Articles Posted in Selling Away

Barred SagePoint Financial Broker Accused of Selling Away

Grant Christopher Birkley, an ex-SagePoint Financial stockbroker, is named in two pending customer disputes. He is accused of selling investment products that were not approved by his firm. 

SagePoint Financial fired him last August after he admitted to making referrals to an external manager without the broker-dealer’s approval. In June, FINRA barred Birkley indefinitely after he declined to provide documents and information related to the self-regulatory authority’s probe into his termination by SagePoint. 

FINRA Suspended Ex-Iowa Stockbroker in 2018 For Selling Away

John Michael Krohn, a former Iowa broker with Principal Securities, is named in three customer disputes in which the claimants are collectively pursuing over $39.2M in damages for losses they sustained while working with him. 

The investors contend that Krohn engaged in selling away, which involves offering them investments that his then-brokerage firm of record never approved. They are pursuing damages against Principal Securities, where Krohn was a registered representative for 20 years.

Former Canonsburg, Pennsylvania Stockbroker Faces Selling Away Allegations

Three years after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred him, Jonathan Douglas Freeze remains the subject of eight pending customer disputes. Most of these investor claims accuse him of selling away and investing customers’ funds in Alternative Investment Holdings, a North Carolina real estate and investment holdings company, without Fortune Financial Services’ authorization.  

Freeze worked 21 years in the industry. He also previously was a broker for Summit Brokerage Services, LPL Financial (LPLA), Lincoln Financial Advisors, and The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

Alabama Retiree Lost Retirement Savings To Broker Fraud and Negligence

An investor in Alabama has filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration complaint against Kestra Investment Services, Inc. for retirement losses that she suffered while working with the now-former broker, James Daughtry. 

The firm fired Daughtry earlier this year around the same time that FINRA barred him indefinitely after he refused to testify in the self-regulatory (SRO)’s probe into allegations that he engaged in potentially fraudulent and unauthorized transactions in customers’ accounts. 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred another former Morgan Stanley (MS) broker. John Halsey Buck III consented to the industry bar after he did not provide the information and documents that the self-regulatory organization asked for related to its probe into his alleged involvement in unapproved private securities sales. Buck, who has over 50 years experience in the industry, was let go by the brokerage firm earlier this year.

Morgan Stanley reportedly fired him in the wake of disclosure-related issues, including those involving private investments that did not involve the broker-dealer. According to InvestmentNews, the allegations against Buck have to do with “selling away.” This is a practice that happens when a stockbroker, financial adviser, or a registered representative solicits the sale of or sells securities that his or her brokerage firm does not offer or hold. Broker-dealers usually have a list of approved products that its brokers are allowed to sell to firm clients.

Buck had been with the industry since 1965. Previous to working with Morgan Stanley, he was a registered broker with UBS Financial Services (UBS), Wachovia Securities, Prudential Securities Incorporated, Loeb Partners, and Hornblower, Weeks, Noyes & Trask.

FINRA Suspends Broker For Accepting $105K in Gifts

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has suspended a former Merrill Lynch broker, Adam C. Smith, from the securities industry for a year. The former Merrill Lynch broker, who was fired from the firm, will pay a $10K fine.

According to the self-regulatory organization, while at Merrill Lynch, Smith and his wife accepted $26K in checks from a couple whom he represented. The money was to help fund the education of Smith’s children. When one of the clients passed away, the remaining spouse gifted Smith and his wife another $53K, again to pay for their kids’ education. Smith received $26K from other clients.

Although he is settling, the ex-Merrill Lynch broker is not denying or admitting to FINRA’s findings.

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Michael Donnelly, formerly the president of Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. and its brokerage firm, has been sentenced to 99-months behind bars. Donnelly pleaded guilty to securities fraud and wire fraud that involved stealing money from older investors and unsophisticated investors.

From ’07 through the middle of ’14, Donnelly, a Florida broker, bilked clients and used the funds for his own expenses, including rent, private school tuition for his kids, golf club memberships, and car payments.

He gave investors bogus trade confirmations and account statements to keep the fraud going and claimed that their investments were doing well. In addition to his time in prison, Donnelly is permanently barred from the industry, has to pay $1.99M in restitution, and will serve three years of supervised release. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against Donnelly.

In other senior fraud news, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that since launching its Securities Helpline for Seniors last year, customers have received back over $1.25m because of calls about possible elder fraud. Already, the hotline has answered 4,000 phone calls from people of all ages.

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Citigroup Inc. (C) now has to pay Dr. Nasirdin Madhany and Zeenat Madhany $3.1 million over claims that the financial firm failed to properly supervise a broker, which caused the couple to sustain over $1 million losses. The broker is accused of directing them to invest in real estate developments that later went sour.

In 2010, the couple filed a FINRA arbitration case alleging fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoings related to over $1 million in real estate investments they made between ’04-and ’07. The Madhanys, who are senior investors, were customers of then-Citigroup worker Scott Andrew King, who referred them to politician Lawton “Bud” Chiles III. The latter was looking for investors for a number of real estate projects. King, who allegedly had a conflict of interest (that he did not disclose) from buying two condominiums from Chiles at a discount, is said to have connected the couple and the politician without Citigroup’s knowledge.

The Madhanys invested in two real estate projects, which began to have problems in 2007 when the US housing market failed and that is when the couple lost their money. Also, they, along with other investors, had signed personal loan guarantee related to a $12 million loan on one of the projects. When the loan defaulted in 2009, Wachovia sued all of them. Last year, a court submitted a $10 million judgment against the investors, with each person possibly liable for the whole amount.

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has ordered Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. to pay $4.43 million in damages and interest to about 22 investors that had accused brokerage manager Scott B. Gordon of “selling away.” The panel wrote in its decision that the brokerage firm was “negligent” in failing to prevent Gordon from using an outside business to raise money from investors. The alleged misconduct took place for almost a year.

“Selling away” involves a broker soliciting clients to purchase securities not offered by his/her broker-dealer and without the brokerage firm’s approval. Regulators consider “selling away” to be a violation of securities laws.

Gordon became software-development company Healthright Inc.’s chief executive in 2005 and ran the company from his Lincoln Financial office. Two Healthright investors sent a written complaint to Lincoln the following year.

A request by Gordon to the brokerage firm that he be able to conduct outside business activity was not approved or denied. In 2006, Grant Gifford, who is a Healthright investor and a claimant in the securities fraud case, discovered alleged misstatements and omissions that Gordon had made. In 2008, FINRA barred Gordon from the securities industry.

Except for Gifford, who lent money to Healthright in his personal capacity, all the other investors in the securities case against Lincoln were part of Healthright Partners, LP.

Related Web Resources:
Finra Panel Orders Lincoln to Pay $4.3 Million to Investors, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2010
Lincoln Financial hit with hefty arbitration award over selling away, Investment News, October 5, 2010
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