An investment bank based in downtown Orlando has been censured and fined for distributing misleading information about a high-risk investment, according to recent discipline actions from Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Michael Maurice Ward and his firm 79 Capital Securities was fined $25,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any principal capacity for 20 days.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Ward and his firm consented to the sanctions and an entry of findings by FINRA, according to FINRA documents posted the agency’s website. According to the letter of consent, Ward signed it on June 10.
According to FINRA, the high-risk investment was a product offered by GWG Holdings, known as renewable secured debentures. Ward approved customer purchases of the high-risk investment without noting appropriate goals or identifying information of the customers.
The FINRA findings stated that Ward permitted an employee to sell $250,000 of the investment prior to FINRA’s approval of an application for registration. The firm later reversed this transaction and refunded the customers’ money.
In related news, Karen Lee Chafe, of Melbourne Beach, was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member for one year.
According to findings in her FINRA case, Chafe engaged in a practice reusing old forms to request withdrawal of funds from annuities or IRA accounts. She used white-out to change numbers on old forms and submit them as originals. Over a six-year period, she did this 61 times for 14 customers. Although Chafe did not have customer authorization to submit altered forms, her customers did authorize the pertinent withdrawals and distributions.
In another FINRA action, David Walton Matthews Jr., Merrimac Corporate Securities, Longwood. FINRA license revoked for failure to pay fines or costs.