Articles Posted in Broker Misconduct

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Joseph Farah, a former registered representative with Gold Coast Securities, was named a Respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint for allegedly engaging in a fraudulent churning scheme, causing his customer to suffer substantial losses.  Joseph C. Farah, of Hacienda Heights, California, is alleged by FINRA to have acted with intent to defraud and reckless disregard for his customer’s interests by churning his customer’s account.

According to FINRA, Mr. Farah allegedly executed more than 600 trades in his customer’s account, causing the account to diminish in value by over 25%.  The FINRA complaint alleges that Mr. Farah failed to inform his member firm that he had discretionary authority over the customer’s account, which Mr. Farah suggested she open at TD Ameritrade.  FINRA’s complaint notes that the customer’s annual income was listed as just $25,000 – $49,999, which was correct, but her investment experience was incorrectly described as 1-2 years of experience.  FINRA found that she actually had no investing experience.  Continue reading →

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Anthony John Cummings, a former registered representative with Edward Jones, consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) sanction and findings that he converted a customer’s funds for his personal use.

According to FINRA, Anthony Cummings, of Cockeysville, Maryland, solicited $60,000 from a customer for his personal expenses.  The money came directly from the customer’s Edward Jones account.  FINRA found that Mr. Cummings kept the funds and neglected to repay his customer.  FINRA’s finding state that Mr. Cummings acted unethically by accepting the client’s money without the means or intent to repay the customer.  Consequently, Anthony Cummings was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Continue reading →

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Tracy Rae Turner, a former broker with Colorado Financial Service Corporation, was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) amid findings that he offered and sold over $4.1 million in interests in saltwater disposal wells used in oil and gas production without the approval of his member firm.

FINRA found that Tracy Turner, of San Marcos, California, offered and sold interests in saltwater disposal well facilities (SWDs) to 12 investors, 8 of whom were Colorado Financial customers, without providing the firm with the required written notice of his participation in the securities transactions.  According to FINRA, Mr. Turner marketed the sale of the SWD interests by creating and making available online an Offering Memorandum which purportedly touted a “25.4% cash-on-cash return” on the investment.  FINRA found that Mr. Turner’s statements made unwarranted predictions about the returns investors could expect and were therefore misleading.  Mr. Turner was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities and fined $272,879.04 plus prejudgment interest.  The amount of the fine assessed is equal to the commissions Mr. Turner received from the sales of the SWD interests. Continue reading →

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Legend Equities Corporation has agreed to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution to customers who were overcharged in certain mutual fund purchases.  According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), between July 1, 1009 and January 1, 2017, Legend Equities disadvantaged certain retirement plan and charitable organization customers that were eligible to purchase Class A shares of certain mutual funds without a front-end sales charge.  The customers were instead sold Class A shares with a front-end sales charge or Class B or C shares with back-end sales charges and higher ongoing fees and expenses.

According to the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) submitted to FINRA, Legend Equities failed to reasonably supervise the application of the sales charge waivers to the eligible mutual fund sales, relying on its financial advisors to determine the applicability of sales charge waivers.  Further, Legend Equities allegedly failed to adequately notify and train its financial advisors regarding the availability of mutual fund sales charge waivers for eligible customers.  Without admitting or denying the findings, Legend Equities was censured and agreed to pay restitution to eligible customers who were overcharged of an estimated $2,300,188.00, the amount eligible customers were overcharged, inclusive of interest.  Continue reading →

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FSC Securities Corporation has been fined $200,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to supervise third-party check requests in connection with an employee’s fraudulent investment fund memberships, which ultimately caused the investors to suffer significant losses.

According to FINRA, FSC Securities failed to establish, maintain and enforce an appropriate supervisory system to review third-party check requests related to 15 customers’ accounts.  These customers were sold memberships in an unapproved fund (the PFG Fund) by a registered representative of the firm who submitted 23 Letters of Authorization (LOAs), authorizing the issuance of approximately $1.6 million in third-party checks from FSC Securities accounts to a bank account controlled by the ill-fated fund.  The PFG fund ultimately collapsed and lost millions of dollars due to speculative trading and other investments. Continue reading →

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Former National Securities Corporation (National Securities) broker, Glenn McDowell, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for executing 38 unauthorized transactions in his customer’s account in a three month time period without the authority to do so.  Glenn McDowell, of Springfield Gardens, New York, caused his client to suffer losses of $64,740.08 as a result of the unauthorized trades.

According to FINRA, Mr. McDowell entered 38 unauthorized transactions in his customer’s account in a three month time frame.  FINRA deemed the number of unauthorized trades over the course of just three months to be quantitatively egregious misconduct.  Further, FINRA found that Mr. McDowell sometimes bought and then sold, or sold and then bought, the same securities within a few days.  By engaging in such misconduct, he generated $5,300 in commissions for himself while causing nearly $65,000 in losses to his customer. Continue reading →

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Former Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) broker, Scott Sibley, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for effecting precious metals purchases without his customers’ authorization, knowledge or consent.  Scott Allen Sibley, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, also allegedly made unsuitable recommendations to over-concentrate the accounts of at least 10 customers, all of whom were seniors with conservative investment objectives.

According to FINRA, Scott Sibley effected over 900 securities purchases in a customer’s accounts without the customer’s knowledge or consent.  Further, Mr. Sibley caused this customer to carry a margin debit balance without authorization or consent.  FINRA also found that Mr. Sibley made unsuitable recommendations to over-concentrate customers’ accounts in precious metals to at least 10 customers, all of whom were seniors who relied on the money in their accounts to fund their retirements.  Continue reading →

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Jeffrey Scheibner, a stockbroker formerly employed by Accelerated Capital Group, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined $5,000 and suspended for 3 months for allegedly making unauthorized mutual fund exchanges without the customers’ authorization or discretionary authority over their accounts.

FINRA found that between August 24, 2015 and September 16, 2015, Jeffrey Lloyd Scheibner, of Ladera Ranch, California, exchanged 303 mutual fund positions into corresponding money market funds across 36 accounts.  Mr. Scheibner allegedly did so without prior customer authorization and had no discretionary authority over the accounts.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Scheibner was suspended by FINRA for 3 months and assessed a fine of $5,000.  The suspension is in effect from May 15, 2017 through August 14, 2017. Continue reading →

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Richard William Lunn Martin, a former registered representative with GF Investment Services, LLC, submitted an Offer of Settlement in which he was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) due to findings that he made unsuitable ETF hold recommendations which resulted in losses to his customers of approximately $2.4 million.

Richard William Lunn Martin, of Johor, Malaysia, allegedly solicited, purchased and recommended his customers hold non-traditional ETFs in their accounts for years – an unsuitable recommendation for any customer.  Non-traditional ETFs are typically designed to achieve their objectives over the course of one trading session, i.e., one day.  In fact, FINRA Regulatory Notice 09-31 advises broker dealers and their registered representatives that non-traditional ETFs “are typically not suitable for retail investors who plan to hold them for more than one trading session, particularly in volatile markets.”  Continue reading →