Articles Tagged with MML Investors Services

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Eric Ott, a broker formerly registered with MML Investors Services, 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 forged a customer’s signature on life insurance applications without the customer’s knowledge or consent.

According to FINRA, Eric Eugene Ott, of Union Kentucky, discussed the possibility of his customer applying for life insurance, but had not gotten her consent or approval to submit the applications.  Mr. Ott, however, allegedly signed the customer’s name to the applications and paid the initial premiums without the customer’s knowledge.  The customer became aware of the fraudulently obtained insurance policies only when she received correspondence from the issuing company, whereupon she called to complain. Continue reading →

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Thomas Leone, a broker formerly registered with MML Investors Services, 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 forged a customer’s signature on life insurance applications and falsified a payment authorization form without the customer’s authorization.

Thomas John Leone, of West Simsbury, Connecticut, was found by FINRA to have forged his customer’s signature on a life insurance application by electronically affixing a signature copy onto multiple documents.  Further, Mr. Leone arranged for payment of the insurance premiums by completing a payment authorization form that the customer’s husband had previously pre-signed on an unrelated policy application and submitted this form without customer authorization, causing payments to be debited from his bank account.  For violating FINRA Rule 2010, which requires FINRA members to observe high standards of commercial honor, FINRA fined Mr. Leone $5,000 and suspended him for 12 months.  Continue reading →

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Stanley Niekras, a previously registered broker with MML Investors Services, LLC (MML), was named a Respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint alleging that he misrepresented to his customers, a 90 and 91 year old married couple, that he was entitled to over $70,000 for purported estate and financial planning services when he had no financial planning or advisory agreement with the elderly couple.

According to the FINRA complaint, Stanley Clayton Niekras, of Watertown, New York, allegedly presented the elderly couple, who were declining both physically and mentally, with bills claiming he had spent more than 264 hours working on their estate and was entitled to retroactive compensation at a rate of $250 an hour.  The bill, which Mr. Niekras allegedly presented to the couple on MML letterhead, was for $72,636.18 and was “due upon receipt.”  Continue reading →

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MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) has agreed to pay more than $1.8 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 September 20, 2016, MML Investors 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.

MML Investors has more than 1,100 branch offices and more than 5,300 registered representatives.  According to the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) submitted to FINRA, MML Investors 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, MML Investors 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, MML Investors consented to the sanctions, was censured, and agreed to pay restitution to eligible customers who were overcharged an estimated $1,864,167.77.  This amount includes the approximately $1.5 million in mutual fund overcharges plus interest. Continue reading →