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Mark Kaplan, a former registered representative with Vanderbilt Securities, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member firm in all capacities.  Mark Kaplan, of Merrick, New York, was found by FINRA to have engaged in excessive trading in his customer’s accounts. His customer, a 93-year-old man with dementia, allegedly suffered trading losses of approximately $723,000.

According to FINRA, Mr. Kaplan used his de facto control over his customer’s accounts to excessively trade in a manner that was inconsistent with his customer’s objectives, financial goals, and risk tolerances.  FINRA found that Mr. Kaplan effected more than 3,500 transactions is his customer’s accounts.  This excessive and unsuitable trading resulted in nearly $723,000 in trading losses for his customer, and generated approximately $735,000 in commissions and markups for Mr. Kaplan and Morgan Stanley.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mark Kaplan consented to the sanctions. Continue reading →

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which Thomas Meier, of Miami, Florida, was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member firm in all capacities.  Thomas Alan Meier was found by FINRA to have engaged in unauthorized trading in eight of his customer’s accounts, causing substantial losses to the affected customers.

FINRA found that Mr. Meier effected approximately 1,290 unauthorized transactions in eight accounts of six of his customers.  The transactions included both purchases and sales of equity securities.  According to FINRA, Mr. Meier did not have discussions with the customer prior to the transactions, nor did he obtain their authorization prior to executing any of the transactions.  FINRA’s findings note that two of the customer’s suffered realized losses of approximately $78,000.  Mr. Meier allegedly earned approximately $265,000 for his unauthorized transactions.  Continue reading →

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Larry Boggs, former registered representative with Ameriprise Financial Inc. (Ameriprise) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member firm in all capacities.  Larry Martin Boggs, of Dallas, Texas, was found by FINRA to have engaged in excessive trading in his customer’s accounts, causing substantial losses to the affected customers.

According to FINRA, Mr. Boggs used his control over customer accounts to excessively trade in a manner that was inconsistent with his customer’s objectives, financial goals, and risk tolerances.  FINRA found that Mr. Boggs even changed some of the customers’ investment objectives and risk tolerances to conform with his excessive trading scheme, which affected the accounts of an 82-year-old retiree, as well as a couple who are 82 and 85 years old.  FINRA’s findings state that one of the customer’s suffered losses of $19,391 while Mr. Boggs earned commission charges of $34,889.  Another customer suffered losses of $18,268 with Mr. Boggs earning commissions of $44,866. Continue reading →

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Guy Conger, a registered representative with Money Concepts Capital Corp. (Money Concepts), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he exercised discretion more than 200 times in two customer accounts without the necessary written authorization.

FINRA found that Guy Charles Conger, of San Antonio, Texas, improperly used discretion in two customer accounts to place trades without written authority or acceptance from his member firm of the account as discretionary.  According to FINRA, Mr. Conger also mismarked approximately 2,000 order tickets as “unsolicited” when they were “solicited,” and mismarked at least 200 order tickets as not discretionary when they were discretionary.  Further, FINRA’s findings state that Mr. Conger made misleading and unwarranted statements in his e-mail communications with customers. Continue reading →

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Peter Orlando, a Barrington, Rhode Island-based registered representative formerly employed with MetLife Securities, Inc., n/k/a MML Investors Services LLC, was named a Respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint alleging that he failed to disclose that an elderly customer had designated him as account beneficiary of the customer’s will and bank account.

According to FINRA’s complaint, Peter Orlando used his position of trust with his client, an 81-year-old widow, to obtain durable power of attorney, health power of attorney, designation as the executor and primary beneficiary of the customer’s will, and beneficiary of the customer’s bank account.  Mr. Orlando failed to disclose the arrangements to his member firm, which prohibited its representatives from serving in a fiduciary capacity or being named as an account beneficiary for anyone other than family members.  Continue reading →

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Jodie Ann LaMarre, of Sarasota, Florida, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly recommending an unsuitable investment strategy to an elderly customer on a fixed income with conservative investment goals, causing the customer to suffer unnecessary tax liability of over $33,000.

