FINRA Discipline October 2019

Table of Contents

Individuals Barred

Beth Ann Hamilton (CRD #3092302, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania)

August 1, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Hamilton was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Hamilton 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 her being reimbursed by her member firm for unauthorized, personal expenses based on her submission of false expense reports. (FINRA Case #2016052176301)

Orlando Vargas (CRD #5703625, Rochester, New York)

August 1, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Vargas was barred from association with  any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Vargas consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he converted funds by falsely representing to his member firm that he had purchased computer equipment and obtaining $2,000 in reimbursement to which he was not entitled. The findings stated that Vargas sought reimbursement under a firm sponsored program by which it reimbursed its employees for personal computer equipment purchases, by submitting to the firm order information for computer equipment that he had not actually purchased. In fact, Vargas had canceled the orders before completing the purchase of the computer equipment.

The findings also stated that Vargas provided false information in written responses to FINRA regarding his use of the firm’s computer reimbursement program. (FINRA Case #2018057528501)

David John Volpe (CRD #2543478, Gilbert, Arizona)

August 2, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Volpe was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Volpe consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to produce information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he engaged in a private securities transaction or borrowed funds from a customer. (FINRA Case #2019062404601)

Karen Paek (CRD #5985441, Los Angeles, California)

August 5, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Paek was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Paek consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she created, signed and submitted  fictitious variable annuity applications, along with fictitious  supporting  documents,  to meet her minimum production requirements at her member firm. The findings stated that the variable annuity applications were made in the names of former customers at her prior employing firm, insurance customers of her firm and a prospective customer at her firm. Paek forged the individuals’ electronic signatures on all of the applications. None of the individuals were aware of or authorized the applications and the annuities were never

funded. For some of the variable annuity applications, Paek created fictitious third-party brokerage statements, which she submitted to the firm to give the false impression the variable annuities would be funded from third-party accounts. The firm discovered Paek’s falsifications and forgeries during a review of unfunded variable annuity applications.

Paek received approximately $23,000 in advance commissions for the fictitious variable annuity applications, all of which the firm recovered. The findings also stated that Paek caused the firm’s books and records to be inaccurate by submitting fictitious variable annuity applications and accompanying third-party brokerage statements. (FINRA Case #2018057657501)

Eldridge Foster Parks (CRD #1041447, Chesaning, Michigan)

August 5, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Parks was barred from association with   any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Parks consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to appear for on-the- record testimony requested by FINRA after a customer of his member firm alleged that he made unsuitable securities recommendations. (FINRA Case #2016050134502)

Lisa Acca (CRD #4661358, Staten Island, New York)

August 8, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Acca was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Acca consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she failed to produce certain documents and information and failed to appear and provide on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations that she, among other things, recommended private securities transactions to a customer of her member firm. (FINRA Case #2018060634302)

Bryan Joseph Clark (CRD #2987321, Pismo Beach, California)

August 12, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Clark was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Clark consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to appear and provide on-the- record testimony during the course of FINRA’s investigation into whether he willfully failed to disclose a bankruptcy, failed to disclose outside business activities and participated in private securities transactions. (FINRA Case #2018059547901)

Brenda Marie Kochel (CRD #5212755, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

August 14, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Kochel was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Kochel consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she converted funds from   her member firm by requesting and obtaining $23,847.24 in reimbursement from it for travel expenses she did not incur. The findings stated that Kochel’s supervisor provided her with his log-in credentials to the firm’s expense reimbursement system so that she could approve the expense reimbursement requests of his team members. Without her supervisor’s knowledge, Kochel used his log-in credentials to approve the reimbursement of her fictitious expenses. (FINRA Case #2018059546401)

Gregory Thomas Dean (CRD #4922996, Seaford, New York)

August 16, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Dean was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Dean consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 and violated FINRA Rule 2020 by churning and engaging in quantitatively unsuitable trading in the accounts of customers. The    findings stated that Dean made all trading decisions in the customers’ accounts, including which specific securities to buy and sell, when to buy and sell the securities and the   quantity of securities to buy and sell. Dean recommended the trading in the customers’ accounts and each of the customers followed Dean’s recommendations. Dean therefore exercised de facto control over these accounts. Dean’s trading in the customer accounts  was excessive and conducted with reckless disregard for the customers’ interests. Dean employed an investment strategy that entailed short-term in-and-out trades, and he used margin as a means to increase the buying power in his customers’ accounts. Dean’s trading in the customers’ accounts resulted in more than $1,834,832 in cumulative losses, while generating more than $715,930 in commissions, fees and margin interest charged to the customers. The level of trading activity in these accounts, which Dean controlled, made it nearly impossible to generate trading profits for the customers. However, this strategy increased commissions for Dean. (FINRA Case #2017052699901)

Michael Eric Johnson (CRD #2261413, Medford, Oregon)

