When brokers violate FINRA rules or federal securities regulations—by stealing customer funds, recommending unsuitable investments, or refusing to provide on-the-record testimony to FINRA—the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority holds them to account. FINRA publicizes disciplinary actions taken against brokers in their monthly round-up. The full December 2019 report can be viewed here.
In the most serious cases of broker fraud or misconduct, FINRA permanently bars brokers from the securities industry. FINRA’s December 2019 report lists 22 barred brokers.
Individuals Barred

Broker Name CRD Number Location Circumstances Surrounding Bar
Cristina Sabengsy CRD#: 6304970 Gilberts, Illinois “…she forged the signatures of her customers in order to facilitate unauthorized insurance transactions and obtain commissions on those transactions. The findings stated that the transactions related to purchasing a variable annuity policy for one customer and to converting another customer’s term life insurance policy to a whole life insurance policy.”
Ben Lowder CRD#: 3014106 Charlotte, North Carolina “…he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation that began after it learned of investor-related civil lawsuits disclosed in amended Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) forms submitted by his former member firm. The findings stated that the civil lawsuits alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices and state securities fraud regarding investments in fictitious entities.”
Michael D’Aquila CRD#: 6541088 Johnston, Rhode Island “…he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA during an investigation of him that commenced after it learned of the conduct disclosed in a Form U5 submitted by his former member firm. … the Form U5 stated that D’Aquila was terminated for conduct inconsistent with firm standards related to personal bank accounts and failure to be forthcoming during the firm’s review of the matter.”
Jaime Westenbarger CRD#: 4625703 Ada, Michigan “…he failed to provide documents requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation that commenced after it learned of the conduct disclosed in a Form U5 submitted by his former member firm. The findings stated that Westenbarger provided a partial response but did not substantially comply with all aspects of FINRA’s request. The form U5 submitted by the firm disclosed that his termination was for a violation of firm policies and procedures regarding borrowing funds from clients.”
Aarti Patel CRD#: 5614912 Lewis Center, Ohio “…she refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA. The findings stated that Patel’s member firm filed a Form U5 stating that its affiliate bank had terminated her employment for violating the affiliate bank’s policy governing personal finances by making numerous cash deposits into her personal affiliate bank account, and an affiliate bank business account of her spouse, under the currency transaction reporting threshold.”
Steve Klinger CRD#: 1294139 Asheville, North Carolina “…he refused to provide documents and information to FINRA related to the termination explanation provided in a Form U5 submitted by his former member firm. The findings stated that the Form U5 disclosed that the firm had discharged Klinger and stated that he deposited a firm client’s funds into his own account to trade options. The option trading resulted in the loss of all the client’s funds. The client sued Klinger and the firm in state court serving process on Klinger only. Klinger did not report the lawsuit to the firm and settled the lawsuit without informing the firm.”
Bradley Reifler CRD#: 1589414 Millbrook, New York “… he refused to answer FINRA’s questions during on-the-record testimony concerning his involvement in a fraudulent misappropriation scheme. The bar remains in effect pending review.”
Maureen Ann Hunt CRD#: 1349675 Ridgefield, Connecticut “…she declined to appear for on-the-record testimony and to participate in FINRA’s investigation into possible alteration or falsification of customer forms submitted to her member firm.”
Louis Miller CRD#: 3054955 Syosset, New York “…he failed to provide documents and information and appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into allegations that he improperly exercised discretion in customer accounts without prior written authorization.”
Dan Maughan CRD#: 2561363 Los Angeles, California “…he … churn[ed] and excessively trad[ed] the trust account of two customers, a married couple. Maughan exercised de facto control over the trust account and made all investment decisions in it, including what securities to buy and sell, the quantities of the securities to buy and sell and when each transaction would occur. The level of activity in the trust account was inconsistent with the customers’ objectives and financial situation.”
Dawn Bennett CRD#: 1567051 Chevy Chase, Maryland “[Dawn] Bennett failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for the production of documents and information when it began investigating her for possible rule violations including, conversion, fraud, and private securities transactions. The findings stated that Bennett also failed to appear and provide an on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA.”
Elton Norman CRD#: 6402086 Springfield, Missouri “…he refused to provide documents requested by FINRA after it began an investigation into possible irregularities contained in certain documents pertaining to his customers at his member firm.”
John Saad CRD#: 2185911 Atlanta, Georgia “…Saad misappropriated his member firm’s funds, with his prolonged pattern of falsehoods and deception. The findings stated that Saad submitted false expense reports, forged receipts and lied to investigators. The bar is in effect pending the appeal.”