While employed with the Sarasota, Florida branch of Robert W. Baird & Co., Ms. LaMarre allegedly recommended the consolidation of all her elderly customer’s assets into a single taxable account.  According to FINRA, Ms. LaMarre made this recommendation without regard for the fact that several of the customer’s assets were in tax-deferred accounts.  FINRA’s findings state that Ms. LaMarre was aware of and understood the negative tax consequences of her unsuitable recommendations, which resulted in unnecessary tax liability of more than $33,000 and a reduction of her customer’s 2016 monthly social security benefit. Continue reading →

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Jimmy Moscoso, a former registered representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (Lincoln Financial) has been permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) based upon its findings that he converted funds of his elderly customer.

According to FINRA, Jimmy Oswald Moscoso, of Boca Raton, Florida, converted approximately $20,000 from his elderly customer, allegedly using the money for his own personal use instead.  FINRA found that an elderly customer agreed to invest $20,000 in a purported real estate investment by giving Mr. Moscoso a check for $20,000 made payable to a business owned by Mr. Moscoso.  Mr. Moscoso then endorsed the check and deposited it into an account controlled by him and used the money for his personal use.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Moscoso was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Continue reading →

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Mark Brian Degner, of Shady Cove, Oregon, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for negligently making material misstatements regarding the sale of 20-year CDs to elderly customers.  According to FINRA, the customers suffered losses of approximately $75,000 as a result of investing in the misrepresented CDs.

FINRA found that, while employed by LPL Financial LLC, Mark Degner misrepresented  20-year interest rate-linked CDs to his customers by stating that the CDs were not subject to any survivor benefit limitations when, in fact, they were.  The survivor benefits of the CDs were subject to a limitation that restricted the amount of early redemptions among purchasers.  While the issuer’s disclosure statement disclosed this information, Mr. Degner failed to review this information and recommended that his customers purchase CDs totaling $685,000.  As a result of the survivor benefit limitation, the estates of two of the customers were not able to fully redeem their CDs and suffered losses of approximately $75,000.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mark Degner was fined $7,500 and suspended for 20 business days.  The suspension was in effect from March 5, 2018 through April 2, 2018. Continue reading →

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Richard Foster, a former registered representative with Cetera Investment Services LLC (Cetera) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was suspended and assessed a deferred fine of $10,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for making an unsuitable recommendation that his customer liquidate his IRA to be utilized in a high-risk options trading strategy.

According to FINRA, Richard Charles Foster, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, recommended his customer place the entirety of his IRA assets into a high-risk, unsuitable options trading strategy.  Mr. Foster allegedly received authorization from his member firm to operate an income fund by falsely representing that the fund would not involve any customers.  However, Mr. Foster recommended his customer liquidate his IRA, worth $169,000 to invest in the income fund account.  The income fund account lost significant value due to trading losses and the commission costs connected with the high-volume ETF option trading strategy.  FINRA stated that once Mr. Foster’s customer learned he had incurred an $81,000 tax penalty because of the early IRA liquidation, he asked Mr. Foster to return what was left of his funds to pay the penalty. Mr. Foster returned $52,000 to the customer – a significant loss of the initial investment of $169,000. Continue reading →

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Richard Shotz, a registered representative formerly employed with Morgan Stanley, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was suspended for four months and fined $7,500 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for engaging in unsuitable short-term trading of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) in 486 customer accounts.

According to FINRA, Richard Alan Shotz, of Port Orange, Florida, recommended and engaged in unsuitable short-term trading of UITs.  The UITs recommended by Mr. Shotz had 24 month maturity dates and significant upfront charges.  Notwithstanding, Mr. Shotz continually recommended his customers sell their UITs less than a year after purchase (FINRA found an average holding period of only 143 days). Furthermore, on approximately 1200 occasions, FINRA found that Mr. Shotz recommended that his customers use the proceeds from the short-term sale of one UIT to purchase another UIT with similar and/or identical investment objectives.  These unsuitable recommendations and transactions caused his customers to incur unnecessary sales charges.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Shotz was fined $7,500 and suspended for four months.  The suspension is in effect from February 20, 2018 through June 19, 2018. Continue reading →