August 16, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Johnson was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Johnson consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide FINRA with requested documents and information. The findings stated that one of Johnson’s former member firms had filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) stating that the firm terminated him because of concerns regarding circumstances of his acquisition of a prior representative’s book of business. Later, another former firm submitted a Form U5 stating that it had discharged him for being listed as a beneficiary on a non-family related client account. (FINRA Case #2019061408701)

Gregg John Braccili (CRD #5992725, Havertown, Pennsylvania)

August 19, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Braccili was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Braccili 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 the circumstances surrounding his termination from his member firm. The findings stated that the firm submitted a Form U5 stating that Braccili was discharged for his falsification of a communication that appeared to be on behalf of the firm. FINRA reviewed the communication at issue and determined it was not customer or sales practice related. (FINRA Case #2018058889101)

Bryan D. Jensen (CRD #5467555, South Jordan, Utah)

August 23, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Jensen was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Jensen consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he converted funds of his member firm by obtaining $1,444 in reimbursement from the firm to which he was not entitled. The findings stated that Jensen sought the reimbursement under a firm sponsored program, which reimbursed its employees for personal computer equipment purchases, by submitting falsified receipts for computer equipment that he had not actually purchased. (FINRA Case #2018058670501)

Bobby Wayne Coburn (CRD #1464789, Lake Wales, Florida)

August 26, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Coburn was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Coburn consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with a Form U5 submitted by his member firm. The findings stated that the firm submitted the Form U5 wherein it terminated his association and stated that he was involved in the solicitation of clients to invest in an unapproved private securities transaction and engaged in the settlement of a related customer complaint without its knowledge or consent. (FINRA Case #2019062319501)

Patrick Emanuel Sutherland (CRD #3042322, Charlotte, North Carolina)

August 26, 2019 – An Offer of Settlement was issued in which Sutherland was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Sutherland consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that while he was statutorily disqualified as a result of felony convictions, and while his   FINRA registrations were terminated, he actively engaged in the management of his FINRA member firm, and engaged in activities on behalf of it which required securities registration. The findings stated that, among other things, Sutherland communicated with firm associated persons regarding securities-related  matters,  including  sending and receiving email from his firm email address, as well as another email address,  and supervised and directed firm associated persons regarding its securities business, including commissions, outside business activities and advertising. In addition, Sutherland participated in the firm’s financial reporting, including the preparation of Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) reports, responding to firm auditors and directing the financial and operations principal (FINOP). Sutherland engaged in clerical   and managerial functions on behalf of the firm, including arranging for branch office examinations, communicating with firm vendors and recruiting registered representatives and participated in personnel decisions on behalf of the firm, including negotiating terms of employment with the firm’s co-chief compliance officer (CCO) and directing    its chief executive officer (CEO) regarding compensation of the firm’s staff. (FINRA Case #2016050957901)

Kari Ann Buckles (CRD #6443019, Olean, New York)

August 27, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Buckles was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Buckles consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she converted the funds of an employee of her insurance agency by failing to contribute about $2,264 in withholdings  to a Savings Incentive Match-Plan for Employees individual retirement account (IRA). The findings stated that Buckles agreed to withhold money from the employee’s paycheck  and then contribute that money to the IRA. After initially making those contributions, Buckles intentionally ceased payments for over two years, leaving the withholdings in    the agency’s operating account and using them to pay other expenses, including her own personal expenses. Buckles acted intentionally when she failed to remit the employee’s withholdings. After the employee discovered the non-payment, Buckles remitted the unpaid withholdings to the employee’s IRA. The findings also stated that Buckles refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA. (FINRA Case #2018058777101)

Craig Anthony Zabala (CRD #2740680, New York, New York)

August 27, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Zabala was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Zabala consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its review of his outside business activities and his potential participation in private securities transactions. The findings stated that Zabala initially provided a partial, but incomplete, response to FINRA’s request. Subsequently, Zabala’s counsel notified FINRA that Zabala was not willing to produce the remaining requested documents and information. (FINRA Case #2019061086301)

Lawrence James Rizer (CRD #1168778, Canfield, Ohio)

August 28, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Rizer was barred from association with   any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Rizer consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he converted $1,979 from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), a non-profit group for which he was serving as president of a local chapter. The findings stated that Rizer made unauthorized, personal charges on a debit card issued to him and made no attempt at any time to reimburse the charges. NAIFA had only authorized Rizer to use the debit card for expenses incurred while recruiting new members. (FINRA Case #2017054157401)

Gerald Lee Brodsky (CRD #1172647, Greenwich, Connecticut)

August 29, 2019 – An AWC was issued in which Brodsky was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Brodsky consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he provided a partial, but incomplete, response to FINRA’s request for documents and information and failed to produce the remaining documents in connection with its review of his outside business activities. (FINRA Case #2019061086302)

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