Articles Posted in AWCs

Christopher Wurtzinger (CRD #: 1921024), a broker registered with American Trust Investment Services and an investment adviser registered with Sorsby Financial Corporation, was recently suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Christopher Wurtzinger is also the subject of a client dispute regarding account churning, unauthorized trading, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty, according to his BrokerCheck record, accessed August 19, 2020. Do you have questions about Christopher Wurtzinger’s conduct as a broker? Keep reading to learn more.

On June 18, 2020, Christopher Wurtzinger entered into an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent agreement with FINRA wherein he consented to the findings that he failed to conduct a reasonable analysis into whether he engaged in an outside business activity, or whether it should be treated as an outside securities activity. Christopher Wurtzinger consented to a suspension of four weeks, beginning on July 20, 2020, and ending on August 16, 2020. Christopher Wurtzinger has submitted a sworn financial statement and demonstrated an inability to pay, and in light of his financial status, FINRA has not imposed a monetary sanction. A copy of Christopher Wurtzinger’s AWC can be viewed here.

On August 23, 2017, a client alleged that Christopher Wurtzinger had engaged in churning, unauthorized trading, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty. The client is seeking $5,001 in damages; the dispute is pending.

Sylvester Knox (CRD #: 1625705), an investment advisor registered with The Knox Group Wealth Management, and a broker formerly registered with FSC Securities Corporation, was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), according to his Investment Adviser Public Disclosure, accessed August 19, 2020. This was the latest on a substantial list of regulatory actions and customer disputes involving Sylvester Knox.

On August 6, 2020, Sylvester Knox entered into an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent agreement with FINRA in which he consented to the findings that he effected transactions with a total principal value of approximately $1.7 million in the accounts of customers of his member firm without the customers’ authorization or consent.

  • The findings further state that Sylvester Knox exercised discretionary trading authority and effected transactions with a total principal value of approximately $2 million in the accounts of customers without having obtained prior written authorization from the customers or approval from the firm to treat the accounts as discretionary.

Joseph Pratt (CRD#: 719416), formerly a registered representative with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (CRD#: 793), has been barred by FINRA for alleged insider trading, according to his BrokerCheck report accessed on October 23, 2019.

On September 5, 2019, Joseph Pratt entered into an AWC in which he consented to the findings that he “obtained confidential information that he received from insiders at a public biopharmaceutical company, and misused the confidential information by communicating it to several of his member firm’s customers.” An AWC is a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent in which a broker accepts the allegations against them without admitting or denying them, and in which a broker waives their right to appeal the decision. For more information about AWCs, please see our article “What is FINRA AWC?”

Joseph Pratt also “sold away” from his member firm by selling private securities, convincing individuals (including his firm’s customers) to invest a total of $436,000. This is a violation of FINRA Rule 2010. He consented to a bar from the securities industry. On September 24, 2019, FINRA accepted the AWC.

September

Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on September 20, 2018 list more than one dozen brokers and/or investment advisers as subject to FINRA suspension in that month. Below are the representatives included on that list, who have signed letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to these enforcement actions without admitting to or denying the allegations contained in FINRA’s sanctions. Certain suspensions listed below may have been lifted prior to or following the publication of this report. Additionally, the fines listed may not encompass the total financial penalties assessed on the representatives sanctioned, who may also have been ordered to pay disgorgement or other payments. More information about these actions is available on FINRA’s disciplinary action homepage.

Name Current/Former Employers Fine Paid Length
Jeffrey Robert Conklin The Huntington Investment Company $5,000 6 months
Junying Yan Deutsche Bank Securities $5,000 15 days
Daniel P. Capeless FBR Capital Markets $5,000 6 months
Steven William Kraut Independent Financial Group $5,000 2 months
Matthew Alan Morris SunTrust Investment Services $5,000 3 months
Damani A. Barham Morgan Stanley $5,000 3 months
Daniel B. Irving Vestech Securities $5,000 1 month
Christopher Matthew Parr KCD Financial n/a 2 years
Marvin Joseph Sneider Cantella & Company $2,500 45 days
Francisco Jose Faraco Morgan Stanley $5,000 3 months
Robert Rushby Humberston Ameriprise Financial Services $5,000 3 months
Kenny Danny Mezher Growth Capital Services $5,000 2 months
Frederick Michael Miller InvestShares $5,000 5 months
Jon Lewis Sugick NYLife Securities $5,000 2 months
Cheryl A. George RBC Capital Markets $5,000 20 days
Eric Steven Korhut Vanderbilt Securities $5,000 1 month

FINRA Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on September 20, 2018 indicated that more than one dozen brokers and/or investment advisers were reported as barred from association with broker-dealer firms in that month. The representatives, or former representatives enumerated below have signed Letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to FINRA’s enforcement actions without admitting to or denying the underlying allegations of misconduct. Additional information concerning these enforcement actions is available at FINRA’s disciplinary actions homepage.

