Articles Posted in Disciplinary Actions

Jon VanSlooten, a registered representative from Toledo, Ohio, formerly with Edward Jones, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his discretionary trading without the consent of his customers or firm. VanSlooten entered into an acceptance, waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of three months and a fine of $7,500.

In June 2017, Jon VanSlooten agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he participated in discretionary trading without telling his customers. Discretionary trading occurs when a broker is permitted to sell securities and investments on his or her own with the agreement of the client. The broker is essentially given control and discretion over when, where and in what amounts the transactiosn will be made.

VanSlooten made nearly 600 trades for four of his customers without gaining their consent or telling his firm. Edward Jones’ Written Supervisory Procedures do not allow discretionary trading and because of this, he was fined and suspended by FINRA.

John Piccarreto, a registered representative from San Antonio, Texas, formerly with First American Securities, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his private business transactions and dealings with another company other than his firm, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Piccarreto entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of 24 months and a fine of $15,000. He also must reregister as a representative after passing the required examination.

In June 2017, John Piccarreto agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he took part in multiple private securities dealings in which he offered investments to some of his clients without reporting the transactions to his firm. He received $500 per week from a different company for his private work with investments.

FINRA also discovered that he was not candid on the record during an investigation into his work on the private offerings. He said that he did not have any knowledge of any type of outside dealings, and knew nothing about the offerings.  This was later found to be untrue, as he was closely involved with multiple private transactions.

Jeffrey Noard, a registered representative from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, formerly with Allied Beacon Partners, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into unsuitable recommendations made to an elderly client who purchased debentures. Noard entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a fine of $2,500 and a suspension of ten business days.

In June 2017, Jeffrey Noard agreed to the suspension, and FINRA published its findings that Noard violated FINRA’s suitability rules which state that a broker must have a reasonable basis and belief that their customer is able to bare the risk of loss, and that the investment is otherwise appropriate given the investor’s age, net worth, income and investment objectives. FINRA found that Noard did not abide by the suitability rule, and recommended an unsafe and unsuitable renewable secured debenture. Noard claimed the debentures were safe and liquid, when in fact the opposite was true. The investor did not receive any of their primary capital before the debentures matured, and it was nearly impossible to resell them on the market.

FINRA found that Noard did not let his customer know the risks associated with this purchase, and did not assess the customer’s financial stability correctly in order to establish that this was a suitable investment for her.

Christopher Hickman, a registered representative from Boynton Beach, Florida, formerly with Cetera Advisors, was fined and suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his Unit Investment Trust (UIT) trading for multiple clients, conduct deemed a violation of FINRA rules. Hickman entered into an acceptance, waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of five months and a fine of $5,000.

In June 2017, Christopher Hickman agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that Hickman encouraged six customers to buy UITs, and then traded them carelessly within a short period of time.

The UITs that Hickman dealt with had 24 month maturities, but Hickman traded them in less than 5 months. He told his customers to use the profits from these trades to buy additional, smaller UITs for him to manage. Overall, Hickman’s clients lost over $100,000 and the AWC disclosed that he entered into a settlement agreement with them in order to pay back their losses plus interest.

Christopher Hawn, a registered representative from Furlong, Pennsylvania, formerly with Alps Distributors, was fined and suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into allegations that he participated in private securities transactions without obtaining firm approval. Doing so is a violation of FINRA rules. As a result of the investigation Christopher Hawn entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of six months and a fine of $10,000.

In June 2017, Christopher Hawn agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that Hawn failed to inform his broker dealer about his private securities transaction dealings.  Hawn had provided an investment opportunity to his uncle and one of his friends, and they invested approximately $100,000 in the transactions.  FINRA found that Hawn gave out investment information and advertising materials on the deal that had not been approved by FINRA.  These materials failed to disclose the risks inherent in the deal. Such disclosures are important, as they could impact investors’ financial returns.

FINRA also found that Hawn failed to properly disclose his private business dealings to his broker dealer Alps Distributors, and falsified certifications that stated Alps knew about and approved his outside activities.

Kejaun Yang, a registered representative from Woodside, New York, formerly with T3 Trading Group, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into her participation in private securities transactions without obtaining her firm’s prior approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Yang entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which she neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of 30 business days and a fine of $5,000.

In June 2017, Yang agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that Yang contacted individuals in order to sell them investments in a real-estate private placement. Yang did not get prior written approval from her firm about the investment opportunity or her involvement with it.

FINRA found that one of Kejuan Yang’s clients invested $10,000 in the private opportunity but Yang did not benefit from any compensation from the offering. Nevertheless she was fined and suspended because her firm did not approve of her involvement in the business, and purportedly did not have any record of her dealings.

Richard Botkin, a registered representative from Granite Bay, California, with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and formerly with Morgan Stanley, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his participation in private dealings without obtaining his firm’s approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Botkin entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of four months and a fine of $15,000.

In May 2017, Richard Botkin agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he took part in private securities transaction without telling his firm or getting their approval. He sold shares in a production company to create a documentary film and approached his own customers from the firm to invest money. His firm prohibited customers from dealing in private transactions with him, but he approached them anyway.

Four of the firm’s customers invested a total of $170,000 and other customers invested $75,000. FINRA also found that Botkin lied to his firm about his participation in this investment dealing when asked about it.

Scott Polish, a registered representative from Solon, Ohio, formerly with Wells Fargo Clearing Services, was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his misuse of money from a customer without obtaining firm approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Polish entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, and was barred from FINRA.

In May 2017, Scott Polish agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he misused two of his customer’s funds. FINRA asked for documentation and information about these claims, and Polish refused to give them anything. Because of he did not provide sufficient information, FINRA barred him from association.

Earlier this year, he was accused by a couple of his elderly customers of paying his credit card bill with money that they had given him for investments. While he reportedly credited them the money back, he did not inform his firm.

Andrew Logullo, a registered representative from Los Angeles, California, formerly with Ameritas Investment Corp., was suspended from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his ownership of discretionary accounts with members of another firm, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Logullo entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but agreed to a suspension of six months and a fine of $10,000.

In May 2017, Andrew Logullo agreed to the suspension and FINRA published its findings that he did not tell his firm about his discretionary trading authority that he had with three investors at another firm. He did not provide correct authorization of his accounts with these investors and did not give written notice to his firm about his outside dealings with them. Logullo did not tell his clients that he was registered with FINRA at his current firm, but instead had them give him discretionary authority over their accounts and investments.

FINRA found that Andrew Logullo also had dealings as a president and agent at another firm that allowed him to give investment consulting advice to clients. His FINRA-registered firm was not told of this outside business, and claims not to have known about any of his roles outside of their firm.

Tracy Turner, a registered representative from San Marcos, California, formerly with Colorado Financial Service Corporation, was barred from FINRA membership as a result of an investigation into his participation in a private securities investment transaction without obtaining his firm’s prior approval, which is a violation of FINRA rules. Turner entered into an acceptance waiver and consent agreement with FINRA in which he neither admitted nor denied the findings, but was barred from FINRA and fined over $270,000

In June 2017, Tracy Turner agreed to the suspension, and FINRA published its findings that Turner sold over $4 million in investments in saltwater disposal wells. He was paid for every customer that he brought to invest in the private deal. Durign its investigation, FINRA found that eight customers that invested were also clients of the firm.

The AWC alleges that Turner lied to his firm, and also misled the customers to whom he pitched and sold the investments. The complaint alleged thatTurner advertised the investment opportunities online with false information which did not contain sufficient details about the risks involved in the offerings. It also stated that he provided incorrect projections to his investors about what their financial return from the investments could be.