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Florida Certified Financial Planners Disciplined by CFP Board- September 2020 Update

September 2020

According to their website, the “Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP. “

The CFP Board can discipline those holding the CFP title in one of three ways:

  • Public Letter of Admonition
  • Temporary Suspension of CFP certification
  • Revocation of individual’s CFP certification

In November 2020 the CFP announced sanctions against a number of Texas  financial advisors, including the following:

PUBLIC LETTERS OF ADMONITION

Nicholas P. Krsnich (West Palm Beach): In September 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Krsnich entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Krsnich agreed that CFP Board would issue a Letter of Admonition. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Krsnich consented to findings that he failed to exercise reasonable and prudent judgment in providing professional services when he engaged in investment advisory business in the State of Florida without proper registration. Mr. Krsnich also consented to a finding that the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFC) found in a 2013 Stipulation and Consent Agreement (SCA) that his conduct with respect to the transactions violated Section 517.12(4) of the Florida Statutes. In the SCA, Mr. Krsnich consented to a finding that his firm, of which he is an officer and a co-owner, failed to establish, maintain, and enforce written policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance by the investment adviser with Chapter 517 of the Florida Statues and Division 69W of the Florida Administrative Code. As part of the SCA, Mr. Krsnich and his firm also consented to fines for $10,000 in 2013 and $6,000 in 2018. Pursuant to the CFP Board settlement agreement, Mr. Krsnich consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 4.4 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(g) the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Krsnich a Letter of Admonition.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATIONS

Anthony Cottone (Delray Beach): In March 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Cottone’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Cottone’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Cottone failed to respond to CFP Board’s requests for documents and information. In July 2019, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension against Mr. Cottone after receiving evidence that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Order permanently barring Mr. Cottone from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities on December 10, 2018, based on its finding that Mr. Cottone “failed to respond to FINRA request[s] for information.” CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Cottone’s failure to respond to two separate Requests for Additional Information from the CFP Board provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(F) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Cottone declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Cottone’s revocation was effective as of April 1, 2020.

Jim Nguyen (St. Petersburg): In June 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Nguyen’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Nguyen’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Nguyen failed to respond to a Notice of Investigation (NOI) CFP Board mailed to him on November 15, 2019. CFP Board was investigating a tax lien reported by Mr. Nguyen. On December 20, 2019, CFP Board issued a second NOI via certified mail. CFP Board also emailed both NOIs to Mr. Nguyen as a courtesy on January 15, 2020. Mr. Nguyen failed to respond to each NOI. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Nguyen’s conduct violated Article 3(F) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules), providing grounds for discipline for failing to respond to a NOI issued by CFP Board. Mr. Nguyen failed to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Nguyen’s revocation was effective as of June 15, 2020.

Edward Santos (Pembroke Pines): In March 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Santos’ right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Santos’ failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Santos falsely self-reported to CFP Board that he had completed 40 Continuing Education (CE) courses, totaling 92 CE credit hours during three reporting periods covering August 1, 2014 to July 2020. Respondent’s misconduct included communicating false information that misled CFP Board, clients, prospective clients, and the public into thinking that Respondent had satisfied the requirements for maintaining his CFP® certification when he had not. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Santos’ conduct violated 2.1, 6.2, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(g) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Santos declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Santos’ revocation was effective as of April 1, 2020.

To verify an individual broker’s current certification status visit the CFP website here.

If you have questions about losses, unauthorized trading or unsuitable investments in your stock brokerage account, contact us for a no charge consultation.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas Certified Financial Planners Disciplined by CFP Board- November 2020 Update

November 2020

According to their website, the “Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP. “

The CFP Board can discipline those holding the CFP title in one of three ways:

  • Public Letter of Admonition
  • Temporary Suspension of CFP certification
  • Revocation of individual’s CFP certification

In November 2020 the CFP announced sanctions against a number of Texas  financial advisors, including the following:

PUBLIC CENSURES

Mohammed Awadalla (Austin, Texas): In August 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Awadalla received a Public Censure. The Commission issued its order after determining that Mr. Awadalla obtained reimbursement for a 2016 computer purchase to which he was not entitled pursuant to his firm’s computer equipment purchase assistance program, and that he was permitted to resign from his firm in January 2018 for this conduct. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) found in an August 2019 Cautionary Action Letter that Mr. Awadalla’s conduct with respect to the computer reimbursement violated FINRA Rule 2010, which states that “every member…shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.” The Commission determined that Mr. Awadalla’s conduct violated Rules 5.1 and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Awadalla a Public Censure. Mr. Awadalla relinquished his CFP® certification in July 2018.

