue reading →

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On September 25, 2018 an Officer of Hearing Officers (OHO) decision became final against Matthew Evan Eckstein in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities and ordered to pay $961,781 in restitution to four customers. Eckstein allegedly violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5 along with NASD Rule 3040, FINRA Rules 2111, 2020, 2010, and 8210.

According to FINRA, Eckstein made false and misleading statements in connection with purchases and sales of securities. FINRA stated that Eckstein recommended four customers invest a total of $1.36 million in a company run by one of his close friends along with persuading one of his customers to liquidate $300,000 in mutual fund holdings in order to invest in the issuer. FINRA also stated that Eckstein failed to disclose any information regarding the investment and did not give the customers any written material or other agreement memorializing the customers’ purchases, rather that the undocumented transactions appeared to have been a scheme run by Eckstein’s friend. FINRA further found that after Eckstein left his firm to start his own business, he caused his past firm to violate FINRA’s applicable books and records rule by failing to preserve any communication and account summaries that he created and sent to some customers. During the investigation, Eckstein failed to respond to five requests for documents and information. Continue reading →

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Richard Stephen Hughes submitted a submitted of Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for unsuitable recommendations.

In October of 2011, Hughes registered as a General Securities Representative and General Securities Principal with Wells Fargo. According to FINRA, between April 2015 and May 2016 Hughes made unsuitable recommendations to a customer resulting in short-term switches between Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) and Class A-share mutual funds. The findings stated these recommendations were unsuitable because of the frequency and cost of the transactions. The findings also stated that the customer’s account incurred over $34,000 in excessive commissions and fees and that Hughes created a script containing false statements for the customer to use if contacted by the firm about the transactions made. Hughes’ conduct violated FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. Continue reading →

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Luke A. Eddy of Worcester, Massachusetts submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was in violation of FINRA Rule 2010.

Luke A. Eddy joined Merrill Lynch, Fenner and Smith, Inc in August 2014 as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, Eddy was terminated in June 2017 for posing as a client during a call with his member firm in order to transfer funds from the customers Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to her bank account. The findings stated that when the firm rejected the initial transfer fund, Eddy forged the customer’s signature allowing the firm to approve the distribution and transfer $3,400 from the customer’s firm IRA to her bank account. Due to suspicion that Eddy may have impersonated the customer’s signature, the firm did not process the payment. Continue reading →

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Geoffrey Colin Turner, of Tybee Island, Georgia, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for recommending certain L-share variable annuities.

In October 2006, Turner joined BB&T as a General Securities Principal. During the period of December 2014, through June 2015 Turner allegedly recommended certain L-share variable annuities to 15 customers without having a reasonable belief these recommendations were suitable. According to FINRA, Turner recommended his customers purchase higher-cost share class contracts without understanding the costs and benefits. The findings stated that Turner did not understand that the L-share class would be more expensive than the B-share class for customers who held their annuities for at least seven years. The findings also stated that Turner was unable to inform his customers of the various features of the products due to his lack of understanding the L-share class annuities. Continue reading →