 

Name Current/Former Employers
Abraham Biderman Palladium Capital Advisors
Bradley Joseph Tennison Geneos Wealth Management
Robert Joseph Flanagan Pruco Securities
Mitchell Toby Yanow Stifel Nicolaus & Company
Paul Edward Soll Western International Securities
Steven F. Coffey American Portfolios Financial Services
Michael James Gilhooly RJJ Pasadena Securities
Clarence L. McGill GWN Securities
Charles Lewis Bloom Chelsea Financial Services
Michael Quiles III LPL Financial
Sebastian Jimenez HSBC Securities
Steven Alan Horwitz Westminster Financial Services
Melanie Ann Melton AllState Financial Services
Shakela Carter Merrill Lynch

July Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on August 6, 2018 indicate that FINRA reported over 20 brokers and/or investment advisers in that month as suspended from association with member firms. The individuals enumerated below have signed letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to these actions; they have not admitted to or denied the alleged underlying conduct. Some of these suspensions may have been lifted before or after the publication of FINRA’s report. Additionally, the fines listed may not represent the total financial penalties levied on the representatives, who may also have been ordered to pay disgorgement or other penalties to affected investors. For more information on these actions, visit FINRA’s disciplinary action homepage.

Name Current/Former Employers Fine Paid Length
Nicholas John Hoetmer Ameriprise Financial Services $7,500 9 months
James Otis Conaway USA Financial Securities Corporation $10,000 9 months
Lorraine Annette Conaway USA Financial Securities Corporation $10,000 9 months
Joshua Thomas Crossman Merrill Lynch $10,000 6 months
Michael Terry Swingle JW Cole Financial $5,000 18 months
Fatou Camara PFS Investments $5,000 3 months
Philip Orezio Fatta Spartan Capital Securities $5,000 4 months
Nas Adel Allan Merrill Lynch $2,500 1 month
Robert N. Newman Morgan Stanley $5,000 10 days
Gregory J. Anastos Windsor Street Capital n/a 4 months
Kelly Marvin Barnett FSC Securities Corporation $15,000 6 months
Andrew Lee Denney LPL Financial Network $5,000 12 months
Francisco Jose Ortiz Brickell Global Markets $5,000 1 month
Joshua David Stamm Merrill Lynch $5,000 6 months
Zachary Stuart Brodt First Financial Equity Corporation $10,000 3 months
Fuad Saad Habba Morgan Stanley $5,000 3 months
Peter David Holler Securities Service Network $10,000 2 years
Lawrence Eugene Murphy International Assets Advisory $7,500 20 days
Gerard Chandler Gremillion ProFinancial $20,000 2 years
Brian John Hussey Jr. Ameriprise Financial Services n/a 7 months
Louis Anthony Telerico Westminster Financial Services n/a 6 months
John Michael Krohn Principal Securities $10,000 3 months
Morey Herbert Goldberg M Holdings Securities $10,000 45 days
Kenneth K. Jobson Morgan Stanley $5,000 3 months
Carlos Velazquez Waddell & Reed $10,000 8 months

 

July

Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and accessed on August 6, 2018 indicate that FINRA reported more than twenty brokers and/or investment advisers in that month as barred from association with FINRA member firms. The individuals enumerated below have signed Letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to these sanctions without admitting to or denying the alleged underlying conduct. For more information about these sanctions, visit FINRA’s disciplinary actions homepage.

 

 

Name Current/Former Employers
Joseph Glenn Pratt Signator Investors
Brian Joseph Panfil Paulson Investment Company
Vaughn Lee Andrews-McKay Pruco Securities
Stacy Elizabeth Cheney-Jamison Cuna Brokerage Services
Brian Keith Decker Worden Capital Management
James Edward Knee Voya Financial Advisors
Amy Elizabeth Pesina JP Morgan Securities
Brandon Carl Rudolph Wealthforge Securities
Norman R. Sicard Jr. Broker Dealer Financial Services
Emil John Skyba Westport Capital Markets
Ahmed Abdelmawla Gadelkareem Newport Coast Securities
Jonathan George Sweeney Navy Federal Brokerage Services
Harold Francis Couglar Montage Securities
Douglas Anthony Leone Salomon Whitney Financial
James Larkin Powers Celadon Financial Group
Meaghan Marie Johnson Northwestern Mutual Investment Services
Leona Lynn Parsons JP Morgan Securities
Herbert Voss Jr. Stockcross Financial Services
Sanjeev Sreetharan Deutsche Bank Securities
Anthony Bernard Didonato III Pruco Securities
Maria Nancy Tamburro Ameriprise Financial Services

Fifth Third Securities

Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 10, 2018 indicate that Ohio-based brokerage and advisory firm Fifth Third Securities was recently sanctioned by FINRA in connection to alleged rule violations. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Fifth Third Securities (CRD# 628).

Founded in Ohio in 1925, Fifth Third Securities is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and registered wth 52 US states and territories. According to the firm’s BrokerCheck report, it has received 36 regulatory sanctions and 19 customer complaints that evolved into arbitration.

