Super Lawyers
AVVO
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell
BBB Accredited Business

Ricardo Urrutia (CRD#: 5719923), a former broker with Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc. (CRD#: 611) in Paramus, New Jersey,  has been suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he failed to comply with an arbitration award, according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on April 21, 2020. 

Ricardo Urrutia
On March 31, 2020, FINRA suspended Ricardo Urrutia after he failed to comply with an arbitration award and did not satisfactorily respond to FINRA’s request for information after the self-regulatory organization looked into his compliance. Ricardo Urrutia lost an arbitration with AXA Advisors LLC and AXA Network LLC, his former employers. In the Statement of Claim, AXA Advisors and AXA Network alleged that Ricardo Urrutia breached his promissory note agreement with the firm. The firms are also seeking the return of unearned commissions from Ricardo Urrutia. The arbitration award mandated that Ricardo Urrutia pay the firms $56,746.34 plus interest and attorneys’ fees. A copy of the arbitration award can be viewed here. Ricardo Urrutia’s suspension will begin on March 31, 2020 and continue indefinitely until he pays the arbitration award.

Ricardo Urrutia has passed the Series 65 – Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, the SIE – Securities Industry Essentials Examination, the Series 7 – General Securities Representative Examination, and the Series 6 – Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination. 

Alex James (CRD#: 5630825), a former registered representative with Allstate Financial Services LLC (CRD#: 18272) in West Palm Beach, Florida, is currently being investigated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for potentially undisclosed outside business activities, according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on March 16, 2020. 

Alex James
What happened to lead to this FINRA investigation? On March 6, 2020, FINRA recommended that disciplinary action be brought against Alex James for violating FINRA Rule 3270 and FINRA Rule 2010. FINRA Rule 3270 mandates that brokers receive written approval from their member firms before engaging in any outside business activities. FINRA alleges that Alex James did not do that, instead engaging in private securities activities totaling approximately $667,000. FINRA Rule 2010 mandates that brokers act in a professional manner, and FINRA alleges that Alex James violated Rule 2010 by allegedly providing false information to his firm on annual compliance questionnaires, stating that he reported all outside business activities when that was allegedly not true. 

The Detailed Report of Alex James’s BrokerCheck record lists four outside business activities:

Joe Henehan (CRD#: 1344245), a former broker with Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC (CRD#: 4031) in San Bernardino, California, has been permitted to resign from the firm after the company informed him he would be terminated, according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on March 10, 2020.

iStock-506822830-300x200
What happened to lead to Joe Henehan’s resignation? His firm found that he failed to inform the firm of his tax liens, thereby violating firm policy and securities regulations. The firm told Joe Henehan that he would be terminated, so he resigned.

Indeed, Joe Henehan’s BrokerCheck record lists 11 tax liens, starting in 2009, when he became subject to a tax lien of $29,573. Here are his other listed liens:

Paris Lewis (CRD#: 2335964) has been terminated from his role as a broker with NYLife Securities LLC, according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on March 3, 2020.

What happened to lead to Paris Lewis’s termination? On December 22, 2019, NYLife Securities terminated Paris Lewis after the firm found that he violated company policy by borrowing money from a customer. How did the brokerage firm become aware of Paris Lewis’s alleged misconduct? The firm received a verbal customer complaint.

This is not the first time that Paris Lewis has been discharged from a firm. On February 26, 2015, MetLife discharged Paris Lewis after the firm found that he did not follow firm policy regarding outside business activities. Per FINRA rules, brokers must receive written approval from their firms before engaging in outside business activities, including private securities transactions.

Andy Grant (CRD#: 2709882), a registered representative with Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. in Melville, NY (CRD#: 119037), has been suspended from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on February 21, 2020.

What happened to lead to Andy Grant’s suspension from the securities industry? On January 17, 2020, Andy Grant entered into an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent agreement with FINRA in which he consented to the entry of findings that he made discretionary trades in customer accounts without customer authorization. Andy Grant also consented to FINRA’s sanction: a 15-day suspension. The suspension will last from February 18, 2020 to March 9, 2020. FINRA also fined Andy Grant $5,000. A copy of Andy Grant’s AWC can be viewed here.

