Articles Posted in Stockbrokers In The News

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David Panetta, a representative formerly employed with Allstate Financial Services, LLC (Allstate), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he engaged in outside business activities without his firm’s approval.

FINRA’s findings state that while employed by Allstate, David M. Panetta, of Clark, New Jersey, sold nine unapproved insurance products through an entity unaffiliated with Allstate.  Mr. Panetta allegedly received $12,000 in compensation for the prohibited sales, but failed to disclose the sales or his compensation to his member firm.  Further, FINRA found that Mr. Panetta falsely answered “no” on the firm annual attestations to the questions asking if he had any outside business activities or accepted compensation from any unapproved entity.  Mr. Panetta was assessed a deferred fine of $7,500 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for two months. The suspension was in effect from June 5, 2017 through August 4, 2017. Continue reading →

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Jose Perez, a representative formerly employed with MetLife Securities, Inc. (MetLife), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he directed his assistant to impersonate his customer, while he impersonated the customer’s brother, in order to effect a transfer of funds.

FINRA’s findings state that while employed by MetLife Securities, Jose J. Perez, of Orland Park, Illinois, was advised that his customer was retiring and asked that he transfer pension funds held by a third-party company to her MetLife account.  In an attempt to accommodate the customer’s request, Mr. Perez and his assistant telephoned the third-party company and, instead of using their real names, Mr. Perez allegedly impersonated the customer’s brother and his assistant allegedly impersonated the customer.  According to FINRA, Mr. Perez and his assistant directed the third-party company to transfer funds to the MetLife account, but failed to realize that the customer held two retirement accounts with the company.  Consequently, the funds transferred were funds from the customer’s 401(k) account rather than the pension account. Continue reading →

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James Schaedler, Jr., former registered representative with Wells Fargo Clearing Services (Wells Fargo), 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 that he exercised undue influence over an elderly former client and improperly received a $200,000 gift from another elderly client.

FINRA began an investigation in January 2016, into allegations that James Robert Schaedler, Jr., of Corona, California, exercised undue influence over a former elderly client, who ultimately amended her trust to make Mr. Schaedler a partial beneficiary and residual beneficiary of her $2.3 million dollar estate.  Further, FINRA expanded its investigation to include allegations that Mr. Schaedler improperly received a gift of $200,000 from a second elderly client. Continue reading →

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Former Girard Securities broker Jason LeBlanc, of Fulshear, Texas, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for numerous violations, including misuse of customer funds, failure to disclose outside business activities, and engaging in private securities transactions without the firm’s approval.

According to FINRA, Jason Hyson LeBlanc violated FINRA rules by engaging in private securities transactions without his firm’s knowledge or approval by selling numerous promissory notes and partnership interests in a coffee shop. FINRA also found that Mr. LeBlanc misused customer funds when he sold a customer a $23,000 promissory note to invest in the coffee shop, returned $3,000 to the customer, and invested the remaining $20,000 in a real estate investment company without her knowledge or consent.  Further, Mr. LeBlanc was found by FINRA to have commingled customer and personal funds to pay bills for various business entities and his personal expenses.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. LeBlanc was barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity. Continue reading →

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Former Cetera Advisor Networks broker Mark Koehler 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 unsuitable trading in a senior customer’s accounts, including short-term mutual fund switching and excessive trading.

FINRA began an investigation in April 2014, upon receipt of a tip that Mark Charles Koehler, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, had engaged in unsuitable trading in the accounts of a senior customer.  In the course of its investigation, FINRA reviewed trading in other of Mr. Koehler’s customer accounts and sought to investigate the following:  whether Mr. Koehler engaged in unsuitable short-term mutual fund switching and excessive trading; whether he placed undue influence on a customer before her death; and whether Mr. Koehler failed to disclose his status as beneficiary in the same customer’s will. Continue reading →

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John Regan, a registered representative formerly employed with Guggenheim Securities, LLC, has been permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) amid findings that he converted funds for his personal use.

According to FINRA, John Emmett Regan, of New York, New York, converted approximately $25,000 in firm funds between September 2012 and March 2014.  Mr. Regan allegedly falsely submitted approximately 90 personal expenses for reimbursement as business expenses.  Conversion of funds is a violation of FINRA Rule 2010.  Conversion is the intentional and unauthorized taking of ownership over property by one who neither owns the property nor is entitled to have it.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Regan was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Continue reading →

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Steven Olejniczak, a former registered representative with Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. (Edward Jones) was fined and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly failing to disclose that an elderly customer had designated him and his wife as account beneficiaries.

According to FINRA, Steven Anthony Olejniczak, of Grimes, Iowa, was designated as the beneficiary of 90% of the assets in his elderly customer’s account.  Firm rules prohibit registered representatives from being named as beneficiary by his/her own customer while continuing to service the account.  Mr. Olejniczak failed to notify his member firm of his own beneficiary designation and the naming of his wife as beneficiary of the customer’s firm account and estate.  Additionally, FINRA found that Mr. Olejniczak failed to disclose that his customer had executed a document that gave him medical power of attorney in the event the customer became incapacitated. Continue reading →

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V. Cullen Kempson III, a/k/a Voigt C. Kempson, a stockbroker formerly employed by Commonwealth Financial Network, submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he made unauthorized discretionary trades in his deceased customer’s accounts.

Voigt Kempson, of Sparta, New Jersey, was found by FINRA to have effected 40 discretionary trades in the accounts of his deceased customer even though he was aware of his customer’s death.  Although Mr. Kempson had been authorized to effect discretionary trades while the customer was alive, Mr. Kempson continued to trade in the customer’s accounts even after her death.  Further, FINRA found that Mr. Kempson neglected to inform his member firm of the customer’s death.   Continue reading →

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WFG Investments, Inc. has submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which it has been fined $150,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to supervise its registered representative’s unsuitable trading despite numerous red flags.

WFG Investments is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and currently has approximately 237 registered representatives and 118 branch offices.  FINRA found that WFG Investments failed to appropriately supervise the sales practices of a registered representative who had engaged in unsuitable trading in his customers’ accounts by overconcentrating them in low-priced securities.  For example, FINRA found that during 2012, the WFG representative’s account purchases were 66% low-priced securities.  In 2013, FINRA’s findings state that the account purchases were 80% concentrated in these securities and/or illiquid and highly speculative private placement and REIT investments. Continue reading →

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William McWilliams, a registered representative formerly employed with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he exercised discretion at least 28 times in eight customer accounts without the necessary prior written authorization.

FINRA found that William Harrison McWilliams, of Columbia, Missouri, failed to obtain the necessary written authorization from his customers or his member firm when he exercised discretion in the accounts of eight customers.  According to FINRA, Mr. McWilliams exercised discretionary trading authority in response to customer liquidation requests six times in four customers’ accounts without the requisite prior written authorization from customers and without the accounts accepted as discretionary by his member firm.  Further, FINRA found that Mr. McWilliams exercised discretionary trading authority at least 22 times in four other customer accounts without discussing the trades with the customers on the day of the trades, which was required by the firm. Continue reading →