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FINRA Disciplinary Actions October 2019

When brokers violate FINRA rules or federal securities regulations—by stealing customer funds, recommending unsuitable investments, or refusing to provide on-the-record testimony to FINRA—the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority holds them to account. FINRA publicizes disciplinary actions taken against brokers in their monthly round-up. The full October 2019 report can be viewed here.

In the most serious cases of broker fraud or misconduct, FINRA permanently bars brokers from the securities industry. FINRA’s October 2019 report lists 18 barred brokers.

Individuals Barred

Broker Name CRD Number Location Circumstances Surrounding Bar
Beth Ann Hamilton CRD #3092302 Port Matilda, Pennsylvania “refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into her being reimbursed by her member firm for unauthorized, personal expenses based on her submission of false expense reports”
Orlando Vargas CRD #5703625 Rochester, New York “he converted funds by falsely representing to his member firm that he had purchased computer equipment and obtaining $2,000 in reimbursement to which he was not entitled”
David Volpe CRD #2543478 Gilbert, Arizona “he refused to produce information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he engaged in a private securities transaction or borrowed funds from a customer”
Karen Paek CRD #5985441 Los Angeles, California “she created, signed and submitted fictitious variable annuity applications, along with fictitious supporting documents, to meet her minimum production requirements at her member firm”
Eldridge Parks CRD #1041447 Chesaning, Michigan “he failed to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA after a customer of his member firm alleged that he made unsuitable securities recommendations”
Lisa Acca CRD #4661358 Staten Island, New York “she failed to produce certain documents and information and failed to appear and provide on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations that she, among other things, recommended private securities transactions to a customer of her member firm”
Bryan Clark CRD #2987321 Pismo Beach, California “he refused to appear and provide on-the-record testimony during the course of FINRA’s investigation into whether he willfully failed to disclose a bankruptcy, failed to disclose outside business activities and participated in private securities transactions”
Brenda Kochel CRD #5212755 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania “she converted funds from her member firm by requesting and obtaining $23,847.24 in reimbursement from it for travel expenses she did not incur”
Gregory Dean CRD #4922996 Seaford, New York “churn[ed] and engag[ed] in quantitatively unsuitable trading in the accounts of customers…result[ing] in more than $1,834,832 in cumulative losses, while generating more than $715,930 in commissions, fees and margin interest charged to the customers”
Michael Johnson CRD #2261413 Medford, Oregon “he refused to provide FINRA with requested documents and information. The findings stated that one of Johnson’s former member firms had filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) stating that the firm terminated him because of concerns regarding circumstances of his acquisition of a prior representative’s book of business. Later, another former firm submitted a Form U5 stating that it had discharged him for being listed as a beneficiary on a non-family related client account”
Gregg Braccili CRD #5992725 Havertown, Pennsylvania “he refused to appear for onthe-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his termination from his member firm. The findings stated that the firm submitted a Form U5 stating that Braccili was discharged for his falsification of a communication that appeared to be on behalf of the firm. FINRA reviewed the communication at issue and determined it was not customer or sales practice related”
Bryan Jensen CRD #5467555 South Jordan, Utah “he converted funds of his member firm by obtaining $1,444 in reimbursement from the firm to which he was not entitled”
Bobby Wayne Coburn CRD #1464789 Lake Wales, Florida “he refused to provide information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with a Form U5 submitted by his member firm. The findings stated that the firm submitted the Form U5 wherein it terminated his association and stated that he was involved in the solicitation of clients to invest in an unapproved private securities transaction and engaged in the settlement of a related customer complaint without its knowledge or consent”
Patrick Sutherland CRD #3042322 Charlotte, North Carolina “while he was statutorily disqualified as a result of felony convictions, and while his FINRA registrations were terminated, he actively engaged in the management of his FINRA member firm, and engaged in activities on behalf of it which required securities registration”
Kari Buckles CRD #6443019 Olean, New York “she converted the funds of an employee of her insurance agency by failing to contribute about $2,264 in withholdings to a Savings Incentive Match-Plan for Employees individual retirement account (IRA)”
Craig Zabala CRD #2740680 New York, New York “he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its review of his outside business activities and his potential participation in private securities transactions”
Lawrence Rizer CRD #1168778 Canfield, Ohio “he converted $1,979 from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), a non-profit group for which he was serving as president of a local chapter”
Gerald Lee Brodsky CRD #1172647 Greenwich, Connecticut “he provided a partial, but incomplete, response to FINRA’s request for documents and information and failed to produce the remaining documents in connection with its review of his outside business activities”

