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FINRA Disciplinary Actions September 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 September 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 September 2019 report lists 18 barred brokers.

Broker Name CRD Number Location Circumstances Surrounding Bar
James Booth CRD #1906145, Norwalk, Connecticut Booth stole at least $1 million from customer accounts while placating customers with fake account statements
Tina Martinez CRD #5012793 Zillah, Washington “refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA after allegations that she submitted forged life

insurance policies without the consent of the insureds and caused insurance customer

funds to be used to pay for her insurance agency’s commercial insurance policy”

Brenda Smith CRD #4348518 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania “refused to provide

documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an ongoing FINRA

investigation into potential misstatements about the financial performance of an

investment fund that were made during the course of private securities transactions in

which she participated”

Jeff Blutstein CRD #1398688 Ridgefield, Connecticut “refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into

whether he potentially violated FINRA rules by engaging in undisclosed outside business activities while associated with a member firm”

Richard Cagle CRD #2122648 Corpus Christi, Texas “refused to appear for and provide on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA after it commenced an investigation into whether he violated FINRA rules by making unsuitable investment recommendations and mismarking customer order tickets while associated with a member firm”
Michael Mackay CRD #2279775 Liberty Township, Ohio “he failed to respond to FINRA’s

request for documents and information as a part of its investigation into allegations

that he had referred customers to an outside real estate investment opportunity that his member firm had not approved”

Roman Corona CRD #6347429 Buckeye, Arizona “refused to appear for on-the-record

testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into his outside brokerage accounts”

Thomas Marino CRD #4438533 Bradenton, Florida “refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into his possible misuse of funds from a senior customer”
Joseph Eckhoff CRD #6703549 Lakewood, Colorado “…failed to provide additional documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation after receipt of his member firm’s Form U5. The findings stated that the firm terminated Eckhoff’s registration by filing the Form U5 stating that Eckhoff was “no longer appointed by an affiliated insurance company” due to a “[n]on-securities related termination.”
Robert Montes CRD #835488 Oldsmar, Florida “he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he potentially misused an elderly customer’s assets”
Ernie Garcia CRD #6329782 Forest Hill, Texas “he refused to provide documents, information and on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into reimbursements he received under his member firm’s computer equipment reimbursement program”
Cynthia Jones CRD #706190 Boston, Massachusetts “refused to provide on-therecord testimony requested by FINRA after it received allegations that she made three unauthorized transfers, totaling $466,195.13, from a deceased customer’s brokerage account to the customer’s accountant”
Tino Rivera CRD #6358600 Santa Ana, California “…provided false information to FINRA during on-the-record testimony regarding a joint account he held at another FINRA member firm with a senior customer of his member firm. … Rivera repeatedly falsely testified that he was not aware of any joint account with the customer, speculating that the customer may have opened a joint account with Rivera’s information without his knowledge. Rivera opened the joint account with the senior customer and accessed the account online numerous times per month since its opening.”
Diane Zhu CRD #2962421 San Francisco, California “refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into her outside business activity that led to her termination from her member firm”
Michael Filipidis CRD #6940966 Mint Hill, North Carolina “refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into allegations of misconduct in a customer bank account and whether he engaged in conduct that violated federal securities laws or regulations or FINRA rules”
Jim Heafner CRD #4837072 Charlotte, North Carolina “refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its inquiry into his possible involvement in an outside business activity that was not approved by his member firm”
Vincent Storms CRD #4969537 Palm Harbor, Florida “…Storms caused his member firm to maintain inaccurate books and records by falsifying data he submitted to it in connection with branch audits that he performed. … Storms altered answers to questions from registered representatives, affecting the branch audits. By doing this, Storms avoided performing required follow-up work. Subsequently, Storms’ supervisor confronted him about the altered branch audit data and to hide his misconduct, he tried unsuccessfully to correct the data he had altered. … Storms twice failed to appear for testimony, before he ultimately agreed to testify…”

