Laura Ortega Shean, who had previously been registered with LPL Financial, was barred from association with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority member in all capacities, according to FINRA’s June disciplinary actions.
According to FINRA, Shean converted approximately $124,000 in customer funds between March and October 2017.
On six occasions, Shean made tax payments for her own benefit to the Internal Revenue Service by improperly directing the IRS to debit funds from a customer’s brokerage account.
After the misconduct was discovered, the customer was reimbursed in full by having certain of the transfers reversed and by Shean making additional reimbursement.
Shean was first registered with a FINRA member firm in 1996. From 1999 through 2017, Shean was registered with LPL Financial LLC. Shean’s registration with LPL was terminated by Form U5 filed on Nov. 9, 2017, and she has not been registered or associated with a member firm since that time.
SEC Charges Insurance Agent With Bilking Elderly Clients
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Pennsylvania-based insurance agent with engaging in a Ponzi scheme that targeted retail investors who lacked significant investment experience.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least 2010 through 2017, James Hocker began his relationship with a number of investors by selling them insurance.
Hocker preyed primarily on older investors without significant investment experience, according to the SEC. The investors were largely elderly retirees or individuals nearing retirement, and some of Hocker’s investors were widows who relied on Hocker to manage their money following the death of their husbands.
After allegedly gaining their trust, he encouraged them to invest with him by falsely promising guaranteed returns of between 10% and 30% from investments he would make on their behalf in the S&P 500 and other unspecified investment vehicles.
The SEC says that over the last five years Hocker raised approximately $1.27 million from about 25 investors.
Some investors allegedly withdrew money from their life insurance policy or retirement accounts to fund their investment with Hocker. However, Hocker did not invest any of the funds.
Instead, he pocketed the money and used it for his personal living expenses such as credit card bills and to make payments to other investors. He also misappropriated investor funds to pay for restaurant and casino expenses and to pay spousal support to his ex-wife. None of these expenditures were disclosed to or approved by investors, according to the SEC.
The SEC seeks an injunction, disgorgement and penalties.
CFTC Fines JPMorgan Chase Bank $65M for Attempted Rate Manipulation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued an order filing and settling charges against JPMorgan Chase Bank for attempted manipulation of the ISDAFIX benchmark. The CFTC is requiring JPMorgan Chase to pay a $65 million civil monetary penalty.
The CFTC order finds that over a five-year period — beginning in at least January 2007 and continuing through January 2012 — JPMorgan Chase made false reports and attempted to manipulate the U.S. Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix (USD ISDAFIX), a leading global benchmark referenced in a range of interest rate products, to benefit its derivatives positions, including positions involving cash-settled options on interest rate swaps.
The CFTC says JPMorgan Chase’s efforts to manipulate or “muscle” the USD ISDAFIX were common knowledge and openly joked about by certain JPMorgan traders.
According to James McDonald, CFTC director of enforcement, this action “clearly demonstrates the commission’s unrelenting commitment to root out manipulation from our markets and to protect those who rely on the integrity of critical financial benchmarks.”
In accepting the bank’s offer, the CFTC recognized that JPMorgan provided substantial cooperation in the investigation in this matter, and commenced significant remedial action to strengthen the internal controls and policies relating to all benchmarks, including ISDAFIX.
SEC Charges New York Penny Stock Financier With Market Manipulation and Scalping Scheme
The SEC charged a penny stock financier, based in Bronxville, New York, and two companies that he controlled for their respective roles in a fraudulent market manipulation and scalping scheme that generated more than $11 million from unlawful stock sales.