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SEC Busts Down “Financial Myth Buster” With $4M Sanction

July 13, 2016

An administrative judge at the Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Dawn Bennett, host of the radio show “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett,” to pay $4 million in penalties and disgorgement, Law360 reports. The regulator also barred her from the industry, the legal news website writes.

The SEC had accused Bennett of exaggerating her company’s assets under management by up to $1.5 billion during her radio show and in financial publication Barron’s. As a result, the watchdog argued that many investors were convinced to invest with her and subsequently lost millions, as reported previously.

Bennett, who was facing up to $15 million in fines, decided to skip her own trial, claiming it was unconstitutional for the regulator to use administrative judges, as reported previously.

Separately, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred a former MetLife and Prudential Financial broker for allegedly steering clients into unsuitable variable annuities, Financial Advisor magazine reports.

According to Finra, Winston Wade Turner persuaded at least 12 clients to transition existing investments into variable annuities that cost them more than $150,000 in surrender charges, the publication reports. The former broker misled clients about the tax implications of the exchanges as well as the estimated earnings of the products, according to the complaint cited by the magazine.

Turner then attempted to evade his employer’s scrutiny by separating the exchanges, in some cases withdrawing client money from MetLife annuities to buy Prudential annuities, according to the regulator, Financial Advisor magazine reports. Turner also allegedly forged customer signatures on the annuity applications, put down his own email address for customer notifications and lied to the firm’s principals, according to Finra, the publication writes.

Furthermore, Turner allegedly failed to disclose outside business interests to his employers, Financial Advisor magazine writes.

Turner was terminated by Pruco Securities, a brokerage subsidiary of Prudential, in 2015 for deceptive sales practices, according to the publication.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the FA Magazine article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Law360 article cited in this story, click here.