Brokers Suspended

Broker Name CRD Number Location Duration of Suspension Circumstances Surrounding Suspension
David Antypas CRD #2603488, Franklin, Tennessee July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2021 “in contravention of, and in an effort to circumvent, his member firm’s policies, he recommended that an elderly customer name his wife and subsequently his sister as sole beneficiaries on the customer’s transfer on death and variable annuity accounts”
Ricardo de la Garza Emerich CRD #4246723 San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico August 5, 2019, through September 18, 2019 Fined $5,000; “caused his member firm to fail to preserve books and records. The findings stated that de la Garza Emerich and his assistant, who acted at his authorization, utilized unapproved email addresses to send and receive business related communications. The email addresses were not disclosed to de la Garza Emerich’s member firm and the emails sent and received were not captured by it”
Scott Mason CRD #3207386 Larkspur, Colorado July 15, 2019, through November 14, 2019 Ordered to pay a deferred fine of $5,000; “borrowed approximately $108,360 from an elderly customer of his member firm, who was also a client and a family friend, without providing prior notice to and receiving written approval from the firm”
William Heiden CRD #2885156 Irvine, California July 15, 2019, through January 14, 2020 Ordered to pay $12,084 in deferred restitution; “engaged in unauthorized trading in the accounts of two elderly customers”
Linda Sue Zara CRD #2322009 Deerfield Beach, Florida July 15, 2019, through October 14, 2019 Ordered to pay a deferred fine of $5,000; “borrowed $44,292 from a 94-year-old customer of her member firm without providing prior notice to, or obtaining prior written approval from, the firm”
Dennis Ward CRD #1210684 Murrysville, Pennsylvania August 5, 2019, through December 4, 2019 Fined $5,000; failed to disclose $147,890 in tax liens on his Form U4 (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer)
John Alexander CRD #4751186 Athens, Georgia July 15, 2019, through October 7, 2019 Was issued a deferred fine of $7,500; exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts
Robert Davis CRD #4662922 Richmond, Indiana July 15, 2019, through August 13, 2019 Exercised discretion in an account without proper authority; “effected unsuitable transactions involving Class A mutual fund shares and unit investment trusts,” causing customers to pay $3,500 in unnecessary front-end sales charges”; was issued a $5,000 deferred fine;
Jonathon Hartwig CRD #6370247 Jamestown, Ohio August 5, 2019, through October 4, 2019 Failed to notify his member firm of and amend his pending Form U4 to reflect certain material information he was required to report”; was fined $5,000
Jeffrey Lundstrom CRD #2377839 San Diego, California July 15, 2019, through January 14, 2020 “willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose federal tax liens totaling nearly $106,000”; was issued a deferred fine of $7,500
George McElroy CRD #1807305, Chicago, Illinois July 15, 2019, through October 14, 2019 “willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose tax liens filed against him totaling $29,848.05”
Cindy Fuzie CRD #5222145 Granite Bay, California July 15, 2019, through October 14, 2019 Filed false expense reports for personal meals; Was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Samuel Van Allen CRD #4464706, Milford, New Jersey August 5, 2019, through August 23, 2019 “in anticipation of leaving his member firm he improperly removed nonpublic personal customer information from the firm, without the firm or the customers’ knowledge or consent”’; was fined $7,500
David Fleming Jr. CRD #1021968 Stamford, Connecticut August 5, 2019, through November 4, 2019 “borrowed $35,000 from a customer without providing prior notice to, and receiving written pre-approval from, his member firm”; assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Eric Savell CRD #4182368, Roseville, California August 5, 2019, through January 4, 2020 “participated in a private securities transaction without providing his member firm with written notice of the transaction and his proposed role therein. The findings stated that Savell participated in an outside business activity by performing work for, and being compensated by, a company. Savell arranged for a meeting between a customer and the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) for the purpose of facilitating a potential investment. Following that meeting, the customer liquidated her account at the firm through Savell and invested over $160,000 in the company pursuant to a stock purchase agreement,” Was assessed a deferred fine of $10,000
Michael Garris CRD #1540384, Los Angeles, California August 5, 2019, through August 4, 2020 “Effected unauthorized transactions in a deceased customer’s account involving an aggregate amount of $381,452.98.” was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Brian DiJulio CRD #1647694 Kirkland, Washington August 5, 2019, through November 4, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts without approval; mismarked transactions as unsolicited; was assessed a deferred fine of $7,500
Stephen Whiting CRD #1752042 Huntington Woods, Michigan August 19, 2019, through October 18, 2019 “falsely attested that personnel of his member firm had spoken with a customer to confirm the authenticity of requests to wire funds from the customer’s account to a third party, even though he knew that no one at the firm had done so. The findings stated that Whiting reduced the amount of the wire on one wire transfer request form that bore the customer’s signature without obtaining the customer’s authorization to alter the form. In total, Whiting’s misconduct caused his firm to wire $545,000 from the customer’s brokerage account to a third-party bank account without the customer’s authorization”
Aaron Williams CRD #6672540 New York, New York August 5, 2019, through February 4, 2021 “possessed and had access to his cellular phone that contained study materials related to the subject matter of the” Securities Industry Essentials exam; was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Michael Lee CRD #4502893 Darien, Connecticut August 5, 2019, through August 4, 2020 “engaged in an outside business activity, a prospective exchange traded fund (ETF), without providing prior written notice to his member firm”; was assessed a deferred fine of $12,500

 

Michael Spolar CRD #2192992 Lyndhurst, Ohio August 5, 2019, through November 4, 2020 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts
Cheryl Blakey CRD #6058053 Kennett Square, Pennsylvania August 5, 2019, through August 23, 2019 “settled a customer complaint without notifying her member firm of the customer’s claim and without seeking or receiving authorization from the firm to resolve the complaint. The findings stated that Blakey paid $1,019.05 to the customer to settle the customer’s verbal complaint, made to Blakey, regarding an annuity surrender charge she previously had said the customer would not incur”; Was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000
Yousuf Saljooki CRD #5045123 Melville, New York August 5, 2019, through May 4, 2020 “willfully failed to timely disclose an unsatisfied federal tax lien in the amount of $227,859.29,” causing his firm to maintain inaccurate books and records; Assessed a deferred fine of $20,000
John Atchison CRD #1284207 Virginia Beach, Virginia August 19, 2019, through September 9, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts; Was fined $2,500
Robert Forsyth CRD #1425529 Charlottesville, Virginia August 19, 2019, through September 9, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts without approval; Was fined $2,500
Michael Kane CRD #704604 Virginia Beach, Virginia August 19, 2019, through September 9, 2019 Exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts without approval; Was fined $2,500
Eric Nichols CRD #2710703 Redondo Beach, California August 19, 2019, through September 9, 2019 “Nichols wrote checks to a customer totaling approximately $28,000 to settle [a] customer’s complaint. Although the firm was aware of the customer’s complaint, Nichols did not disclose to it that he had written checks to the customer to settle the complaint,” Was fined $5,000

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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