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Advice Firm Charged With Fraud and Associating with Barred Advisor

By Alex Padalka September 4, 2018

A Buffalo, N.Y., investment advice firm is facing fraud charges from the SEC related to its association with a barred broker, according to a press release from the regulator.

The SEC’s complaint alleges Walter Grenda sold his investment advice assets along with his client base to Grenda Group and his son, Gregory Grenda, while awaiting a decision from an SEC fraud investigation.

The regulator barred Walter Grenda in 2015 but he allegedly continued associating with Grenda Group, including through meetings with prospective and existing clients in the firm’s offices and discretionary trading in client accounts, according to the press release.

The firm and Gregory Grenda, meanwhile, allegedly permitted the association, didn’t disclose Walter Grenda's bar to the firm’s clients and made misleading statements to those clients who asked about the bar, the SEC says.

The barred advisor also allegedly impersonated a Grenda Group client and his son to the company’s broker-dealer, after which the broker-dealer ended its relationship with the firm, according to the press release.

The SEC is charging Grenda Group, Gregory Grenda and Walter Grenda with violating the Investment Advisers Act, the regulator says. In addition, the SEC has charged Walter Grenda for violating the bar and aiding and abetting the fraud allegedly committed by Grenda Group and Gregory Grenda, according to the press release. The regulator is seeking penalties and permanent injunctions, it says in the press release.

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Walter Grenda joined the financial services industry in 1981 and has been registered with nine firms, according to his BrokerCheck profile.

His last registration was with Mid Atlantic Capital Corporation, which ended in July 2013, according to his record. Grenda has six customer disputes dating back to 2005, according to BrokerCheck.