Dennis Mehringer CRD#: 722569 Altadena, California “…he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA during the course of an examination involving possible unsuitable trading and other misconduct, in contravention of certain securities rules or regulations.”
Preston Tsao CRD#: 1892935 New York, New York “…he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation of him that was later expanded to include allegations contained in his member firm’s Form U5 amendment. The findings stated that the firm stated in the Form U5 that Tsao resigned after allegations had been made that he obtained a $9,000 cash advance directly from one of the firm’s clients.”
Donna Pitts CRD#: 2708516 Concord, North Carolina “…she converted $100,079 from her member firm’s transfer agent affiliate.”
Wes Baiz CRD#: 6501692 Toledo, Ohio “…he refused to provide information and documents requested by FINRA. The findings stated that Baiz’s member firm terminated his association and indicated on his Form U5 that he failed to meet the terms and expectations of a heightened supervision plan he was placed on by the firm for failure to disclose an outside business activity.”
Stuart Nichols CRD#: 4932310 Birmingham, Alabama “…he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation of him for possible excessive trading in customer accounts at his member firm.”
Oscar Nunez CRD#: 6014411 North Bergen, New Jersey “…Nunez misused and converted an elderly customer’s funds. The findings stated that Nunez told the customer that she had to make an upfront payment of $5,000 to cover anticipated commissions for new accounts she opened at Nunez’ member firm. The customer gave Nunez a check for that amount, made out to him personally.”
Jefferey Dyra CRD#: 6785909 Orland Park, Illinois “…he refused to produce documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation into whether he had misappropriated funds from a customer of an affiliate of his member firm or otherwise engaged in any misconduct that violated federal securities laws or regulations or FINRA rules.”
Ramone Knight CRD#: 5265446 Perry Hall, Maryland “[Ronald] Knight falsified expense reports and submitted them to his firm in order to obtain reimbursement totaling approximately $3,900 to which he was not entitled.”

 
Individuals Suspended

Broker Name CRD Number Location Duration of Suspension Circumstances Surrounding Suspension
Brian Parker CRD#: 2161106 Covington, Louisiana October 7, 2019 through February 6, 2020 “…he directed his assistant to impersonate a customer in order to obtain a change in beneficiary form for an insurance account that the customer held directly with the insurance company.”
Peter Earp CRD#: 4224268 Farmington, Minnesota October 7, 2019 through March 6, 2020. “…he falsified a form and an attachment to the form to effect a customer’s request that Earp transfer securities from an account the customer held jointly with his brother at another institution to the customer’s account held at Earp’s member firm.”
James Lamont CRD#: 2846228 Novato, California November 4, 2019 through May 3, 2021 “…he engaged in private securities transactions without prior approval from his member firm. The findings stated that Lamont solicited investors to purchase promissory notes relating to a purported real-estate investment fund. Lamont sold $1,467,000 in the promissory notes to investors, three of whom were also customers of his firm. Lamont received $81,417 in commissions in connection with these transactions. Lamont disclosed his activities to the firm in a questionnaire, but he identified it as an outside business activity, not a private securities transaction.”
William Schnepp CRD#: 1854941 Hartland, Wisconsin October 7, 2019 through December 6, 2019 “…he accepted a power of attorney over an elderly customer to whom he was not related without providing notice to or seeking approval from his member firm. The findings stated that Schnepp circumvented the firm’s procedures that prohibited registered representatives from serving as power of attorney for any customer of the firm except when the customer was a member of the representative’s family. The power of attorney provided Schnepp with broad authority to manage the customer’s financial affairs.”
William Davis CRD#: 811559 Powder Springs, Georgia October 7, 2019 through October 21, 2019 “…he mismarked trades in customer accounts as unsolicited, when, in fact, those trades were solicited. The findings stated that Davis recommended and purchased prohibited securities for some of his customers. In order to circumvent his member firm’s policy, Davis marked these trades as unsolicited on the order tickets. As a result of mismarking these trades, Davis caused the firm to maintain inaccurate books and records.”
John Eads CRD#: 2764843 Titusville, Florida) October 21, 2019 through January 20, 2020 “…after accepting an offer to join a new member firm, he improperly took nonpublic personal customer information from his previous firm, without its or the customers’ knowledge or consent. The findings stated that as a result, Eads caused the previous firm to violate the SEC’s Regulation S-P: Privacy of Consumer Financial Information and Safeguarding Personal Information.”
Michael Olinde CRD#: 3063204 Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 4, 2019 through January 3, 2020 “…he engaged in an outside business activity involving the sale of nutritional supplements without providing prior written notice to his member firm.”
