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Ex-Brokers Ordered to Pay Clients $845,000

March 27, 2018

A Finra panel has ordered a pair of former brokers to pay back clients $845,000 over losses tied to a multimillion-dollar stock fraud scheme, InvestmentNews writes. However, collecting the award may prove difficult in light of the brokers’ current circumstances, according to the publication.

Christopher Cervino and Larry Werbel defrauded 100 investors out of more than $15 million by inflating the market share of a penny stock company, InvestmentNews writes. The Finra panel ordered them to pay $595,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages to James Mirgliotta and the estate of his late wife, Bette, according to the publication.

But it’s unclear how the two former brokers would come up with the money. A federal court in New York found Cervino guilty of securities fraud last year and he was sentenced last month to a year and a day in prison, InvestmentNews writes. Werbel, meanwhile, awaits his sentencing after pleading guilty to fraud, according to the publication. In September, Werbel told the press he was unemployed, had lost his home and started driving an Uber, InvestmentNews writes.

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Hundreds of millions of dollars in Finra arbitration awards have gone unpaid over the past five years, according to data from the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association. Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced legislation that would require Finra to use the fines it collects to set up a pool that would cover unpaid awards.

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