Articles Tagged with outside business activities

shutterstock_133831631The investment fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Lizabeth Ty (Ty). According to BrokerCheck records Ty is subject to three pending customer complaints, while registered with Park Avenue Securities LLC (Park Avenue) in Houston, Texas.  The regulatory also filed a complaint against Ty attempting to investigate the circumstances of the sale of claimed unregistered securities. (FINRA No. 20160493150-01).  When Ty refused to cooperate with the investigation, FINRA automatically barred Ty from the industry.

According to BrokerCheck records Ty has three customer complaints pending concerning the sales of promissory notes.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Ty’s outside business activities and private securities transactions.  However, according to Ty’s public records her outside business activities include a real estate license in Texas.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance to clients of those side practices.

Ty was associated with brokerage firm Park Avenue from January 2006 until July 2015.

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shutterstock_61142644The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Tracy Wengert (Wengert) (FINRA No. 2015044289201) resulting in a bar from the securities industry alleging that Wengert failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents requested. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry. FINRA’s document requests related to the regulators investigation into claims in February 2015, FINRA enforcement began investigating allegations of misconduct by Wengert in that he opened brokerage accounts outside of the Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (Transamerica) on behalf of customers and placed unsuitable trades in these accounts.

FINRA’s investigation appears to stem from Wengert’s termination from Transamerica in January 2015. At that time Transamerica filed a Form U5 termination notice with FINRA stating in part that the firm discharged Wengert under circumstances where there was allegations that Wengert was alleged to have managed a client account on a discretionary basis without approval or oversight through the firm.

Wengert entered the securities industry in 1999. From April 2002 until January 2012, Wengert was associated with World Group Securities, Inc. Thereafter, from January 2012 until February 2015, Wengert was associated as a registered representative with Transamerica.

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shutterstock_138129767The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Jeffrey Mohlman (Mohlman) (FINRA No. 2015044734401) resulting in a bar from the securities industry alleging that Mohlman failed to provide FINRA staff with information and documents requested. The failure to provide those documents and information to FINRA resulted in an automatic bar from the industry. FINRA’s document requests related to the regulators investigation into claims the Mohlman engaged in unapproved and undisclosed private securities transactions – also referred to in the industry as “selling away.”

FINRA’s investigation appears to stem from Mohlman’s termination from Questar Capital Corporation (Questar Capital) in February 2015. At that time Questar Capital filed a Form U5 termination notice with FINRA stating in part that the firm permitted Mohlman to resign under circumstances where there was allegations that Mohlman was under internal review for failure to follow firm policies and procedures regarding participation in private securities transactions. It is unclear the nature of the outside business activities from publicly available information at this time. However, Mohlman’s brokercheck disclosures reveal several outside business activities including being a co-owner of NexGen Vapors – a vapor needs business – and Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange where Mohlman discloses that he works as an insurance agent.

Mohlman entered the securities industry in 2001. From October 2002 until March 2009, Mohlman was associated with MetLife Securities Inc. Thereafter, from June 2009 until May 2011, Mohlman was associated as a registered representative with Investacorp, Inc. Finally, from June 2012 until March 2015, Mohlman was associated with Questar Capital.

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shutterstock_180342155The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned (Case No. 2013036262101) broker Sylvester King Jr. (King) concerning allegations that from July 2009, through November 2012, while King was registered Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (Morgan Stanley) and later Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo), circumvented Wells Fargo’s policies and procedures by assisting another broker in concealing nearly $400,000 in loans to three firm customers, loaned $25,000 to a customer without permission, participated in an undisclosed private securities transaction, otherwise referred to in the industry as “selling away”, where eight customers invested more than $3 million, and provided false information to Morgan Stanley on two separate questionnaires.

King entered the securities industry in 1999. From 2006, until June 2009, King was registered with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (Citigroup). From June 2009, until October 2010, King was associated with Morgan Stanley. Thereafter, from October 2011, until May 2015, King was associated with brokerage firm Wells Fargo. On April 27, 2015, Wells Fargo filed a notice of Termination Form U-5 on the same day that FINRA entered into its agreement with King in which King accepted a fine and sanctions stating that King was discharged from the firm because of the settlement with FINRA which included an 18 month suspension. Thereafter, FINRA filed a second regulatory action stating that King failed to pay the $35,000 required as part of the settlement as of July 28, 2015.

FINRA alleged that in 2009, King and his partner referred to by the initials “AP”, formed PKG, a d/b/a branch office located in Florida registered through Morgan Stanley and then Wells Fargo. PKG allegedly provided financial “concierge” services to professional athletes who played in the NFL and the NBA. FINRA alleged that King committed the violations contained in the complaint for the supposed benefit, of several of these athletes.

