The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Department of Enforcement filed a complaint against an ex-Hornor, Townsend & Kent rep Monday, alleging that, hours after being fired by the firm, he broke into his locked office to steal client-related files and still hasn’t updated his Form U4 to include a criminal charge related to that 2018 incident.
Christopher Peter Tranchina started working for HTK, a subsidiary of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., in 2014, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.
While registered through HTK, Tranchina worked in a branch office in Edison, New Jersey, but ended up in a feud with a team within the company he worked with, according to the complaint, which referred to that team as the “JG Team.”
In April 2018, Tranchina took steps to direct internet traffic from two websites he created while with the firm to a third website Tranchina created for a new advisory team he was planning to launch to compete with the JG Team, despite the fact that he was still affiliated with HTK, the complaint alleged. The branch manager of the HTK office where Tranchina worked suspended Tranchina, according to the complaint.
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On April 27, 2018, the branch manager called Tranchina and fired him, instructing him not to return to the office and telling him that his personal belongings would be shipped to him at his home address, according to the complaint. During the call, the branch manager informed Tranchina that any client files he shared with JG would remain with JG, the complaint said.
However, around 8:30 p.m. on the same day, Tranchina returned and “forced his way into HTK’s office space … put a chair next to his office door, stood on the chair, and put a broom handle through the drop ceiling tile and over the threshold of the door to unlock his office door handle from the inside,” the complaint alleged.
Tranchina then entered his former office and took the client files, the complaint said, adding those files contained biographical information of customers and prospective customers of HTK, including their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
According to the complaint, Tranchina was confronted by the building’s cleaning supervisor while vacuuming the floor of the office where the ceiling tile had fallen and broken.