The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Monday it had issued a temporary cease and desist order against Avenir Financial Group to halt fraudulent sales of equity interests and promissory notes in the firm to elderly clients.
Avenir Financial Group; its CEO, Michael Clements; and registered rep Karim Ibrahim (aka Chris Allen) consented to an order halting further fraudulent sales of equity interests in the firm and promissory notes pending a hearing on fraud charges relating to the same offerings.
FINRA states that Avenir, a New York-based full-service broker-dealer, and its branch offices raised more than $730,000 in 16 issuances of equity or promissory notes. Most of those sales, which occurred from October 2013 to present, were to the firm’s elderly customers.
FINRA obtained the order based on its concern regarding “ongoing customer harm and depletion of investor assets prior to the completion of a formal disciplinary proceeding against the firm and these individuals.”
FINRA also permanently barred registered rep Cesar Rodriguez from the securities industry for fraud and for improperly using $77,000 of investor funds for personal expenses in a related offering.
In its related underlying complaint, FINRA charges that Avenir, Clements and Ibrahim committed fraud in the sale of equity or promissory notes of the firm, and that Clements aided and abetted the fraud.