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FINRA Fines and Suspends Calton & Associates’ Dennis Witthoeft for Discretionary Trade Violations

Dennis Todd Witthoeft, a Wesley Chapel, Florida based broker with Calton & Associates, Inc. (Calton), consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he improperly exercised discretion in a customer’s account.

While employed with Calton & Associates, Inc., of Tampa, Florida, FINRA found that Dennis Witthoeft exercised improper discretion when he effected a total of 61 stock and option transactions in a customer’s account at the end of the business days on which the customer had authorized the transations. Further, Dennis Witthoeft allegedly neglected to obtain written authorization from the customer allowing such use of discretion and the account had not been accepted by Calton as a discretionary account.

Consequently, Dennis Witthoeft was fined of $5,000 and was suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for thirty business days. The suspension was in effect from November 3, 2014 through December 15, 2015.

Stockbrokers, registered representatives, and other financial industry professionals have been known to engage in many types of misconduct which are in violation of industry rules and procedures. In order to protect customers from misconduct such as the unauthorized use of discretion, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to obtain written authorizations and to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system. The implementation of these rules requires firm supervisors to monitor its employees to ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, as well as the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures. If brokerage firms and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be held liable to investment account holders for losses flowing from the misconduct. As a result, account holders who have suffered losses stemming from unauthorized discretionary transactions or other broker misconduct can bring forth claims to recover damages against broker-dealers like Calton & Associates, Inc., which have a duty to supervise its employees in order to prevent broker misconduct.

Have you suffered investment losses that could be the result of unauthorized and/or excessive trading or other misconduct by your stockbroker or registered representative? If so, please contact Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation about whether you have a valid claim against the stockbroker to recover your losses.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed! This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over , Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities, and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, send Mr. Pearce an email at pearce@rwpearce.com, and/or visit our website at www.secatty.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.