Dawn J. Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Charged by SEC

On September 9, 2015 the Securities and Exchange announced administrative and cease and desist proceedings against Dawn J. Bennett a former registered representative with Western International Securities in Washington, D.C.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that from 2009 through February 2011, Bennett Group Financial and Bennett, made material misstatements and omissions regarding assets that were purportedly “managed” for investors and regarding investment returns for the purpose of retaining existing customers and attracting new customers. Then, during the investigation of this matter, Bennett and Bennett Group made additional misstatements in an effort to obstruct the investigation and to “cover up” their alleged prior fraud.

The SEC claims that Bennett and Bennett Group grossly overstated the amount of assets they managed in a calculated effort to inflate their profile and prestige. They made the false and fraudulent claims to a national financial advisor ranking service knowing that the ranking service would publish the misstatements. They also made the misstatements on a Washington, D.C.–area radio program hosted by Bennett, and in a variety of other advertisements and communications with existing and prospective customers and clients. The purpose of these overstatements was to create the impression that Bennett and Bennett Group were larger and more successful players in the industry than they were.

Dawn J. Bennett’s registration and disciplinary history

In order to lawfully sell investments to the public, one must either be registered or exempt from registration.

Dawn J. Bennett was registered with:

10/2009 – 12/2015
WESTERN INTERNATIONAL SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 39262) – WASHINGTON DC, DC
02/2006 – 10/2009
ROYAL ALLIANCE ASSOCIATES, INC. (CRD# 23131) – WASHINGTON, DC
02/2006 – 02/2006
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC. (CRD# 7059) – NEW YORK, NY
08/1996 – 02/2006
LEGG MASON WOOD WALKER, INCORPORATED (CRD# 6555) – BALTIMORE, MD
03/1987 – 08/1996
WHEAT, FIRST SECURITIES, INC. (CRD# 6124) – CHARLOTTE, NC

According to FINRA’s CRD disclosure report, Dawn J. Bennett has been the subject of six customer complaints and one regulatory investigation.

The Law Office of David Liebrader practices exclusively in the field of investment loss recovery. For the past 23 years, we have dedicated our law practice to assisting investors who have been victims of investment fraud via fraudulent and unsuitable investment transactions. During that time we have recovered money for over one thousand individuals, pension plans, trusts and companies. The recoveries we have obtained via judgments, awards and settlements on behalf of our clients exceed $40,000,000.

When investors contact our firm they can expect prompt attention, and a detailed analysis of their issues. Typical claims that we are asked to review involve “unsuitability (where a financial advisor makes investment recommendations that are inconsistent with a customer’s investment objectives), claims for “churning” (where a broker enters into an excessive number of trades for the purpose of generating commissions), claims involving illiquid investments such as private placements (I.e., real estate investment trusts, limited partnerships, equipment leasing and oil and gas drilling programs) as well as claims for violations of state securities laws, which often provide investors remedies like attorney’s fees and interest, if they are successful on the claim.

Since a Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s, most investment related disputes between brokerage firms and their customers have been filed in an arbitration forum hosted by FINRA Dispute Resolution. FINRA, along with the SEC, serves as a securities industry “watchdog” and regulator. Most brokerage firms require their clients to sign binding arbitration agreements, mandating that any disputes between them be arbitrated at FINRA.

Investors pursuing claims at FINRA typically advance claims related to suitability. FINRA rules require that all registered representatives make suitable investment recommendations to their clients. Other claims are based on negligence or breach of fiduciary duty, while another category includes claims based on misrepresentations and fraud. Most claims filed with FINRA are resolved within 15 months, and oftentimes, the cases are resolved via settlement or mediation in under a year.

FINRA’s rules require that all investment recommendations made by licensed financial advisors be suitable in light of a customer’s needs, objectives and risk tolerance. In addition, all registered representatives are required to be properly supervised, with periodic inspections and reviews by qualified supervisors, whose job it is to vigorously investigate suspicions of wrongdoing (red flags).

If you suspect that you have been the victim of investment fraud, or had a financial advisor recommend unsuitable investments to you, call us today for a free, confidential consultation at (702) 380-3131.