NOTE: Stipulations of Fact and Consent to Penalty (SFC); Offers of Settlement (OS); and Letters of Acceptance Waiver, and Consent (AWC) are entered into by Respondents without admitting or denying the allegations, but consent is given to the described sanctions & to the entry of findings. Additionally, for AWCs, if FINRA has reason to believe a violation has occurred and the member or associated person does not dispute the violation, FINRA may prepare and request that the member or associated person execute a letter accepting a finding of violation, consenting to the imposition of sanctions, and agreeing to waive such member's or associated person's right to a hearing before a hearing panel, and any right of appeal to the National Adjudicatory Council, the SEC, and the courts, or to otherwise challenge the validity of the letter, if the letter is accepted. The letter shall describe the act or practice engaged in or omitted, the rule, regulation, or statutory provision violated, and the sanction or sanctions to be imposed.
Lawrence Maxwell McCoy AWC/2008013278101/December 2009
McCoy converted funds belonging to an elderly public customer totaling approximately $44,000 without her knowledge and consent by contacting the mutual fund company that held her funds and requesting numerous redemptions. McCoy converted additional funds belonging to the customer totaling $34,000, without her knowledge and consent, by forging her checks and making them payable to a company he controlled that was disclosed to his firm as an outside business activity.
Vincent John Miller AWC/2008012562901/December 2009
Miller made a recommendation to an elderly customer that the customer invest in shares of a real estate investment trust (REIT). The customer withdrew funds from existing investments and gave Miller over $1 million to purchase REIT shares.
Miller only invested a portion of the customerís funds in REIT shares and misappropriated $433,543.22 of the funds by depositing the checks into his personal bank account for his personal use, including gambling, mortgage payments, credit card bills and other personal expenses. Miller failed to respond to FINRA requests for information.
William Alson Johnson AWC/2007010251302/November 2009
Johnson failed to observe standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade. Johnson opened a joint account for an elderly customer and Johnsonís acquaintance, funded entirely by the elderly customerís assets. Johnsonís acquaintance, who served as the customerís caretaker, withdrew over $14 million from their joint account. Johnson should have raised questions based on the irregularity of the transfer of funds between the accounts, including the size of the transactions and the manner in which the caretaker withdrew money from the joint account before redepositing it in accounts under his sole control.
The trading in the customerís account generated large capital gain liabilities for Johnsonís elderly customer. Johnson made false statements while under oath during his on-the-record (OTR) testimony about his awareness of expensive gifts the caretaker had given to his sales assistant, and attempted to convince his sales assistant to make false statements during her testimony.
Stewart accepted $445,914.13 from an elderly public customer for investment in a corporation he organized and owned, and failed to issue the customer any ownership interest. Rather than using the funds as intended, Stewart converted the funds to his own use and benefit by depositing the funds into the corporationís bank account and paid personal expenses directly from the account or transferred funds to his personal bank account, thereby converting the funds without the customerís knowledge or consent.
Before my second career as a lawyer, I was the third generation of my family in the wine and liquor industry. In 1981, I started law school; and in 1982, I was hired as a law student in Smith Barney, Harris & Upham's Legal Department. After I graduated law school, I was a regulatory lawyer with the American Stock Exchange and then with the NASD (now... Read On