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SEC Bars Former Raymond James Branch Manager

By Alex Padalka September 11, 2018

The SEC has charged a former registered representative and branch manager with Raymond James & Associates and barred him from the industry for 10 years for his alleged role in a ski resort investment scheme, according to a press release from the regulator.

Joel Burstein allegedly helped a fraudulent EB-5 immigrant investor visa scheme perpetrated by the Vermont ski resort Jay Peak, its former principal Ariel Quiros and other entities, according to the press release.

Burstein allegedly helped Quiros misappropriate and misuse more than $21 million in investor funds flowing through several brokerage accounts held at Raymond James, the SEC says.

Burstein also allegedly helped Quiros hide the shortfall in the accounts created by Quiros’ misappropriation and helped Quiros use over $18 million of the investors’ money to cover the resort’s margin debt at Raymond James, according to the press release.

In addition to the bar, the SEC ordered Burstein to pay an $80,000 civil penalty, the regulator says. Burstein consented to the SEC’s judgment and bar without admitting or denying the regulator’s allegations against him, according to the press release.

Raymond James itself was named in two investor-led class action suits filed in 2016 by plaintiffs accusing the brokerage of deceiving investors.

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One of the investors had claimed in the suit that over $350 million invested in the EB-5 visa program, which grants U.S. permanent residency to foreign nationals for investing in projects that create U.S. jobs, never reached the intended investments.

Raymond James settled the suit in April 2017 for $150 million, the company said at the time.