Former Cetera Broker Allegedly Engaged in Outside Business Activities
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it is barring Nina Jessee, a former Cetera Advisors broker. The bar comes after Jessee failed to cooperate with the self-regulatory organization (SRO), which was investigating complaints about her related to alternative investments, including allegations that she had engaged in business activities that were not authorized outside of the brokerage firm.
With more than 30 years in the industry, Jessee has also been a registered broker at five other broker-dealers, including Investors Capital Corp., Financial Securities Network, NAP Financial Corporation, Marketing One Securities, and Mutual of Omaha Fund Management Company.
Her BrokerCheck record shows two dozen disclosures, mostly customer disputes making allegations such as unsuitability, poor investment performance, over-concentration, and misrepresentations. Jessee resigned from Cetera in 2017 in the wake of the outside business activities allegations.
Fired UBS Representative Accused of Trading Away
Nicolas Barrios, an ex-UBS (UBS) broker and branch manager, is now barred by FINRA after he too would not participate in the regulator’s inquiry into allegations of misconduct. UBS fired Barrios earlier this year after finding that he made arrangements for a client to invest in a private company, an action that was unauthorized and outside of activities sanctioned by the broker-dealer. He also allegedly took steps to keep UBS from detecting the investment.
The brokerage firm later found out that at least seven UBS clients who worked with Barrios had transferred their funds from their accounts at the firm to accounts elsewhere. It was from those outside accounts that they wrote checks to a company with which he had ties.
Barrios worked with UBS from 2008 to 2019. With 26 years in the industry, He has also been a registered broker for Wachovia Securities, First Union Brokerage Services, Merrill Lynch, and Chatfield Dean & Co.
Former Spencer Edwards CEO Barred for Money Laundering Lapses
In yet another FINRA bar, this one involves Donna Jean Flemming. The SRO said that she did not put into place an anti-money laundering (AML) program that was adequate and she engaged in falsifying documents. Flemming is the ex-CEO, chief compliance officer, anti-money laundering compliance officer, and president of Spencer Edwards, Inc.
In its letter of acceptance, waiver, and consent, FINRA said that Flemming “abdicated” all her AML duties at the broker-dealer between 9/2013 and 8/2015. It was during this time that Spencer Edwards made over 80% of its revenue through client deposits involving microcap securities and their liquidation.
The SRO said that Flemming did not monitor these activities and, instead, had the firm’s outside counsel, an unregistered person, do this job while failing to oversee this individual. FINRA said that when the attorney did flag potentially suspect activity, Flemming not only failed to look into the matter further, but also she neglected to assess whether the financial firm should submit suspicious activity reports about this.
FINRA canceled Spencer Edwards’ firm membership in February in the wake of the AML deficiency allegations.
Flemming’s BrokerCheck record shows that she worked 30 years in the industry, including as a previously registered broker with Variable Asset Strategies, Portfolio Brokerage Services, Rocky Mountain Securities and Investments, Blinder, Robinson, & Co., Finnet Securities Inc., and also BC Financial Corporation and Venture Trading, both of which were previously expelled by FINRA.
Over the years, Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) has proven successful in helping thousands of investors in recouping losses that they suffered due to brokerage firm misconduct, negligence, and broker fraud. Our investor lawyers would be happy to offer you a free, no obligation case consultation.