Adam Frey, CFP® (San Antonio, Texas): In September 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Frey entered into a consent order pursuant to which Mr. Frey received a Public Censure. In the consent order, Mr. Frey agreed to findings that, in 2018, Mr. Frey was terminated from his firm after the firm determined that Mr. Frey violated its document signature policy when he signed incomplete draft documents on behalf of a client. The firm stated that the draft documents were never submitted for processing and that there were no customer complaints arising from Mr. Frey’s conduct. Mr. Frey also consented to findings that, after investigating his conduct, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA), found that Mr. Frey’s conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010 and issued a Cautionary Action Letter to Mr. Frey. Mr. Frey consented to CFP Board’s findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3, 5.1, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission censured Mr. Frey with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATION

Cecil Ross (San Angelo, Texas): In September 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Ross’ right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Ross’ intentional decision not to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Ross failed to disclose to CFP Board his suspension by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) within the required 30-day timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint also alleged that, according to FINRA’s findings, Mr. Ross engaged in an unsuitable pattern of trading in unit investment trusts in 287 customer accounts by selling these investments before their maturity dates, thereby causing his customers to incur unnecessary excess sales charges. Additionally, CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Ross’ conduct violated Rules 1.4, 4.3. 4.5, and 6.2 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for sanction. Mr. Ross declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 30 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 3.2 of the Procedural Rules, effective June 30, 2020. In accordance with Article 3.2.a. of the Procedural Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Ross’ revocation was effective as of October 25, 2020.

To verify an individual broker’s current certification status visit the CFP website here.

If you have questions about losses, unauthorized trading or unsuitable investments in your stock brokerage account, contact us for a no charge consultation.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Stefan Pastor-Former Raymond James Broker-Barred From Securities Industry-Ft. Lauderdale, FL

October 2020- Hollywood, FL

According to publicly available records.  Stefan Anton Pastor, (CRD#5141819), a  former stockbroker who last worked for Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.,  discloses a regulatory event, 2 final customer disputes and 2 terminations from employment.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In September 2019 Pastor was permanently barred from the securities industry after an investigation regarding unauthorized trades he executed in the account of one of his member firm’s customers and false trade confirmations that he provided to the customer.    Pastor consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he provided false information to FINRA.

In March 2018 a customer of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.  alleged forgery in connection with unauthorized trades in her account.    The case settled for $60,000.

Pastor was duly registered with Provenance Wealth Advisors and with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc from August of 2013 until he was terminated from employment in April of 2018 by both companies after a client alleged unauthorized purchases in her account and that Pastor provided sale confirms that were determined to not be authentic.

Pastor was  he has been employed with Cathy Pareto and Associates  from June 2018 until November 2018 and with BlueKey Personal Wealth Planning from November 2018 until he was barred from FINRA in September 2019.

If you had an account with Stefan Pastor that suffered losses, you may be entitled to collect damages from his prior employer. Call to discuss your options.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Gerald Eaton-Former Commonwealth Broker Barred from FINRA-Terminated After Allegations of Forgery-Waltham, MA

June 2020- Waltham, MA

The FINRA records of Gerald Allan Eaton  , a former stock broker who was last employed  by  Commonwealth Financial Network disclose a regulatory event resulting in his bar from the securities industry and a termination.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In November 2019, Eaton was permanently barred from the securities industry by the FINRA  after allegations that Eaton failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into the reason for  his termination by Commonwealth.

Eaton worked for Commonwealth Financial Network from March of 1995 until October 2019, when he was discharged by Commonwealth who alleged that he had committed forgery and wrongfully taken property.

If you have problems in an account  handled by Gerald Allan Eaton  call for a no charge consultation .

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

International Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Jovannie Aquino-Former Spartan Capital Securities Broker- Is Barred and Discloses Regulatory Events, Customer Disputes and a Termination-New York, NY

June 2020- New York, NY

According to publicly available records Jovannie Aquino (CRD#4876661), a  former stockbroker who last worked for Spartan Capital Securities,  discloses a regulatory event, a civil event, 3 final customer disputes,  1 pending customer dispute and a termination from employment.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In June 2019  Aquino was permanently barred from the securities industry as a result of the following:

In September 2018, the United Sates Securities and Exchange Commission filed case #1:18-cv-08191 in Federal Court in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York alleging that from December 2015 to November 2017, Aquino engaged in a fraud involving excessive trading in the accounts of his retail customers that generated substantial commissions to enrich himself while his customers experienced significant losses.    Aquino’s fraudulent acts and omissions resulted in approximately $881,000 in losses for customers and $935,000 in ill-gotten gains for Aquino.    He was permanently barred from the securities industry and given a monetary sanction of $75,000 and ordered to pay   disgorgement of  $568,805.

In July 2018, a customer of Aquino’s previous employer, Windsor Street Capital filed case #58-SV-18-327 in Pine County District Court alleged that Aquino was properly served with all the necessary court papers and that he failed to timely respond.   The alleged damages are $171,851.  The case is still pending.

In November 2011, Aquino was discharged from employment from Rockwell Global Capital after allegations that he entered into a written commission agreement with a client without the firm’s knowledge and permission.

Aquino worked with Spartan Capital Securities from November 2017 until September 2018.   Before that he was with Windsor Street Capital, John Carris Investments, John Thomas Financial and Rockwell Global Capital.   

If you had an account with Jovannie Aquino that suffered losses, you may be entitled to collect damages from his prior employer. Call to discuss your options.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870