In May 2018 FINRA sanctioned Fifth Third Securities in connection to allegations it failed to “appropriately consider and accurately describe the costs and benefits of variable annuity (VA) exchanges,” as well as for recommending variable annuity exchanges in the absence of a reasonable basis to believe such transactions were suitable for the customers in question. Fifth Third Securities failed to ensure that its representatives obtained and evaluated “accurate information” regarding the exchanges that it recommended to its customers, according to FINRA. The firm also allegedly did not adequately train its representatives and principals in proper methods for conducting a “comparative analysis of the material features” of variable annuity products. As a result, according to FINRA, Fifth Third Securities ultimately made inaccurate statements regarding the transactions’ costs and benefits, presenting them as better for the customer than they actually were.

Cambridge Investment ResearchPublic records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 10, 2018 indicate that Iowa-based brokerage firm Cambridge Investment Research was recently sanctioned by FINRA in connection to alleged rule violations. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Cambridge Investment Research (CRD# 39543).

Founded in 1995, Cambridge Investment Research is headquartered in Fairfield, Iowa and registered with 52 US states and territories. According to the firm’s BrokerCheck report, it has received nine regulatory sanctions and two customer complaints that evolved into arbitration.

In May 2018 FINRA sanctioned the firm following allegations it failed to establish, maintain and enforce an adequately designed supervisory system in connection to redemptions of variable annuity and non-traditional exchange-traded fund products. FINRA found that in about 100 instances, firm clients redeemed variable annuity products and transferred the funds to an advisory account, and that firm personnel were involved in and additionally recommended some of these transactions despite the lack of systematic supervision or written procedures governing them. FINRA found as well that the firm did not determine which transactions were recommended by the personnel and were consequently subject to FINRA suitability rules. According to FINRA, 84 firm representatives participated in the trading of non-traditional ETF products in retail customer accounts, executing 4,773 transactions for a total of about $127 million, though the firm failed to enforce its written supervisory procedures regarding non-traditional ETF trades. For instance, per FINRA, the firm permitted representatives to execute the trades before the signed a form attesting they completed a 45 minute training session, as required by the WSPs; additionally, the firm allegedly permitted “many customers” to buy non-traditional ETFs before they had submitted a disclosure form that was required by firm rules.

February

More than two dozen brokers and/or investment advisers were reported as suspended from association Financial Industry Regulatory Authority member firms in February 2018, according to FINRA’s list of disciplinary actions issued last month. The below individuals have signed letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC Letters) agreeing to FINRA’s suspensions; they have not admitted to or denied the alleged conduct. Suspensions may apply to association in a principal capacity or all capacities. Some of these sanctions may have been lifted before or since FINRA’s report was released last month. Furthermore, the fines listed below may not account for the full sums paid by the sanctioned representatives; some may have been ordered to pay restitution and/or disgorgement in addition to fines. Visit FINRA’s disciplinary action records for more information.

Name Current/Former Employers Length of Suspension Fines paid
Joseph Abbate Wells Fargo Clearing Services 20 days $5,000
Nolan Dudley Baird Jr. Stifel Nicolaus & Company 15 days $7,500
Peter Louis Pavlina Hamersley Partners 2 months $10,000
Brenton Louis Bataille Spencer Edwards 10 days $5,000
Benjamin James Herauf Edward Jones 6 months $5,000
Joseph Daniel Krueger II Robert W. Baird & Company 3 months $5,000
Joseph Alan Lavigne Spencer Edwards 30 days (all capacities) 20 days (principal capacity) $14,500
Steven Chin Quoy Spencer Edwards 10 days $7,500
Richard Albert Seefried Spencer Edwards 30 days $10,000
Eli Lazarowitz BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage 45 days $5,000
Michael Nicholas Guilfoyle Four Points Capital Partners 10 months $10,000
Jess Elliott Roberts Foresters Financial Sevices 3 months $10,000
Kenneth S. Alter Stifel Nicolaus & Company 10 days $5,000
Steven Arthur Bumbera Kovack Securities 45 days $4,000
Wayne Ivan Miiller Aeon Capital 6 months (principal capacity) $10,000
Janet Lynn Ross Accelerated Capital Group 2 years (principal capacity) $10,000
Ashley Elmo Arnsdorff BB&T Investment Services 10 days $5,000
Carol Lipner Cirrus Research 45 days $17,500
Walter Sanfrid Olsson Raymond James Financial Services 4 months $5,000
Gary Bruce Weiss Salomon Whitney Financial 30 days (principal capacity) $5,000
Lawrence John Fawcett Jr. Westpark Capital 15 days $2,500
Gary Raymond Gray Wells Fargo Clearing Services 3 months $10,000
Nicholas Victor Kayal ADP Broker-Dealer 20 days $5,000
Shannon Lynn Lewis State Farm VP Management Corporation 6 months $7,500
Roseann Palermo Chelsea Financial Services 1 month $5,000
Mircea Cristian Sauciuc Morgan Stanley 60 days $10,000
Craig Alan Sutherland Money Concepts Capital Corporation 15 days $5,000
John William Bernard Independent Financial Group 20 dyas $5,000
Jon William Stagnone Fidelity Brokerage Services 2 months $5,000

 

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