Advisor Jerry Guttman Barred For Investing $7,000,000 of Client Funds in Private Companies

shutterstock_172399811-297x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Jerry Guttman (Guttman), operating under the d/b/a Guttman Financial Group, in November 2017, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he sold more than $7,000,000 worth of membership interests in at least six different limited liability companies to 38 customers without proper disclosure.  FINRA found that Guttman participated in the sales of these membership interests by soliciting the membership interests to investors; communicating with investors about their investments; drafting, distributing, and collecting the investment agreements; collecting and depositing investors’ checks into the companies’ bank accounts; and managing the companies as one of only two managing members.

Guttman’s employer, United Planners Financial Services of America (United Planners) discharged Guttman in September 2017 alleging that Guttman offered unapproved investments.

At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Guttman’s securities violations and outside business activites.  However, Guttman’s CRD lists a number of outside business activities and companies that may be vechiles for his fundraising activities.  Guttman is involved with Walled Lake Properties – a condo rental property, Serenity Management, LLC – a cemetery business, Leasing USA – commercial property rental company, Sofa Society for Financial Awareness as a consultant, Nationwide Planning & Benefits (NPB Solutions) – the marketing and sale of insurance products, Leasing USA II – a commercial property rental company, Champion Entertainment Group, LLC – a company that records TV songs, 92nd Street Holdings – a commercial property rental company, and Total Living Plan, LLC – estate planning company.

The firm’s allegations concern private securities transactions– a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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.

Guttman entered the securities industry in 1983.  From November 2001 until October 2017, Guttman was associated with United Planners out of the firm’s Phoenix, Arizona office location.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein 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.