 

Individuals Suspended

Broker Name CRD Number Location Duration of Suspension Circumstances Surrounding Suspension
Matthew Albers CRD #2917814 Easton, Maryland September 3, 2019, through September 23, 2019 “he exercised discretionary trading authority on behalf of his customers without prior written authorization from the customers and without written approval from his member firm”; was fined $5,000
Lori Antolovic CRD #1480968 Dallas, Texas August 19, 2019, through November 18, 2019 “she failed to confirm that an individual, a member of Company A’s board of directors, had authority to direct the payment of a $2 million development fee to a company he controlled (Company B) from the proceeds of an offering”; was fined $7,500
Damien Berkowicz CRD #4306842 New York, New York August 5, 2019, through February 4, 2020 “he willfully failed to amend his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4) to disclose that he had been charged with two felonies”; was issued a deferred fine of $5,000
Elizabeth Stockwell CRD #6398497 Scarborough, Maine September 3, 2019, through September 23, 2019 “she impersonated a customer on telephone calls to an annuity company in order to obtain more information about the customer’s annuity positions”; was fined $5,000
Ken Kavanagh CRD #4502223 Hawley, Pennsylvania August 5, 2019, through February 4, 2021 “engaged in outside business activities without providing prior written notice to his member firm…managed the personal affairs of professional athletes, including over 40 professional athletes who were clients of both Kavanagh and the firm”; was issued a deferred fine of $25,000
Mengxuan Zhang CRD #6548853, San Gabriel, California August 5, 2019, through September 4, 2019 “she falsified customer signature pages on account forms by reusing the signature pages without the customers’ express permission”; was issued a deferred fine of $5,000
Jollene Austin CRD #2997663 Westport, Connecticut August 19, 2019, through February 18, 2020 “she borrowed a total of $665,000 from a customer of her member firm without obtaining prior written approval to engage in the transactions from the firm”; was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Steve Baptist CRD #5885870 Bronx, New York September 3, 2019, through October 2, 2019 “the engaged in unauthorized trading by placing trades in the accounts of customers who were deceased at the time of the trades…received $530 in commissions”; fined $5,000
Richard Coleman (CRD #2720422 Mount Sinai, New York August 19, 2019, through August 18, 2021 “engaged in quantitatively unsuitable trading in the accounts of the customers…[who] suffered collective losses of $225,745 and paid $139,930 in commissions and fees”; was fined $15,000
Thomas Raymond Williams Sr. CRD #3176294 Cincinnati, Ohio September 17, 2019, through September 30, 2019 “he omitted material information from an email communication to a customer regarding the status of funds held in escrow in connection with the customer’s investment in a private placement”; was fined $10,000
Stephen Kelbick CRD #1429133 Penllyn, Pennsylvania August 19, 2019, through September 9, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts without approval; was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Leonard Kuczynski CRD #863341 Independence, Ohio August 19, 2019, through December 18, 2019 “he engaged in outside business activities for compensation without providing prior written notice to his member firm”; was assessed a deferred fine of $10,000
Roger Owens CRD #2359204 Elkton, Maryland August 19, 2019, through August 18, 2020 “engaged in private securities transactions without providing notice to, or obtaining approval from, his member firm…licited investors to purchase promissory notes relating to a purported real-estate investment fund. Owens sold $1,170,000 in the notes to investors, four of whom were firm customers, and received $59,471 in commissions in connection with these transactions”; was assessed a deferred fine of $10,000; ordered to disgorge $59,471, plus interest
Allen Holeman CRD #1060910 Marlboro, New Jersey Four months Holeman appealed an SEC decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Holeman was fined $20,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for four months. The SEC sustained the findings and sanctions imposed by the NAC. On August 26, 2019, the SEC issued a partial stay order staying Holeman’s fine and suspension pending consideration of his appeal by the Court of Appeals and denying his motion to stay the finding that he is subject to a statutory disqualification under Section 3(a)(39)(F) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The sanctions were based on findings that Holeman willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to report three federal tax liens totaling over $116,000. The findings stated that Holeman completed and submitted to his member firm an annual compliance certification in which he falsely stated he had no unsatisfied liens against him. Holeman falsely stated that he had no tax liens even though he had two outstanding tax liens at the time and FINRA had contacted him about the tax liens two months earlier. Holeman disclosed the liens on his Form U4 only after FINRA began investigating the liens, and even then, he waited six months to make the disclosures. FINRA also found that Holeman was subject to statutory disqualification because it found that he acted willfully and that the information that he failed to disclose was material. (FINRA Case #2014043001601).”
Michael Nixon CRD #2169631 Indian Shores, Florida September 24, 2019, through October 14, 2019 “although his customers had authorized him to make purchases, he exercised discretionary trading authority on their behalf without their prior written authorization and without written approval from his member firm”; was fined $5,000
David Rookasin CRD #5760016 Monroe, Connecticut September 16, 2019, through January 15, 2020 “Rookasin recommended that his client exchange a $1.3 million fixed annuity for a combination of three variable annuities, but his firm rejected the proposed transaction pursuant to an internal policy. Thereafter, Rookasin aided the other representative in the execution of this exchange for the customer after she opened an account at that representative’s firm. The representative recommended and the customer exchanged her fixed annuity to purchase two different variable annuities in the account she had opened. Rookasin remained involved with the transactions, including by being the point of contact between the customer and the representative”

