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Oakbridge Financial Advisor Under FINRA Investigation for Alleged “Church” Bond Scheme

Steven Larson of Nisswa, Minnesota was named as a Respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint that alleges he made “numerous misstatements or omissions of material facts concerning the present values and safety of church bonds.” These “church” bonds were issued by religious organizations to build, upgrade, or better church property and cannot be used directly to generate revenue.

Mr. Larson has been associated with FINRA since 1993 as a broker dealer and has been registered with Oakbridge Financial Services, Inc. (Oakbridge) since August 2011. FINRA alleges that between May 2013 and March 2015, while associated with Oakbridge, Mr. Larson made a series of false statements and material omissions of fact, both to his customers and to FINRA.

According to the FINRA investigators, Mr. Larson’s misrepresentations and omissions to customers concerned the present values and safety of “church bonds.” FINRA alleged that by May 2013 most of the “church” bonds his customers held were experiencing defaults, bankruptcy, forbearance, or restructuring and Mr. Larson instead represented to his clients that their investments had retained all their original value.

Furthermore, in connection with this investigation, FINRA requested documents and information pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210 that Mr. Larson allegedly knowingly and willfully withheld from FINRA between October 2013 and July 2014. FINRA alleged that Mr. Larson signed and backdated several documents in March 2015, which he then supplied and represented as genuine to the president of Oakbridge, as well as to FINRA. FINRA alleged that these falsifications were made in order to create the false appearance that he had completed certain supervisory functions more than a year beforehand.

FINRA also alleged that Mr. Larson made numerous material misrepresentations and omissions to customers to prevent them from liquidating their holdings or closing their accounts. FINRA claims that Mr. Larson violated 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; Rule 10b-5 and FINRA Rules 2010 and 2020. FINRA’s Department of Enforcement has requested that one or more of the sanctions provided under FINRA Rule 8310(a), including monetary sanctions, be imposed, Mr.  Larson bear such costs of proceeding, and make specific findings that Mr. Larson willfully violated Exchange Act Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5.

FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from the risks associated with investing. The implementation of the rules requires supervisors to monitor their 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 broker-dealers and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be held liable to account holders for investment losses which stem from their employees’ misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses due to a brokerage firm’s failure to supervise the unsuitable recommendations of its representatives can bring forth claims to recover damages against firms, like Oakbridge Financial, which have a duty to supervise employees in order to protect their customers’ interests.

Have you suffered losses in your Oakbridge Financial account due to a broker making misstatements or omissions of material facts concerning church bonds? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation. Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against Oakbridge Financial stockbrokers who may have engaged in misconduct and caused investors 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 35 years, 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 visit our website, www.secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at pearce@rwpearce.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.