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Articles Tagged with Florida Stockbroker Misconduct Attorney

Dakota Securities International (Dakota) and Bruce Martin Zipper (Mr. Zipper) appealed a National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) decision to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Hearing Panel imposed three expulsions on Dakota for allegedly failing to maintain accurate books and records, failing to supervise, and allowing Mr. Zipper to associate with them and engage in activities requiring registration while suspended. The Hearing Panel also imposed two bars on Mr. Zipper for associating with Dakota and engaging in the particular activities while suspended and intentionally misidentifying the representative of record on customer transactions.

In 2004, Mr. Zipper founded Dakota and was the majority owner until January 2018, when he sold his ownership. According to the NAC findings, Mr. Zipper executed then later tried to withdraw from an AWC that was final and non-appealable due to his failure to disclose three unsatisfied judgments on his Form U4. The findings stated that FINRA informed Mr. Zipper of his suspension, and during his absence he allegedly arranged for Dakota to continue operations without him for the three months. During the same period, Dakota did not restrict Mr. Zipper’s access to the firm’s email system or to the firm’s trading system in which he engaged and recommended transactions while suspended. In addition to the NAC findings, Mr. Zipper admitted that he intentionally misidentified the representative of record on hundreds of trades caused Dakota to maintain inaccurate books and records. Dakota Securities International was expelled from FINRA membership and Mr. Zipper was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Continue Reading

Murry Meir Shapero of Aventura, Florida submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for violating NASD Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010.

NASD Rule 2510(b) prohibits registered representatives from exercising discretion in a customer’s account unless the customer gives prior written authorization to the registered representative and the registered representative’s member firm provides written acceptance of the account as discretionary.’ FINRA Rule 2010 requires that member firms and registered representatives “observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.” A violation of NASD Rule 2510(b) is also a violation of FINRA Rule 2010. Continue Reading

Christopher Todd Wendel submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly providing false declaration, a false on-the-record testimony, and engaging in private securities transactions all in violation of FINRA Rules 3280, 2010 and 8210.

From September 2014 to September 2017, Christopher Wendel was employed by SA Stone Wealth Management (SA Stone) as a General Securities Representative. According to FINRA, between April and August of 2017, Wendel was accused of engaging in private securities transactions without providing notice or receiving approval from his member firm. FINRA stated that Wendel solicited four investors to purchase promissory notes in a purported real estate investment fund totaling $343,500 while he received over $10,000 in commissions. The findings also stated that FINRA requested information regarding the transactions, and Wendel provided a signed declaration falsely stating that his participation in these sales occurred after his association with the firm ceased. 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

Darnell Kenneth Mote submitted a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for 20 days and fined $5,000.

In June 2012, Mr. Mote joined the securities industry and became associated with Wells Fargo Advisors. According to FINRA, the firm filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Registration reporting Mote’s termination on November 4, 2015. Mr. Mote allegedly engaged in outside business activity without providing notice to his firm.  The firm’s policies require all associated persons to seek approval in writing before engaging in outside activity, which is what Mr. Mote failed to do.   Continue Reading

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

Leon Dixon, a broker formerly registered with AXA Advisors, LLC, 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 participated in private securities transactions in contravention of FINRA rules.

FINRA found that Leon Edward Dixon, of Miami, Florida, invested in a private company that offered telecommunications and broadband services.  Mr. Dixon allegedly solicited 15 firm customers to invest in the company, allegedly assisting the clients with sending their payment checks to the company.  In total, the clients invested approximately $181,500 in the company.  According to FINRA, Mr. Dixon received nearly $15,000 in commissions from the company for his participation in the transactions. Continue Reading

Jose Enrique Jimenez, a former registered principal with PFS Investments, Inc., submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) in which he was suspended and assessed a deferred fine of $10,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allowing his son, who was unregistered, to solicit prospective customers and recommend the purchase of mutual funds.

According to FINRA, Jose Jimenez, of Inglewood, California, allowed his unregistered son to solicit prospective customers, make over 100 mutual fund presentations, and recommend the purchase of mutual funds which resulted in total sales of over $800,000 in approximately 35 accounts.  Further, Mr. Jimenez allowed his son to assist customers with completion of the necessary documents and to enter client information into the firm’s computer system utilizing his personal credentials.  FINRA found that Mr. Jimenez falsely stated on three firm compliance questionnaires that he did not allow an unregistered individual to engage in securities activities.  Continue Reading

Keith Testaverde, a registered representative with Network 1 Financial Securities, Inc. has been fined $25,000 and suspended from association with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity for six months for allegedly failing to disclose the existence of outside securities accounts which he owned or controlled at another firm.

Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Keith Testaverde consented to the findings that he neglected to disclose to his member firm, Network 1 Financial Securities (Network 1 Financial), that he maintained control over and executed trades in a securities accounts which were held at another member firm.  According to FINRA, Mr. Testaverde made approximately 121 trades in one of the accounts, many of which were on Network 1 Financial’s “watch list,” meaning that they required preapproval.  FINRA found that 12 of the trades made by Mr. Testaverde were prohibited outright.  Further, Mr. Testaverde falsely represented on his firm’s annual compliance questionnaire that he did not have any undisclosed outside securities accounts.  Due to the foregoing misconduct, FINRA assessed a fine of $25,000 and suspended Mr. Testaverde for six months.  The suspension is in effect from January 17, 2017 through July 16, 2017. Continue Reading

Securities America, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1.5 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 July 1, 2015, Securities America 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, Securities America 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, Securities America 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, Securities America consented to the sanctions, was censured, and agreed to pay restitution to eligible customers who were overcharged of an estimated $1,541,419.  This amount includes the approximately $1.3 million in mutual fund overcharges plus interest. Continue Reading

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