FINRA Bars Christopher Burtraw Over Borrowing Client Funds

shutterstock_93851422The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Christopher Burtraw (Burtraw) working out of Lakewood, Colorado alleging that the broker borrowed client funds.  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”.  According to the FINRA regulatory action (FINRA No. 20150472061-01) Burtraw consented sanctions in the form of a permanent bar because he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course their investigation into allegations that he borrowed funds from multiple customers.

At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Burtraw’s outside business activities and private securities transactions.  However, according to Burtraw’s public records his outside business activities includes Pacific Life Prestige Wealth Management Group.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

Burtraw entered the securities industry in 2003.  From September 2004 until November 2009, Burtraw was associated with LPL Financial Corporation.  From November 2009 until November 2014, Burtraw was associated with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments.  Finally, from November 2014 until October 2015, Burtraw was associated with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (JP Turner).

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 when these incidents occur the brokerage firm claims ignorance of their advisor’s activities the firm is obligated under the FINRA rules 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 misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms 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.

In cases of selling away the investor is unaware that the advisor’s investments are improper.  In many of these cases the investor will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is fired or charged by law enforcement, or stops returning client calls altogether.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration.  The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.