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FINRA Bars Broker Who Hid Personal Financial Problems

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred a broker after he failed to provide documents, information and testimony that FINRA requested during an investigation into his financial disclosures, according to FINRA.

James D’Meo signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Nov. 21 in which, without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, he agreed to be barred from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity. FINRA accepted the letter Thursday.

D’Meo was previously suspended by FINRA from May 20, 2019, to June 27, 2019, after failing to respond to a FINRA request for information, according to his profile at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Through his actions, the broker had violated FINRA Rule 8210 for failure to cooperate with its requests for information and to testify and Rule 2010, which requires observance of “high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

After registering with FINRA member Kenneth Jerome & Co., an independent brokerage firm in Florham Park, New Jersey, in June 2013, he was associated with them for five years, according to his profile at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

But the firm filed a Form U5 Dec. 26, 2018, terminating D’Meo’s registration, citing his undisclosed “personal financial problems” that were “inconsistent” with Kenneth Jerome’s “mission” and standards, according to the FINRA letter. D’Meo failed to “disclose reportable personal financial events as discovered by FINRA in a search of public records,” according to BrokerCheck.

There are 17 disclosures on D’Meo’s BrokerCheck profile, starting in 2002, when a customer claimed the broker “misrepresented material facts related to mutual funds the customer purchased through” D’Meo, according to the site.

At the time, D’Meo was registered with Montpelier, Vermont-based FINRA member Equity Services, which he registered with in 1997 and remained until 2013, when he shifted to Kenneth Jerome.

There are also a combined 14 judgment/lien and financial-related disclosures on his BrokerCheck profile, from 2007 through 2018, that run the gamut from failure to pay child support to bankruptcy.

D’Meo’s attorney, Christopher Warren of The Galbraith Law Firm in New York, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

More Details

As part of the investigation into the broker’s financial disclosures, FINRA staff served him with Rule 8210 requests for documents and information Feb. 8 and 28.. He didn’t respond to the Feb. 8 request by the deadline set in the request or request an extension of time to respond, according to the FINRA letter.

“Although FINRA staff twice granted” the broker’s requests for extensions of time to respond to the Feb. 28 request, he “did not respond by the extended deadline or request a further extension,” so FINRA staff “initiated a proceeding against” him under FINRA Rule 9552, suspending him from association with any FINRA member in any capacity on May 20 for failure to respond to the requests, the letter said.

D’Meo later “provided the requested documents and information, and FINRA terminated the suspension and continued the investigation,” according to the letter.

On Oct. 25, the broker appeared for on-the-record testimony that FINRA staff had requested, but at his request, FINRA staff “agreed to continue his testimony before it was finished,” the letter said.

On Oct. 28, FINRA staff sent him a request to resume his on-the-record testimony Nov. 1. However, “as stated in an email from Respondent’s counsel to FINRA staff” on Oct. 30, D’Meo acknowledged that he received FINRA’s request and would “not appear for on-the-record testimony at any time,” according to the letter.


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