Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

August 10, 2018
The FINRA Industry Snapshot 2018 provides an overview o the number of FINRA-registered individuals, firms and their  revenues, and market activity. Among the more troubling data-points is found on Page 4 of the report, which asserts that in 2017 the so-called "average" FINRA member firm had 171 registered representatives but the "median" FINRA member firm had only 11 reps. 

Mean Spirited FINRA Must Respect Membership Median ( Blog)
I am not credited with having brow beat NASD and then FINRA into revising the regulator's published industry statistics, I will, nonetheless, take my own personal victory lap with the satisfaction of believing that my my unceasing, years' long, harangue prompted the disclosure of data that I proposed be calculated in my above Comment. As I worked my way through what comes off largely as a FINRA community in decline over the years, I came upon a nugget on Page 4 of the FINRA 2018 Snapshot, which, at long last, proves my suspicions and confirms my assertion. Under a page heading "Average and Median Number of FINRA-Registered Representatives per Firm," we learn that for the last calculated year of 2017 that the "Average" number of registered reps per member firm was 171 but the "Median" number was only 11.

SEC Charges Michigan Investment Professional in an Investment Scam Targeting His Brokerage Customers (SEC Litigation Release No. 24230)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the SEC alleged that John C. Maccoll violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC is seeking a judgment ordering Maccoll to disgorge his ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and to pay civil penalties. The Complaint alleges that Maccoli used high pressure sales tactics to solicit at least 15 of his retail brokerage customers (mostly elderly and retired) to invest in what he described as a highly-sought-after private fund investment. that would allow them to diversify their portfolios, receive annual investment returns as high as 20%, and give them investment growth potential that was better than the growth they received in their brokerage accounts. The Complaint asserts that Maccoli stole nearly $4 million and paid over $400,000 in Ponzi-like payments to certain of the customers to keep the scheme alive.
READ the FULL TEXT SEC Complaint

Former Belmont Resident Sentenced for $6 Million Investment Fraud Scheme (DOJ Press Release)
From 2001 through 2012, John William Cranney a'k'a Jack Cranney solicited over $6 million from 15 individuals with whom he had personal and business relationships and represented that he would invest their money in an investment fund or a retirement plan he said he managed. Cranney spent his victims' savings and retirement on his own bills and debts to fund his declining health and nutrition products distributorship. After a two-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Cranney was convicted on three counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of mail fraud and three counts of money laundering, and he was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,587,432 restitution.

Pursuant to a Criminal Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Isaac Concepcion Aquino  a/k/a "Kaka," Mario Diaz, a/k/a "Memin," Tomas Guillen, a/k/a "Diddy," Ronnie De leaon, Jose Argelis Diaz, Joel Pena, Jhonatan Diaz, a/k/a "Nino," Eddy Morrobel, Ruddy Sanchez, Michael Roque, Rayniel Robles and Joandra Tejada Gonzalez were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The charges arose in connection with defendants alleged role in improperly accessing over 3,300 customers' cellphone accounts, fraudulently obtaining over 1,200 cellphones, and causin over $1 million in losses. READ the FULL TEXT Complaint

IRS Employee Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft (DOJ Press Release)
Between September 2012 and March 2013, when taxpayers called into the IRS for assistance,  and Contact Representative Stephanie Parker handled their inquiries, which often allowed her to obtain Social Security numbers and addresses.  On at least five occasions, Parker used the taxpayers' personal information without authorizing to electronically file fraudulent tax returns in their names, and, thereafter, directed the fraudulent tax refunds to bank accounts controlled by her friends.  Parker, withdrew funds from at least one of those accounts and deposited a portion of the money into her own bank account and used it for personal expenses. Parker pled guilty in the United States District Court to one count of aggravated identity theft.