The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently barred financial advisor William D. Bucci (Bucci) for allegedly accepting 19 personal loans totaling $635,000 from nine customers in violation of FINRA rules. Bucci also allegedly willfully failed to amend his Form U4 to disclose material facts relating to two judgments that were entered against him. In addition, customers have filed complaints alleging that Bucci sold illegal promissory notes.
Bucci has been licensed as registered securities representative since 1983. From April 27, 2002, until April 2007, Bucci was a registered representative with Ryan Beck & Co. (Ryan Beck). Thereafter, and until August 2011, Bucci was registered with Oppenheimer & Co. (Oppenheimer). Finally, from August 2011, until May 2012, Bucci was registered with Financial Network Investment Corp. (Financial Network). Bucci’s public disclosures list that he is involved in a number of companies and other business activities including Delaware Valley Financial Group, LLC, DVFG Advisors, LLC, Chestnut Hill College Board of Trustees, Gennaro Vuono & William Bucci, 3010 Ocean Ave, LLC, 510 Seacliff LLC, 210 Sea Spay LLC, and 216 Sea Spay LLC.
FINRA alleged that between May 2004 and December 2010, Bucci accepted 19 personal loans from nine brokerage customers totaling $635,000. FINRA found that all of the personal loans paid annual interest of at least 10 percent and had terms of up to five years. In one instance, Bucci was accused of borrowing $425,000 in ten loan transactions from an elderly retired couple who were customers of Bucci at Ryan Beck and Oppenheimer. FINRA alleged that none of the elderly couple’s loans have been repaid. Further, according to FINRA, the elderly couple loaned Bucci a portion of the $425,000 by withdrawing money from their brokerage accounts and securing a second mortgage on their home. FINRA found that Bucci’s conduct violated NASD Rules 2370 and 2110 and FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010.
On April 20, 2012, Financial Network terminated Bucci and filed a Form U5 stating that Bucci may have been offering or selling securities including promissory notes and other forms of indebtedness without proper registration. Financial Network also noted that the investments may be linked to a business involved in the sale or importation of wine or olive oil. At least five customers have filed complaints against Bucci alleging that they were sold promissory notes and other investments that were not properly registered securities.
The accusations made against Bucci are consistent with a “selling away” securities violation. Brokers are required to have their firms approve all securities transactions they participate in, even private financial transactions. Thus, when a broker fails to notify the firm of securities activities he or she “sells away” from the firm. Selling away is prohibited under FINRA Rule 3040, as well as other securities laws. The most common securities products solicited in selling away schemes are private placements and promissory note.
The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in investigating claims concerning the unregistered sale of investments. Our attorneys can help you detect and uncover suspicious activity in your accounts. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.