Was fined $10,000; ordered to pay disgorgement of $50,318.86 in commissions, plus interest

Justin Mitchell CRD #5177794 Baton Rouge, Louisiana September 3, 2019, through October 2, 2019 “he engaged in an outside business activity involving the sale of nutritional supplements without providing prior written notice to his member firm”; was fined $2,500
Scott Riley CRD #5178446 Hooksett, New Hampshire September 3, 2019, through December 2, 2019 “he made unauthorized trades in a customer’s account by selling mutual fund positions in the customer’s account and using the proceeds to purchase another mutual fund position without obtaining the customer’s prior authorization”
John Hillotson CRD #1320717 Saint Paul, Minnesota September 16, 2019, through October 4, 2019 “he impersonated customers during telephone conversations with a mutual fund company for the purpose of facilitating the prospective transfer of the customers’ retirement accounts to his member firm”; was fined $5,000
Arlyn Stokesbary CRD #1717430 Slayton, Minnesota September 3, 2019, through September 23, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts without proper authorization; was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Micah Handell CRD #5889420 Santa Fe, New Mexico September 3, 2019, through September 23, 2019 “he impersonated a prospective customer on telephone calls with another FINRA member firm in order to obtain information about the prospective customer’s retirement accounts at the other firm”; was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Carlton Dick CRD #5639545 Saint Louis, Missouri September 16, 2019, through October 30, 2019 “during telephone calls to his former member firm’s call center, he impersonated an associated person of that firm in order to obtain account information about customers without the customers or their representatives’ permission to make these telephone calls”; was fined $5,000
Richard White CRD #3147238 Charlotte, North Carolina September 16, 2019, through September 16, 2021 “The NAC affirmed the findings and modified the sanction imposed by the Office of Hearing Officers (OHO), wherein White was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. The sanctions were based on findings that on his return home from two gambling trips, White structured currency deposits with knowledge of and intent to evade federal currency reporting requirements in the Bank Secrecy Act,” Was fined $10,000
Vitthal Mathurbmas Patel CRD #1775477, Edison, New Jersey September 3, 2019, through March 2, 2020 “he forged electronic signatures of customers…[and] forged handwritten signatures of customers on other account-related documents, including a change of address form, a 529-college savings plan transfer form and beneficiary change forms by cutting and pasting photocopied customer signatures”; was fined $5,000
Jedediah Elvin Dahl CRD #5517556 Knoxville, Tennessee September 3, 2019, through January 2, 2020 “he distributed sales materials that failed to comply with FINRA’s content standards for member communications with the public. The findings stated that Dahl created and issued two letters to a prospective customer, the owner of a start-up company, for his use to solicit potential investors. The letters were printed on the company letterhead of Dahl’s member firm and contained misleading statements regarding his firm’s relationship with the start-up company and the risks associated with an investment in it”; was fined $10,000

If your broker has been suspended or barred from the securities industry, don’t hesitate to contact a securities attorney. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free consultation.

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