JP Morgan admits to 'terrible customer experience' in response to discrimination allegations (CNBC.com)Entrepreneur And Pharmaceutical Company Executive Convicted At Trial For Role In International Insider Trading Scheme (DOJ Release)FINRA Fines and Suspends LPL Rep Over Family's Real Estate Project. In the Matter of Jason C. LaBelle, Respondent (FINRA AWC)
J.P. Morgan Chase admitted to failures brought to light in a New York Times article last month and said it had taken a series of steps to learn from the episode.In letters to congressmen and senators who requested information from the bank about allegations in the article, the bank acknowledged several shortcomings. The article detailed racial discrimination experienced by a black J.P. Morgan employee and customer at branches in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
Gabler and Ball managed the telemarketing scheme, which operated from 2015 to 2018 out of several office park locations in Phoenix and Tempe. They communicated via telephone with elderly consumers, first from a front room, where employees used false names to obtain basic customer information, and then from a back room, where telemarketers also used false names and promised a sham business opportunity in exchange for more than $10,000 per victim. The opportunities promised to the victims were never fulfilled.
Athanase Lavidas, the father of TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS, was a prominent Greek businessman and was a member of the board of directors of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Ariad"), a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that developed and marketed a leukemia medication named Iclusig. In violation of his duties of confidentiality to Ariad, Athanase Lavidas provided TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS with tips about three major corporate developments at Ariad. On each of those occasions, TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS provided that inside information to his best friend Georgios Nikas ("Nikas") so that Nikas could make timely, profitable trades ahead of Ariad's public announcements.The first tip was in October 2013, when Athanase Lavidas learned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") was concerned about potential adverse health issues for patients from Iclusig. Athanase Lavidas contacted TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS to pass this secret information, and TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS passed that tip to Nikas, who had previously amassed a large long position in Ariad securities. After receiving the inside information from TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS, Nikas sold his Ariad securities and took a substantial short position. When Ariad publicly announced the patient safety issues, its stock declined by over 65% and Nikas made over $3.2 million in profits and avoided almost $800,000 in losses. Ariad discontinued sales of Iclusig later in October.The second tip was in November and December 2013, when Athanase Lavidas learned that Ariad and the FDA were making significant progress toward returning Iclusig to the market. Athanase Lavidas passed this secret information to TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS, who in turn passed the tips to Nikas. Nikas bought Ariad securities based on these tips, and when Ariad publicly announced at the end of December that Iclusig was returning to the market, its stock rose and Nikas made over $1.3 million in profits.The third tip was in July and August 2015, when Ariad received an unsolicited takeover offer from another pharmaceutical company. Again, Athanase Lavidas learned of the offer in his capacity as a board member, and informed TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS, who in turn passed the tip to Nikas. Nikas again bought Ariad securities based on this tip, and when a news article was published in late August reporting on the takeover offer, Ariad's stock rose and Nikas made over $2 million in profits.Nikas also passed the tips he received from TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS to a series of stock traders. In total, Nikas and the traders he tipped earned over $15 million in profits from the inside information that TELEMAQUE LAVIDAS provided.
From February 2016 through May 2017, LaBelle participated in activities relating to a real estate development project, outside the scope of his relationship with the Firm, without providing prior written notice to LPL. In particular, LaBelle performed work as an independent contractor on behalf of a corporation that had purchased a 13-acre lot in order to develop 19 custom homes on the lot. That corporation, which was formed by LaBelle's mother, was financed with money provided by one of LaBelle's brokerage customers. Among other activities, LaBelle met with real estate agents to discuss marketing the sale of the homes and he exchanged emails with the real estate agents discussing the status of the property's development.LaBelle did not provide any prior notice to LPL of his intention to participate in an outside business activity. To the contrary, LaBelle falsely confirmed that he had fully disclosed his outside business activities on two annual compliance questionnaires submitted to LPL.As a result of the foregoing, LaBelle violated FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010.