FINRA Sanctions Donald Levin Over Unsuitable Mutual Fund Switching

shutterstock_52426963The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker Donald Levin (Levin) (FINRA No. 2014040335101) alleging that between December and April 2014, Levin hosted a weekly radio show and during that show he made statements that were unbalanced, promissory, misleading and lacked reasonable basis in violation of the FINRA Rules. According to Levin’s BrokerCheck records Levin also has a long and troubled history of customer complaints, regulatory actions, and employment separations. In September 2012, FINRA accepted an settlement with Levin where he accepted the entry of findings that Levin made unwarranted and misleading statements on his weekly radio show. At that time Levin agreed to accept a five month suspension and a $30.000 fine. Going back to December 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a cease and desist order to Levin fining him $25,000 for his violations in the offering and selling mutual fund class A shares to retail customers without adequate disclosure of material information about the availability of breakpoint discounts for which customers could have qualified.

In addition to the regulatory actions, Levin has approximately 15 customer complaints filed against him dating back to 1999. The customer complaints allege a host of securities laws violations concerning a variety of investment products. Some of the more recent complaints allege that Levin failed to conduct due diligence in private placement securities some of which include oil & gas private placements. In another customer complaint, the customer alleged that he was induced to take out a home equity loan in order to purchase securities and suffered losses of $440,000 as a result. Other investor complaints involve alternative investments and mutual funds.

Levin first became associated with a FINRA member in 1980. From 2004 until June 2012, Levin was a registered representative of Milkie/Ferguson Investments, Inc. Thereafter, from June 2012, until September 2012, Levin was associated with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. Finally, from January 2014, unitl August 2014, Levin was a registered representative of Titan Securities.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.

Investors who have suffered investment losses due to inappropriate investment activity may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors concerning securities violations. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.