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Broker Fined for Impersonating Rival With Online Sex Ads

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Cyberbullying has officially hit Wall Street.

When Edward Jones broker Paul Betenbaugh in California wanted to exact revenge on a rival, he went too far. He impersonated the competitor and posted ads on the internet that solicited men for sexual encounters, according to a Tuesday order from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The ads included the other broker’s business cell phone number, resulting in a number of unwanted calls and text messages, FINRA said.

While Betenbaugh’s alleged conduct didn’t involve the sale of securities, the industry-backed regulator sanctioned him for violating a rule that states brokers must act ethically.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Betenbaugh agreed to pay $7,500 in penalties and serve a three-month suspension from associating with any FINRA-registered firm.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Betenbaugh placed the ads because he thought the rival broker had stolen a client.

The FINRA order didn’t name Betenbaugh’s employer.

It did say the conduct in question occurred in September and October of 2015, and that the behavior resulted in Betenbaugh’s termination in February 2016. Betenbaugh worked at Edward Jones at the time, according to a broker database maintained by FINRA.

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