According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Ahmed Gheith (Gheith), in August 2017, was terminated by his employer Paulson Investment Company, LLC (Paulson Investment) after the firm alleged that Gheith was terminated subsequent to discovery of violations of firm supervisory procedures, failure to provide honest answers on annual questionnaires, violations of FINRA Rule 3280, and due to initiation of customer arbitration alleging fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment. The firm referenced that the product involved was a promissory note. Thereafter, in April 2018 FINRA Suspended Gheith.
FINRA alleged that two registered representatives informed Gheith about a private offering related to a real estate development in Belize. The investment was described as a short-term note meant to raise money for the development of an airport and Gheith thereafter referred several customers to invest. FINRA found that Gheith’s communications with four customers included a description of the Private Offering and leading the customers to invest a total of $3.5 million in the offering. FINRA alleged that Gheith was paid $93,165 for his role in soliciting and referring the customer.
FINRA’s allegations concerning promissory notes, a private securities transaction, –is 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.
Gheith entered the securities industry in 2010. From December 2010 until August 2011, Gheith was associated with Joseph Gunnar & Co. LLC. From August 2012 until March 2013 Gheith was registered with Cabot Lodge Securities LLC. From March 2013 until October 2013 Gheith was associated with Aegis Capital Corp. Finally, from January 2014 until August 2011 Gheith was registered with Paulson Investment out of the firm’s New York, New York 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.