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FINRA Bars 'Broker from Hell' Who Defrauded Elderly, Blind Customer
FINRA announced that former Legend Securities rogue broker, Hank Werner, was barred from the industry by a FINRA extended hearing panel. The hearing officers found that Hank Werner, a resident of Northport, NY, had fraudulently churned and excessively traded the accounts of his customer, a blind, elderly widow.
The hearing panel also ordered Werner to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution, fines and disgorgement. The decision resolves charges brought by FINRA Enforcement in August 2016.
OKAY – NOW TRY AND COLLECT!
Werner had been the broker for this elderly woman and her blind husband (who died in 2012) since 1995. Yet, after the husband's death, he became widow's ‘Broker from Hell” by preying on her vulnerabilities – at the time she was 77 and in ill health. According to the hearing panel, Werner’s churning made it “impossible for [the customer] to make money.” Specifically, Werner:
- frequently bought and sold a security within a week or two;
- charged exorbitant commissions;
- engaged in more than 700 trades from October 2012 to December 2015, that generated $210,000 in commissions and losses of more than $175,000.
Legend Securities, which was also named in an amended disciplinary complaint, failed to respond and accordingly was held in default. The complaint charged that Legend failed to reasonably supervise Werner, which allowed Werner to engage in churning his customer’s account, and failed to establish, maintain, and enforce an adequate supervisory system to ensure that Werner was subject to heightened supervision. The hearing officer issued a default decision censuring and fining the firm $200,000. Legend voluntarily paid $20,000 in partial restitution to the customer.
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