The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned (FINRA AWC No. 2013039506601) broker Gregory Gassoso (Gassoso) on allegations that in April 2013, Gassoso effected three unauthorized transactions in a customer’s account, resulting in a loss of approximately $1,500. In addition to FINRA’s recent action Gassoso has been the subject of at least five customer complaints and two other regulatory matters over the course of his career. Customers have filed complaints against Gassoso alleging securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trades, and poor investment advice among other claims.
Gassoso entered the securities industry in 1997. From September 2001, until June 2012, Gassoso was a registered representative with DPEC Capital, Inc. (DPEC). From August 2012, until January 2015, Gassoso was associated with National Securities Corporation. Finally, from February 2015 until September 2015, Gassoso was again associated with DPEC out of its New York, New York office location.
Gassoso has a disciplinary history including prior regulatory claims of unauthorized trading. Gassoso has been the subject of two prior FINRA disciplinary actions for unauthorized activity including a May 2003, action where he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with a FINRA for ten days for opening accounts for customers without their knowledge or authorization. In another incident in June 2005, Gassoso was fined $6,000 and suspended for 60 days from association with a FINRA member for unauthorized trading in customer accounts.
Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. The broker must first discuss all trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature.
The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Gassoso is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters.
Investors who have suffered investment losses due to unauthorized trading activity may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors concerning securities violations. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.