The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-Signator Investors broker from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for engaging in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions totaling more than $1.77 million that included investments related to the Woodbridge Group of Companies Ponzi scheme, according to FINRA.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Dee Dee Brooks signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent April 15 in which she agreed to FINRA’s sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Friday.
Signator parent Advisor Group and Jeffrey Compton, a partner at law firm Markun Zusman Freniere Compton that represented Brooks in the dispute, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
From July 2015 through June 2018, Brooks was registered as an investment company and variable contracts products representative through Signator. On June 7, 2018, Signator filed a Form U5 notice, terminating her registration with the firm, according to FINRA. The Form U5 also disclosed an internal review by the firm to investigate Brooks’s involvement in the sale of unregistered securities, FINRA said. Signator filed an amendment to Brooks’s Form U5 Oct. 9, 2018, to disclose the completion of the internal review and the firm’s conclusion that Brooks “knowingly facilitated the sale of unapproved investments in violation of Firm policy,” FINRA said, quoting Signator.
In November 2018, Royal Alliance, part of Advisor Group’s broker-dealer network, announced the completion of its acquisition of Signator.
Between July 2016 and December 2017, Brooks solicited investors to buy more than $1.77 million in securities in Woodbridge and Future Income Payments, according to the regulator. Brooks, through a company that she worked with as an outside business, solicited nine investors, five of whom were Signator customers, to invest $906,497 in Woodbridge promissory notes, FINRA alleged. Brooks did not provide notice to Signator prior to participating in the transactions involving Woodbridge, nor did she obtain approval from the firm, according to the regulator.
The Securities and Exchange Commission found Woodbridge operated as a massive Ponzi scheme from July 2012 through December 2017. In October 2019, ex-Woodbridge CEO Robert Shapiro was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a federal judge in Miami for leading the $1.22 billion fraud scheme that hurt more than 8,400 unsuspecting investors across the U.S. through unregistered securities offerings.