FINRA found that from November 2011, through January 2012, while King was registered with Wells Fargo, King assisted his partner in loaning approximately $399,500 to three professional athletes in the NFL and NBA. In order to conceal the loans from Wells Fargo, FINRA alleged that AP wired the loan funds first to an entity referred to as “BPKG”, an entity owned by King’s and AP’s family members. FINRA alleged that King controlled the finances of BPKG and could effect transfers of funds from the account. FINRA alleged that King, at AP’s direction, wired the loan funds from BPKG to the customers. FINRA found that King understood that AP transferred the loan funds through BPKG in order to avoid Wells Fargo’s reporting requirements.

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shutterstock_102242143According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Homer Vining (Vining) has been the subject of at least one customer complaint and three regulatory actions. The customer complaint against Vining alleges a number of securities law violations including that the broker made misrepresentations concerning penny stocks and a claim of investment sold away from the firm among other claims.

Vining entered the securities industry in 1991. From 2005 through August 2009, Vining was associated with Ameriprise Advisor Services, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2009, until March 2015, Vining was associated with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (JP Turner).

Vining has three regulatory actions against him. The first is a suspension by FINRA for failing to comply with an arbitration award. The second is also a suspension by FINRA for failing to comply with an arbitration award. The third regulatory action is by the state of Georgia which suspended Vining until the broker comes into good standing with FINRA.

Penny stocks are extremely risky investments. The term “penny stock” generally refers to securities that trades below $5 per share, issued by a small company. Penny stocks often trade infrequently making it difficult to sell and price. Due to the size of the issuer, the market cap, the liquidity issues, and other reasons penny stocks are generally considered speculative investments. Consequently, the SEC requires broker-dealers effecting penny stock transactions to make a documented determination that the transactions are suitable for customers and obtain the customers’ written agreement to those transactions.

A broker-dealer must: (a) document the customer’s suitability by sending a written statement to the customer describing the basis of the suitability determination two days prior to purchase and obtain a written agreement from the customer to purchase the penny stock in a specific quantity prior to the transaction; (b) furnish the customer a standardized risk disclosure document two days prior to effecting a penny stock transaction and receive and maintain a signed and dated acknowledgement of its receipt; (c) disclose the current inside bid and ask market quotations; (d) disclose the amount of compensation the broker or dealer will receive for the transaction orally or in writing prior to effecting the transaction; and (e) send monthly account statements showing market and price information for each penny stock

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shutterstock_180735251The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned and barred David Chu (Chu) concerning allegations Chu refused cooperate with requests made by FINRA in connection with an investigation into possible outside business activities and private securities transactions. Such activities are often referred to as “selling away” in the industry. According to FINRA BrokerCheck records Chu has no outside business activities listed. It is unclear what businesses or investments FINRA’s investigation concerns.

Chu entered the securities industry in 2004, when he became associated with NYLife Securities LLC (NYLife). Chu held a Series 6 license which is a license that only allows the broker to sell investment companies (i.e. mutual funds) and variable contracts products. On March 16, 2015, NYLife filed a termination notice (known as a Form U5) with FINRA disclosing that Chu was discharged from the firm under circumstances that included a notification from the SEC that the agency was reviewing Chu’s books and records including his outside business activities and private securities transactions. NYLife conducted its own review and believed that Chu’s activities exceeded the scope of his approved activities with the brokerage firm.

According to FINRA, in April 2015, the agency began investigating whether Chu had engaged in outside business activities by soliciting investments or promissory notes. As part of its investigation FINRA sent a request to Chu for certain documents and information. According to FINRA, Chu provided a partial response to FINRA but thereafter through subsequent communications stated on a call with FINRA staff that he will not cooperate with the investigation. Consequently, Chu was barred by FINRA.

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shutterstock_54385804The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred broker Aaron Parthemer (Parthemer) concerning allegations that Parthemer engaged in private securities transactions – also known as “selling away.” FINRA alleged that from June 2009, through March 2013, Parthemer engaged in several undisclosed outside business activities, loaned nearly $400,000 to three firm customers without permission from his firm, presented an undisclosed private securities transaction through which eight firm customers invested more than $3 million, and provided false information and false documents to Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and FINRA.

In October 1994 Parthemer first became registered with FINRA firm. From June 2009, through October 21, 2011, he was registered through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (Morgan Stanley). On November 4, 2011, Morgan Stanley filed a filed a termination notice stating that Parthemer’s termination from the firm was voluntary. From October 21, 2011, until May 2015, Parthemer was registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo).

