According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Sean Kelly (Kelly), in October 2018, was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of stealing more than $1 million from his clients.
According to the SEC, Sean Kelly used his companies, Lion’s Share Financial of East Cobb, Inc., Lion’s Share & Associates, Inc., and Lionsshare Tax Services, LLC, (Lion Share) to raise at least $1 million from 12 investors, including elderly retirees. Kelley is accused of promising that he would invest investor funds in a variety of investment products including private placements and real estate funds. However, the SEC determined that Kelly just spent the money on his own personal expenses including Super Bowl tickets, luxury vacations, and cash withdrawals. Apparently, even after he received an SEC subpoena Kelly continued to just steal money from investors. Instead, the SEC alleged that Kelly continued to dodge the agency and did not show up for his scheduled testimony after informing the SEC’s staff that he would show up and “come clean.” In a separate action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia filed criminal charges against Kelly and arrested him.
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”.
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.
Kelly entered the securities industry in 2000. From August 2012 until August 2017 Kelly was associated with Capital Financial Services, Inc. Thereafter, from August 2017 until October 2018 Kelly was associated with Center Street Securities, Inc. out of the firm’s Marietta, Georgia office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors 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.