Chad Perkins CRD#: 4929849 Goshen, Kentucky October 21, 2019 through December 20, 2019 “…he failed to timely amend his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4) to disclose federal tax liens. The findings stated that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed four tax liens against Perkins totaling approximately $448,000. Perkins worked with a tax enrolled agent and agreed to enter into an installment agreement with the IRS and is current in his payments to it.”
Simon Joseph CRD#: 5602157 Alexandria, Virginia November 4, 2019 through December 16, 2019 “he exercised discretion in accounts maintained by customers without having written authorization from the customers and without having requested or obtained approval from his member firm.”
Erlloisse Magan CRD#: 3146325 Massapequa, New York October 21, 2019 through February 20, 2020 “…she failed to give prior written notice to her member firm of her appointment and expectation of compensation as power of attorney for a customer, and as trustee to two charitable foundations created by the customer to distribute her assets upon her death.”
Mark Cramer CRD#: 1313587 Larue, Ohio November 4, 2019 through January 3, 2020 “…he forged a customer’s signature on an application to purchase a variable annuity and on other documents associated with opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).”
Charles Bridgers CRD#: 1226108 Wilson, North Carolina October 21, 2019, through January 20, 2020 “…he entered municipal-bond orders in a customer’s brokerage account without the customer’s specific authorization and without authorization to exercise discretion over the account.”
Richard Berg CRD#: 1233833 Town and Country, Missouri October 21, 2019 through February 20, 2020 “…he failed to timely notify his member firm of outside business activities for which he received compensation. … The findings also stated that Berg failed to timely notify his firms of personal private securities transactions conducted away from the firms. Berg made purchases of securities issued by privately-held companies totaling $1,251,000. Berg’s failure is aggravated by the fact that he completed compliance questionnaires incorrectly attesting that he had disclosed all private securities transactions to the firm.”
Steven Yellen CRD#: 1281663 El Paso, Texas November 4, 2019 through November 3, 2020 “…he exercised discretion in a customer’s account without written authorization or acceptance of the account as a discretionary account by his previous member firm. … prior to accepting an offer of employment from the new firm, Yellen sent nonpublic personal information regarding his customers at his previous firm to his personal email account, in violation of the firm’s policy and without the knowledge or consent of it or any customer. The nonpublic personal information consisted of client account numbers, among other information. Upon becoming associated with his new firm, Yellen forwarded the information to his email account at the new firm without the knowledge or consent of the firm or any customer. Significantly, Yellen should have been aware of the impropriety of sending the information to his account at the new firm because the firm’s terms of transition specifically prohibited taking account numbers from a prior employer. As a consequence, Yellen caused his previous firm to violate its obligations under Regulation S-P.”
Bruce Keebeck Lee CRD#: 1464745 Hinsdale, Illinois November 4, 2019 through May 3, 2021 “…he directed two members of his staff to complete continuing education modules on his behalf, rather than completing the modules himself.”
Jennifer McKay CRD#: 6637784 Riverdale, New Jersey November 4, 2019 through February 3, 2020 “…she altered documents that were previously signed by customers of her member firm and submitted them as originals to the firm.”
Robert Meyers CRD#: 1409245 Kiawah Island, South Carolina November 4, 2019, through November 3, 2020 “…he participated in private securities transactions by soliciting, facilitating and/or recommending private equity investments to customers of his member firm without providing written notice to, or obtaining written approval from, the firm. The findings stated that the securities were offered by three private equity funds that were not approved to be sold by Meyers’ firm. The firm customers invested in the securities offered by the funds and made capital contributions to them totaling $1.9 million.”
Daniel Slattery CRD#: 4655445 Monroe, Connecticut November 18, 2019 through February 17, 2020 “…he failed to disclose to either of his member firms that he had entered into an agreement with an entity not affiliated with either firm that allowed for insurance agents in a branch office that he supervised to sell Medicare plans offered by that third party. The findings stated that Slattery received $41,747 in compensation through commission overrides derived from the agents’ sales of those Medicare plans.”
Michael King CRD#: 1264094 Hewlett Bay Park, New York November 4, 2019 through January 3, 2021 “…as a managing director in his member firm’s research department, he co-authored research reports on an issuer without disclosing in any of the reports a material conflict of interest arising from advanced employment discussions with the subject company of those reports. The findings stated that King’s omission caused the reports to be misleading. Reasonable readers of the reports would have considered the conflict important to their investment decisions. King had a clear obligation to disclose his employment discussions with the issuer in the research reports, yet he failed to do so. The findings also stated that King completed a quarterly research analyst certification but failed to disclose to his firm that he had received an employment offer from the issuer.”

 If your broker has been suspended or barred from the securities industry, don’t hesitate to contact a securities attorney. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free consultation.