FINRA Discipline November 2019

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Individuals Barred

Stefan Anton Pastor (CRD #5141819, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

September 4, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Pastor was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Pastor consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he provided false information to FINRA during on-the-record testimony during the course of an investigation related to a customer complaint that alleged he executed unauthorized trades for, and that he provided false trade confirmations to, a customer of his member firm. The findings stated that Pastor’s firm had filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) that terminated his association with it based on the customer’s complaint.

Pastor falsely claimed to FINRA that the customer authorized the trades at issue and denied providing false trade confirmations to the customer, which purportedly demonstrated that he had reversed the unauthorized trades. The customer never authorized the trades at issue and Pastor did, in fact, provide false trade confirmations to her in an attempt to prove that he reversed the unauthorized trades. (FINRA Case #2018058316601)

Michael Barry Carter (CRD #3232017, Potomac Falls, Virginia)

September 9, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Carter was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Carter consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation initiated after FINRA received an external tip relating to allegations of misconduct that were ultimately contained in a Form U5 filed by his member firm. (FINRA Case #2019063523501)

John C. Howley (CRD #2229244, Rumson, New Jersey)

September 9, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Howley was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Howley consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear and provide an on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations reported by his member firm in a Form U5 stating that he failed to disclose private securities transactions to the firm and referred clients to outside investments. (FINRA Case #2018060502601)

Apostolos Nicolas Pitsironis (CRD #2804907, Dix Hills, New York)

September 9, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Pitsironis was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Pitsironis consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he converted

$411,000 in customer funds when he electronically transmitted the funds through automated clearing house transfers from the customer’s securities account at his member firm to a bank account Pitsironis’ controlled, without the customer’s knowledge or consent. The findings stated that upon learning of Pitsironis’ actions, the firm made the customer whole. (FINRA Case #2019063054201)

Jack David Stone (CRD #437327, Chicago, Illinois)

September 9, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Stone was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Stone consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for on-the- record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into his securities activities while at his member firm, including possible misrepresentations to customers,   use of discretion and unauthorized transactions. (FINRA Case #2017053685201)

Heather Joy Baker (CRD #4920460, Huntsville, Alabama)

September 10, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Baker was barred from association    with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Baker consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she refused to appear for on- the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her resignation from her member firm. The findings stated that Baker was permitted to resign while under review for the possible violation of the firm’s bank affiliate’s employee expenses policy. (FINRA Case #2018060818301)

Clayton Holman Wertz (CRD #2931973, Dallas, Texas)

September 11, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Wertz was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings,   Wertz consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he created false account statements for a customer in connection with helping the customer secure a bank loan   for $1.872 million. The findings stated that Wertz created a false account statement for  the customer by changing the name, address and account number on another customer’s statement that showed the account holding more than $3 million in securities. Wertz gave the false account statement to the bank’s loan officer. Because the bank required copies of account statements each month, he created a false account statement for the customer every month. Wertz knew the account statements contained false values and that they would be submitted to the bank to obtain and maintain the loan. Based in part on the false account statement, the bank loaned the customer’s entity $1.872 million.

Wertz received $50,000 from the customer and the customer’s brother in payment for his actions. The customer’s entity subsequently borrowed additional money from the bank and was extended a line of credit based in part on the false account statements. The customer’s entity ultimately defaulted on its loans from the bank, resulting in a loss to the bank of  more than $3.2 million. (FINRA Case #2019061689501)

Thomas Stappas (CRD #855198, Bridgewater, New Jersey)

September 13, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Stappas was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Stappas consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations that he engaged in outside business activities, and recommended private securities transactions to customers of his member firm. The findings stated that neither of these activities were disclosed to the firm. (FINRA Case #2018059326201)

Whitney Simon (CRD #6815971, Jacksonville, Florida)

September 16, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Simon was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Simon consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she refused to appear for on- the-record testimony requested by FINRA after allegations that she wrote checks from a personal bank account that she then deposited into accounts at her member firm’s affiliate bank without having sufficient funds to cover the checks at the time they were deposited. (FINRA Case #2019061839001)

Donald Edward Teboe (CRD #4407610, Clinton, Michigan)

September 16, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Teboe was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Teboe consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for on-the- record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into allegations that he engaged in unsuitable trading while registered through multiple member firms. (FINRA Case #2018057149701)

Kevin Scott Gunnip (CRD #2701801, Colleyville, Texas)

September 18, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Gunnip was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Gunnip consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations that Gunnip engaged in unsuitable short-term trading of long-term securities. (FINRA Case #2017055476201)

Joseph Hersey Pratt (CRD #719416, Radnor, Pennsylvennia)

September 24, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Pratt was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings,

Pratt consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he misused the confidential information obtained from insiders at a public biopharmaceutical company by communicating it to several of his member firm’s customers. The findings stated that Pratt knew insiders at the company, including a director, a member of the company’s scientific advisory board and a doctor involved in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials. On numerous occasions, Pratt failed to disclose these relationships to his firm as required. The company sent the firm a letter stating that Pratt had been attempting to obtain confidential information from several company insiders. In response, the firm prohibited Pratt from speaking with the company’s employees. Despite this prohibition, Pratt continued to seek information from the company. In response to Pratt’s inquiries, the company’s insiders sent Pratt documents and emails containing confidential information concerning its ongoing FDA clinical trials, including patient  data  from  the trial, newly discovered data that the company felt warranted a patent, and a confidential timeline of upcoming FDA filings. The findings also stated that although Pratt received approval to make a one-time personal investment in a speculative private, start-up company, he did not provide his firm with prior written notice or obtain prior approval for his subsequent personal investments totaling $119,000 in shares of the company that  were made away from the firm. Additionally, Pratt failed to provide prior written notice or obtain prior approval for his solicitation of investors in private securities transactions in  the company. In addition, Pratt solicited individuals, some of whom were his customers at the firm, to invest approximately $436,000 in shares of the company. (FINRA Case #2014043750301)

Keith Wakefield (CRD #3250539, Evanston, Illinois)

September 25, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Wakefield was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Wakefield consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation of him for, among other things, possible trading improprieties at his member firm. (FINRA Case #2019063576601)

Hannah Burgess (CRD #7048323, Chico, California)

September 26, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Burgess was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Burgess consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she converted approximately $1,869 belonging to a customer of her member firm by accessing a personal bank account of the customer and transferring funds to pay her personal credit card account and college tuition. The findings stated that Burgess knew that the funds did not belong to her, and made each of the transfers without the customer’s knowledge or consent. (FINRA Case #2019062603701)

Victor Polakoff (CRD #365011, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey)

September 27, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Polakoff was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Polakoff consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into certain municipal bond offerings. (FINRA Case #2017055886401)

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