Articles Posted in Broker Misconduct

Kyusun Kim of San Diego, California submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly making unsuitable recommendations in violation of NASD Rules 3110, 2310 and 2110 and FINRA Rules 4511, 2111 and 2010.

In February 2006 Kyusun Kim joined Independent Financial Group LLC (IFG) as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, between 2008 and 2015, Kim made unsuitable recommendations to numerous senior customers who were retired. FINRA stated that Kim failed to disclose to his customers any risks associated with the products, including that the securities were speculative and illiquid. Kim was also allegedly accused of providing inaccurate and inflated net worth to certain customers so that they appeared to be eligible to purchase certain speculative investments. FINRA concluded that these customers suffered substantial losses due to Kim’s recommendations. Continue Reading

Andrew Jay Lowe of Leesburg, Alabama submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he was fined and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly recommending unsuitable trades and failing to timely amend his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (“Form U4”).

From January 2009 until September 2014, Andrew Lowe was registered with Sterne Agee Financial Services (Sterne Agee) as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, during the relevant period, Mr. Lowe recommended and engaged in unsuitable trading of Class A mutual funds in 24 customers’ accounts. Certain portions of those investments were then liquidated within a short time period and were unsuitable. FINRA stated that Mr. Lowe caused these customers to incur unnecessary sales charges in their accounts. The FINRA findings found that Lowe received approximately $36,180.87 in commissions. Since then, the firm has reimbursed $102,446.47 back to the customers that resulted from the unsuitable recommendations. In conclusion, FINRA also stated that Lowe allegedly failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose a federal tax lien of 183,380.57. Continue Reading

John Huey Neely submitted a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for allegedly exercising discretion in customers’ accounts violating NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010.

From August 2009 until September 2018, Neely was registered with Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services (Berthel Fisher) as a General Securities Representative. The FINRA findings stated that between June 2014 and June 2015, Neely exercised discretion in effecting hundreds of transactions in two customers’ brokerage accounts without first obtaining written approval from the customers.  FINRA further stated that although the customers did give him verbal consent, he did not seek approval from his firm to accept the accounts as discretionary. Continue Reading

Kevin Edward Looser of Delphos, Ohio submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly participating in private securities transactions in violation of NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010.

In September 2005, Kevin Looser joined Sigma Financial Corporation (Sigma) as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, from September 2011 through July 2014, Looser allegedly participated in fourteen private securities transactions without providing prior written notice to his firm. The FINRA findings stated that Mr. Looser disclosed to his firm that he was a co-owner of a company that developed video platforms to connect on-call interpreters with deaf or limited language individuals and the firm approved. But FINRA alleged Mr. Looser also raised $430,000 for the company from thirteen firm investors and one non-firm investor. FINRA stated that he discussed agreements and received checks from two of the investors which he gave to the co-owner that were not disclosed to his firm. Continue Reading

Terry Lee McCoy of New Port Richey, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly failing to supervise his firms’ representatives in violation of NASD Rule 3010, MSRB Rule G-27, and FINRA Rule 2010.

In March 1999, Terry McCoy joined Morgan Stanley as a General Securities Principal and Municipal Securities Principal. According to FINRA, during the period from September 2011 through July 2012, McCoy was branch manager of Morgan Stanley’s Palm Harbor, Florida branch and was responsible for supervising the business and activities of all employees. FINRA stated that while under McCoy’s supervision, two of the firm’s registered representatives engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading and used discretion in 6 accounts of a 79-year-old customer with severe physical disabilities without his authorization. Due to the excessive trading, the account generated commissions of over $9 million.  FINRA also stated that McCoy failed to follow up on multiple red flags and failed to detect discretion in the accounts, despite his routine meetings with the customer. Continue Reading

Bradley Everett Gardner of Fort Bragg, California submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly converting customer funds in violation of FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010.

In February 2012, Bradley Garner joined LPL Financial LLC as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, in a Form U5, the firm reported Mr. Gardner’s voluntary resignation following allegations that he accepted a client check made payable to himself. The findings stated that Mr. Garner allegedly told his customer she could pre-pay her fees at a discounted rate if she wrote a check payable to him in the amount of $7,400. FINRA also stated that when the customer accepted, he took the check and deposited it into his personal bank account for his own use. When the firm discovered what had happened, Mr. Garner reimbursed the customer the $7,400 and was then terminated. Continue Reading

Franklin Ihendu Ogele of Hillside, New Jersey submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which Ogele was fined and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly failing to supervise in violation of NASD Rule 3010 and FINRA Rules 3110 and 2010.

In May 2004, Ogele joined BlackBook Capital, LLC. During the relevant period, he was registered as BlackBook’s Chief Executive officer and Chief Compliance Officer. The findings stated that Ogele was responsible for supervising a representative who was the top-producing broker in the firm’s branch. According to FINRA, Ogele failed to supervise the trading activities of the representative and instead permitted him to self-supervise his own activities. FINRA stated that the representative’s trading in the customer’s account incurred significant losses and a cost-to-equity ratio and turnover rate that should have resulted in an investigation by Ogele. Continue Reading

On July 30 Robert Russel Tweed of Glendale, California appealed an Office of Hearing Officers (OHO) decision to the National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) in which he was fined $50,000 and barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for allegedly in violating FINRA Rule 2010 and Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the securities act of 1933. The sanctions are not in effect, pending review of the OHO decision by the NAC. Continue Reading

Robert Rushby Humberston of Longmeadow, Massachusetts submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000 and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for a period of three months.

In September 2014, Robert Humberston joined Ameriprise Financial Services as a General Securities Representative. FINRA stated that from September 2016 through January 2018, Humberston violated FINRA Rule 2010 in which he failed to comply with his firms’ policies and procedures requiring him to disclose that one of his customers had designated him as a beneficiary of her estate. According to FINRA, when Humberston found out that the elderly customer had died and left him 10 percent of her estate, he failed to notify his firm or seek revocation of the bequest. FINRA also stated that Humberston notified his firm after receiving the funds totaling $96,662, but only after he deposited them directly in his personal bank account. Humberston allegedly declined to return the funds and instead resigned. Continue Reading

Kenny Danny Mezher a former registered stockbroker with Growth Capital Services, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000 and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for a period of two months for allegedly participating in private transactions.

On April 22, 2016, Kenny Mezher joined Growth Capital Services (GCS) as a General Securities Representative. He remained associated with the Firm until his termination on April 11, 2017. According to FINRA, between January 2017 and March 2017, Mezher participated in four private securities transactions in violation of FINRA Rules 3280 and 2010. The findings stated that while with GCS, he was also employed by a now-defunct hedge fund called Crescent Ridge Capital Partners. Mezher allegedly sold four limited partnership interest totaling $179,500 to five investors of whom were his family and friends without providing notice or approval from his firm. Continue Reading