What does it mean to exercise discretion without authorization? Unauthorized trading happens when a broker trades within a non-discretionary account without letting their client know. Did your broker inform you before every trade they made in your portfolio? Did you recognize every trade listed on the monthly or quarterly statements your brokerage firm sent to you? If not, your broker may have exercised discretion without the proper approval, which is a violation of FINRA Rule 2010.

Johnny Guan (CRD#: 5711977), a registered representative with Aegis Capital Corp. (CRD#: 15007) in Red Bank, New Jersey, is currently involved in a pending customer dispute in which a client alleges that he recommended unsuitable investments, overconcentrated their portfolio, made unauthorized transactions, and breached his fiduciary duty (putting his interests ahead of the client’s), according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on February 4, 2020.

Johnny Guan
This is not the only disclosure on Johnny Guan’s BrokerCheck record. On April 15, 2016, he became involved in a customer dispute in which a customer alleged that the broker recommended unsuitable investments, misrepresented investments, and engaged in negligence. The client originally requested $40,000 in damages; the dispute settled for $7,200.

Over his 10-year career in the securities industry, Johnny Guan has worked for three brokerage firms. In addition to his current role at Aegis Capital Corp., he has also worked for National Securities Corporation (CRD#: 7569) and Newbridge Securities Corporation (CRD#: 104065).

Jerry Wells (CRD#: 1015358), a registered representative with Sagepoint Financial, Inc. (CRD#: 133763) in Rochester, New York, has been suspended from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on January 22, 2020.

Jerry Wells
On December 4, 2019, Jerry Wells entered into an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, consenting to FINRA’s findings that he “falsely represented that variable annuities purchases were not variable annuities replacements.” FINRA found that he submitted variable annuity applications that falsely stated that the recommended variable annuities would not alter or replace any existing variable annuities. However, Wells knew that proceeds from other variable annuities were funding the recommended variable annuities. He also caused his firm to maintain inaccurate books and records by failing to complete the proper replacement forms. As a result, FINRA suspended Jerry Wells from the securities industry from January 6, 2020 to March 5, 2020. A copy of Jerry Wells’s AWC can be viewed here.

This is not the first time Jerry Wells has come under fire for potential misconduct related to variable annuities. On April 7, 2008, a client filed a customer complaint against Jerry Wells, alleging that a variable annuity she purchased in December 2007 was not suitable because of a seven-year surrender charge. The matter was settled for $7,860.62.

Bart BohrerBart Bohrer (CRD#: 4315654), a registered representative with Calton & Associates, Inc. (CRD#: 20999) in Tampa, Florida, is currently involved in three pending customer disputes totalling over $900,000, according to his BrokerCheck record accessed on January 17, 2020.

On March 4, 2019, a client alleged that Bart Bohrer violated the Minnesota Securities Act and violated federal securities laws. The client is seeking $445,000 and the dispute is pending.

On November 28, 2019, a client alleged that Bart Bohrer violated federal securities laws, breached his contract, and breached his fiduciary duty. The client is requesting $5,000 in damages and the matter is pending.

Moe Azizi (CRD#: 2154719), a broker with Centaurus Financial, is currently involved in a customer dispute over unsuitable investments, according to his BrokerCheck report accessed on October 24, 2019. If your broker recommended securities that were not suitable given your investment goals, you may have a suitability claim and might benefit from seeking the counsel of the securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta.

Moe Azizi
On September 20, 2019, clients alleged that Moe Azizi “facilitated unsuitable, high-risk and illiquid investments.” Illiquid investments cannot be sold and are unsuitable for investors who would like easy access to cash. Unscrupulous brokers, however, may convince investors to invest in illiquid investments because of the high commissions they generate for themselves. On October 15, 2018, a customer alleged that their financial advisor, Moe Azizi, “recommended unsuitable investments.”

Moe Azizi is no stranger to the securities industry. Over his 28-year career in the securities industry, Moe Azizi has worked for six broker-dealers. In addition to his current position with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (CRD#: 30833) in San Jose, California, he has worked for five other broker-dealers:

Contact Information