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Retired Teachers Win $2.4 Million Arb Award Over Alleged Excessive Trading

February 6, 2019

A wealth management practice in Virginia is on the hook for $2.38 million following a Finra arbitration panel ruling over excessive trading by one of its former brokers who committed suicide after getting fired, according to news reports.

The panel ruled in favor of two retired teachers, Janice Patin of Louisiana and Beryl Lakin of Virginia, who became clients of Capitol Securities Management of Glen Allen, Va., in 2009, InvestmentNews writes.

A registered representative with the firm that Finra only identifies as “Mr. T” stole funds from the Capitol accounts of the two customers, in part through excessive trading, according to the award cited by the publication.

The Finra panel found evidence of numerous cases when automatic monitoring programs triggered alerts on the broker’s trading in Patin’s Capitol accounts, and they were allegedly reviewed by a branch office manager and coded as “unsolicited,” Finra says, according to InvestmentNews.

Even though Patin’s account objective was long-term growth and her risk level was moderate, “it was replete with short-term trading, high margin balances, transfers out to other Capitol accounts and excessive commissions,” Finra says, according to the publication.

Capitol fired Mr. T in March 2017, InvestmentNews writes, citing Finra.

The former broker then mailed letters to each claimant confessing to years-long theft from their and other clients’ accounts, estimating that Patin and Lakin lost $1.5 million through his fraudulent activity, Finra says, according to the publication.

In addition to the commissions from the unauthorized trades, Mr. T also confessed to supplementing his income by $200,000 over more than six years, InvestmentNews writes.

He wrote that he was trying to cover losses in a client’s account but lost more and tried to make up for it by transferring money from other clients’ accounts, only to lose that as well through trading, according to the publication.

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