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LPL Broker Permanently Barred for Failing to Respond to FINRA Investigation into Alleged Fraud and Unsuitability Claims

Roger Zullo, a former registered representative with LPL Financial LLC, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for refusing to produce information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into allegations of fraud, falsifying client suitability profiles and unsuitable variable annuity sales.  FINRA’s investigation arose from a complaint, and subsequent Consent Order, by the Massachusetts Securities Division against Mr. Zullo and LPL Financial.

FINRA began an investigation in January 2017 following allegations made in the complaint filed by the Massachusetts Securities Division.  That complaint alleged that Mr. Zullo, of Boston, Massachusetts, “fabricated the financial suitability profiles of numerous LPL clients, selling them scores of large, illiquid, unsuitable, high-commission variable annuities, at substantial upfront profits to himself and LPL.”  Further, the complaint alleged that Mr. Zullo prematurely switched out his clients’ existing annuities (which were also sold by Mr. Zullo), caused unnecessary surrender charges, and disregarded his clients’ investment profiles at an enormous profit to himself and LPL. The complaint states, “Over the course of three years, Zullo and LPL received more than $1,825,000 in variable annuity commissions alone; of this amount, more than $1,791,000, or 98%, represented commissions from the sale of the same annuity product, the Polaris Platinum III (B Shares) variable annuity.”

As part of its own investigation, FINRA sent Mr. Zullo a request for documents and information pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210, and Mr. Schaedler, through his attorney, requested two extensions, which were granted.  Mr. Zullo again failed to produce the requested information and notified FINRA, again through his attorney, that he would not produce the information. By refusing to comply with FINRA’s request for documents and information connected to its investigation, Mr. Zullo violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.  Consequently, Mr. Zullo was barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity.

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 its representatives can file claims to recover damages against firms, like LPL Financial, which have a duty to supervise its employees in order to protect their customers’ interests.

Have you suffered losses in your LPL Financial account due to a stockbroker’s misconduct? Was Roger Zullo your stockbroker?  Do you feel that your broker recommended a variable annuity, like the Polaris Platinum III, which was unsuitable in light of your investment goals?  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 Wells Fargo 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.