Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Michael Babyak (Babyak), formerly associated with brokerage firms LPL Financial LLC (LPL) and Leigh Baldwin & Co., LLC (Leigh Baldwin). According to brokercheck, Babyak consented to the sanction that he participated in private securities transactions involving customers of a member firm without first providing the firm written or oral notice of his activities. FINRA findings stated that Babyak had the customers invest a total of $4,250,000 into a limited liability company that he had created.
Babyak is then alleged to have assisted in wiring funds from the firm’s accounts to the borrower and the limited liability company’s bank account and signed the loan agreement and related security agreement on behalf of the company he created. FINRA alleged that Babyak then caused the company to loan the $4.25 million to a third party for the benefit of his customers. FINRA also discovered that Babyak arranged for the company to use funds repaid from the $4.25 million loan to extend loans on behalf of the customers to two additional borrowers.
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”. Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.