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FINRA Bars Additional Bad Brokers from Big Firms

Former Securities America Broker Is Accused of Unsuitable and Unauthorized Trades

Michael Bastardi, an ex-Securities America broker, is barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he failed to give the regulator the information it requested for an investigation into his alleged conduct. Bastardi was a registered representative with Securities America from 2014 to 2016.

In 2018, the brokerage firm submitted a Form U5 that disclosed that Bastardi had been named in a customer complaint accusing him of unauthorized trading, unsuitable margin trading, forgery, and fraud while at Securities America and previous to that when he was a registered Dalton Strategic Investment Services broker. His alleged misconduct is said to have resulted in about $250K in damages. The investor fraud claim is still pending.

An earlier customer dispute, brought in 2015, accused Bastardi of unsuitability and churning and was settled for $45K. During the six years that Bastardi was a registered broker, he worked with three other brokerage firms, including National Securities Corporation, Chelsea Financial Services, and Cape Securities, Inc.

Earlier this year, a family filed an $18M broker fraud case against Securities America over the actions of a different former broker.

Ex-Commonwealth Broker Allegedly Borrowed Customer Funds

In a different and unrelated FINRA case, the self-regulatory authority (SRO) barred former Commonwealth Financial Network broker Benjamin Bourgeois Jr., also for not providing the information requested by the regulator for its probe into misconduct allegations.

Commonwealth fired Bourgeois last month after he allegedly borrowed funds from a customer and violated FINRA rules as a result. The brokerage firm submitted an amended Form U5 a few days later in which it noted that there is a civil case accusing Bourgeois of fraud. The customer is seeking $519,5000 in damages.

According to the former Commonwealth registered representative’s BrokerCheck record, Bourgeois worked 27 years in the securities industry. Prior to Commonwealth, he was a registered broker with LPL Financial (LPLA), FBT Investments, Sisung Securities, Investment Financial Corp., American Frontier Financial Corp., Dickinson and Company, and FN Wolf & Company. A 2002 customer complaint accused Bourgeois, at the time an FBT Investments broker, of making an unsuitable variable annuity (VA) recommendation and neglecting to disclose the risks involved.

Former Cambridge Broker Allegedly Misused Client Monies

Anselmo Contreras Jr., an ex-Cambridge Investment Research broker, is also barred by FINRA after he was accused of using customer funds without their consent, including borrowing from one customer. According to the SRO, in 2016, Contreras persuaded a customer to give him $10K for a real estate venture and then depositing the funds into his own account. The broker-dealer allowed him to resign last year.

Previous to working with Cambridge, Contreras was also a former Commonwealth Financial broker and prior to that an LPL Financial broker. After stepping down at Cambridge, he became a registered IFS Securities broker. Contreras worked as a registered broker for almost two decades.

Broker Fraud Lawyers

If you were an investor who worked with Benjamin Bourgeois, Michael Bastardi, Anselmo Contreras, or another Commonwealth broker, Securities America broker, or Cambridge rep., and you suspect that your losses may be due to fraud or negligence, contact our broker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP today. Our investor law firm is dedicated to helping investors in recouping their losses. A broker negligence or fraud case is not the type of claim you want to take on without experienced legal representation.

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