FINRA found that from approximately July 2009, through February 2012, Parthemer participated in a private securities transaction regarding a company referred to by the initials “GVC”, a startup internet branding company managed by a friend of Parthemers referred to by the initials “GH”. FINRA alleged that Parthemer referred several of his NFL and NBA clients to his friend for the purpose of investing in GVC. Subsequently, approximately eight of Parthemer’s clients purchased approximately $3.08 million of preferred GVC stock. FINRA found that Parthemer facilitated the transactions by hosting a presentation for investors conducted by GH at Parthemer’s home, sending PowerPoint presentations and other information concerning GVC to potential investors, and forwarding and retrieving required documentation to and from investors.

FINRA also alleged that in 2009, Parthemer and his partner, referred to by the initials “SK”, formed PKG which purported to provide financial concierge services to professional athletes who played in the NFL and the NBA. However, FINRA found that from June 2009, through March 2013, while registered with Morgan Stanley and then Wells Fargo, Parthemer participated in at least three separate outside business activities without providing prior notice to or receiving approval from his firms.

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shutterstock_12144202The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned and barred broker Paul Godlewski (Godlewski) concerning allegations Godlewski refused cooperate with requests made by FINRA in connection with an investigation into possible outside business activities. Such activities may, under certain circumstances also involve investment transactions referred to as “selling away” in the industry. According to FINRA BrokerCheck records Godlewski has disclosed outside business activities include Preferred Systems, Inc., PA Tags & Notary, and certain rental property real estate interests. It is unclear whether FINRA’s investigation concerns these particular outside business activities.

Godlewski entered the securities industry in 2004, when he became associated with Allstate Financial Services, LLC (Allstate). Godlewski held a Series 6 license which is for an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative. On January 12, 2015, Allstate filed a termination notice (known as a Form U5) with FINRA disclosing that Godlewski was discharged from the firm.

According to FINRA, in March 2015, the agency began investigating whether Godlewski had engaged in outside business activities and failure to follow Allstate’s procedures concerning televised public appearances. As part of its investigation, on March 12, 2015, FINRA sent a request to Godlewski for certain documents and information. According to FINRA, Godlewski stated on a call with FINRA staff on March 16, 2015, that he will not cooperate with the investigation. Consequently, Godlewski was barred by FINRA.

The conduct alleged against Godlewski may lead to “selling away” securities violations. In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. However, even though the brokerage firm claim ignorance of their advisor’s activities, under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public. Selling away often occurs in brokerage firm that either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system. Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.

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shutterstock_178801067The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred broker Raymond Schmidt (Schmidt) due to Schmidt’s refusal to respond to requests made by the agency. FINRA found that from approximately May 2009, through November 2012, Schmidt borrowed approximately $2.25 million from seven customers of LPL Financial LLC (LPL) and also engaged in outside business activities without notifying the firm. FINRA also alleged that between 2009 and 2014, Schmidt submitted five false compliance questionnaires and three false disclosures of outside business activities and loans to the firm.

In July 2006, Schmidt became associated with LPL. In a termination notice dated September 24, 2014, the LPL reported that on August 25, 2014, Schmidt had resigned while under internal review by LPL.

FINRA found that in or around May 2009, Schmidt purchased a real estate investment in Hawaii that he developed into a vacation rental property. In May 2012 that property opened for business. FINRA found that Schmidt was the sole owner and operator of the property and the business but failed to notify LPL of this outside business activity. FINRA alleged that from approximately May 2009, through November 2012, Schmidt borrowed $2,254,818 from seven LPL customers for the purpose of purchasing the real estate in Hawaii and constructing a vacation rental property.

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shutterstock_836360The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred broker Jerry Chancy (Chancy) concerning allegations that Chancy potentially engage in outside business activities and/or the sales of private securities. When a broker’s outside business activities also include the recommendation of investments the activity is referred to in the industry as “selling away.”

FINRA Rule 8210 authorizes FINRA to require persons associated with a FINRA member to provide information with respect to any matter involved in the investigation. In December 2014, FINRA alleged that it pursued an investigation into allegations that Chancy engaged in undisclosed outside business activities. On January 29, 2015, FINRA requested that Chancy appear and provide testimony. FINRA stated that Chancy told the regulator that he would not provide information or cooperate in the investigation. Consequently, he was barred from the industry It is unclear what organization or product Chancy was involved with or selling that FINRA was investigating.

Chancy first became registered with FINRA through his association with a member firm in 1988. From November 2006 through January 2015, Cadwallader was associated with Legend Equities Corporation.

The allegations against Chancy are consistent with “selling away” securities violation. In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. However, even though the brokerage firm claims to be unaware of these activities, under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering such products. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public. Selling away often occurs in brokerage firm that either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system. Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.

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