Articles Tagged with Sunbelt Securities

shutterstock_168326705-199x300The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Linda Dowd. According to BrokerCheck records, Dowd has been subject to employment separation from WFG Investments Inc. (WFG Investments) and one regulatory action. Linda Dowd has spent 27 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Sunbelt Securities, Inc. (Sunbelt Securities) out of the firm’s Carlsbad, California office location. Brokers and investment advisers that forge customer signatures constitute a form of securities fraud.

In July 2016, Linda Dowd was terminated from her position at WFG Investments and has been sanctioned by FINRA. According to FINRA, Dowd had a customer pre-sign distribution requests forms on at least 26 occasions to effectuate a verbal distribution request as an accommodation to the customer. The findings state Dowd additionally utilized a personal email address to create a perception of legitimate customer communications. Dowd was also alleged to have falsely advised the firm’s compliance personnel that she had received the customer’s completed and signed distribution requests via email. For this, Dowd was fined $5,000 and was issued a one-year suspension.

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shutterstock_133831631Our law office is investigating potential customer complaints against David Diehl in the wake of the findings and sanctions by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) concerning allegations that Diehl engaged in private securities transactions, often referred to as “selling away”, and an outside business activity without disclosing these activities to his firm, First Liberties Financial. According to FINRA, Diehl was able to raise approximately $480,000 from seven investors for a business which owned and operated three hamburger restaurants in the St. Louis, Missouri area. FINRA found that most of the investors were his brokerage firm client. By virtue of this conduct, FINRA determined that Diehl violated NASD Rules 3030 and 3040 concerning outside business activities.

Diehl has been registered with seven firms since 2004. From July 2010, through March 2012, Diehl was registered with First Liberties Financial (First Liberties). Thereafter, Diehl joined Sunbelt Securities Inc. but left that firm on shortly in April 2012. Diehl was also registered with investment advisors and established an RIA firm, Diehl Wealth Management Group, LLC, in October 2010, and terminated registration in August 2011. Diehl has had three regulatory findings against him including AWC (2012031952301) issued in December 2012 where Diehl was suspended in all capacities for four months and fined $7,500 for indirectly borrowing money from a customer without his firm’s approval and for failing to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose a tax lien totaling $292,965. A broker’s inability to manage his own finances is a relevant disclosure for investors and brokerage firm’s to apply heightened scrutiny the broker’s actions.

Here, FINRA found that Diehl was approached by a client who was a well-known sports figure who wanted to open local burger restaurants under the client’s name. FINRA found that during the latter half of 2010, Diehl participated in establishing the business, and the first of three restaurants opened in April 2011. The restaurants were managed by another individual brought into the business by Diehl. According to FINRA, the restaurant founders set up a corporate entity to own and operate the restaurants and two of Diehl’s close relatives were designated as corporate secretary and director. The address provided for the corporation was Diehl’s home address and the registration of a fictitious name for the restaurants identified Diehl’s office location as the address for the corporation.

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