Enforcement Actions
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
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.
December 2011
Thomas William Scanlon
AWC/2010024313001/December 2011
Scanlon impersonated customers and a registered representative in order to obtain confidential customer information from his former member firm

Scanlon made telephone calls to his former firm’s customer service line in order to obtain confidential customer information concerning certain of his former clients accounts still maintained at that firm. Scanlon was no longer the agent of record on the customer accounts and, therefore, was not entitled to access to this confidential information. Scanlon made a number of telephone calls to his former firm’s customer service line in which he impersonated the registered representative at that firm who had been assigned to a number of Scanlon’s former customer accounts. Scanlon sought the confidential customer information in order to facilitate discussion during his upcoming meetings with the customers about possibly transferring their accounts to his new employer member firm.
Thomas William Scanlon: Fined $7,500; Suspended 3 months
Tags:  Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
November 2011
Harmik Sarian
AWC/2010022545001/November 2011

Sarian impersonated customers via telephone in order to effect transactions in their accounts. He signed a relative’s name on a brokerage account withdrawal form to effect a transaction in the account.

Harmik Sarian: Fined $6,000; suspended 90 days
Tags:  Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Nathaniel Aaron Finkin
AWC/2009020132901/November 2011
Finkin's customer submitted an application to the firm for a mortgage, term loan, and line of credit, and as part of the application process, the firm retained an outside law firm to engage in negotiations on the term of the loans with the customer’s counsel. Finkin sent fabricated emails to various individuals involved in the negotiations, including the customer’s counsel, and each of the emails instructed the recipients to contact Finkin with any questions or concerns; Finkin sent the emails from his personal email account in a way that made the messages appear to the recipient to be from a paralegal at the outside law firm, and not Finkin.
Finkin failed to comply with a FINRA request for a document.
Nathaniel Aaron Finkin: Barred
Tags:  Banks    Email    Impersonation    Mortgage     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Richard Edwin Lenhardt Jr.
AWC/2009019388001/November 2011

Lenhardt directed an associate to use personal information of some of Lenhardt’s customers to establish online access to their accounts at another firm, and through that access, obtain value and performance information relating to whole life insurance policies that the customers held at that firm. Although the purpose for obtaining the information was to include it in personalized financial reports that were prepared for the customers, the access to their accounts and insurance policy information was obtained without the customers’ knowledge or consent.

Richard Edwin Lenhardt Jr.: Fined $5,000; Suspended 2 months
Tags:  Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
July 2011
David Lewis Tieger
AWC/2009018325701/July 2011

Tieger  convinced his junior partner to call an annuity company and impersonate his relative for the purpose of confirming a $275,000 withdrawal from one of the relative’s variable annuity contracts.

The relative attempted to make a distribution from his variable annuity and after growing frustrated with the withdrawal process, instructed Tieger to take care of it. After multiple requests, Tieger’s junior partner agreed to make the telephone call using the relative’s cellular phone, spoke to the annuity company representative and, pretending to be Tieger’s relative, asked the representative to process the contract withdrawal. The junior partner answered the representative’s questions by reading from a script that Tieger had prepared.  Tieger watched the junior partner’s call from outside a glass conference room.

After Tieger left the office building, the junior partner called the representative back to inform him that he was not the relative and that he had called because someone standing next to him asked him to impersonate the relative.

David Lewis Tieger : Fined $5,000; Suspended 30 business days
Tags:  Impersonation    Variable Annuity     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . this is an edgy one. Tieger was wrong -- no question about that; however, the circumstances are somewhat compelling.  The dalliances of many annuity companies are well known and getting a distribution may often be akin to pulling teeth.

Regardless, I don't condone Tieger's short-cut and fully appreciate the attendant regulatory concerns. Nonetheless, the $5,000 fine I get. The 30-day suspension? I dunno, that's seems a bit heavy handed given the unique facts. Still, I'm not going to lose sleep over the 30-days because it's not so over-the-top but if I were on a hearing panel and this one came before me (keep in mind that this was a settled, non-hearing matter), I might have been satisfied with five days or a straight 30 calendar days.

March 2011
Dane Carl Sternecker
AWC/2009016781201/March 2011

Sternecker attempted to determine a customer’s total amount of investments without the customer’s knowledge or consent. Sternecker called a representative at another investment firm and inquired about the customer’s investments at that firm. Sternecker requested a firm office assistant to impersonate the customer and authorize the representative at the other firm to provide Sternecker with information about the customer over the phone. As part of the impersonation, the office assistant answered security questions about the customer from information the customer provided to Sternecker earlier; the security answers provided by the office assistant induced the other firm’s representative to provide Sternecker with the customer’s investment information.

The office assistant reported the impersonation to her manager, which led to an internal investigation and after Sternecker admitted to his misconduct, the firm terminated him.

Dane Carl Sternecker : Fined $5,000; Suspended 30 business days
Tags:  Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Ah, the old I though I could trust my sales assistant gambit. As you can see, that reliance is often misplaced. 
Jordan Anne Arnold
AWC/2009018327001/March 2011
Arnold  participated in a scheme to obtain confidential information and documentation regarding insurance policies by impersonating policy owners during calls with insurance companies. In connection with a review of certain customer life insurance policies, Arnold and another individual called insurance companies even though neither were agents of record on the policies or otherwise entitled to have access to that information. Arnold impersonated different insurance policy owners in order to obtain the information and documentation so that the other individual could perform a review analysis of the policies.
Jordan Anne Arnold : Barred
Tags:  Insurance    Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
February 2011
Martin Dean White Sr. (Principal)
AWC/2008012577601/February 2011

As President of his member firm, White permitted the creation and dissemination of misleading sales and advertising materials to various state securities regulators in an effort to draw scrutiny to a business established by former registered representatives who left the firm to start their own business selling oil and gas interests. White made it appear as if the documents had been generated by an entity the former registered representatives established. A firm employee drafted and assembled the mailings to create the appearance that an officer or employee of the former registered representatives’ new business had generated and authorized the mailings. The mailings contained a cover letter drafted to draw regulators’ interest to the former registered representatives’ entity.

The mailings appeared to be from the former registered representatives’ entity, listed the name of an officer or employee of the entity, contained a return address of the entity on the envelopes used in the mailings, included printouts from the entity’s website, provided an executive memorandum, and also provided a “Confidential Private Placement Memorandum” and “Subscription Agreement” which both listed the former registered representatives’ new business throughout the documentation.

Martin Dean White Sr. (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 3 months
Tags:  Impersonation    Communications     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Talk about getting hoisted on your own petard.  Frankly, a three-month suspension for this type of sabotage strikes me as far too light.  Competition is one thing. White's conduct went way, way over the line.
Philip Michael O’Hearn (Principal)
AWC/2010022804601/February 2011
O’Hearn placed a phone call to an insurance company’s customer service call center asking for information about a customers’ policy and falsely identified himself as the representative assigned to the life insurance policy, providing the agent of record’s name and agent number. O’Hearn also provided the service agent with the customers’ updated mailing address, and requested that the agent send certain policy information to them.
Philip Michael O’Hearn (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 10 business days
Tags:  Impersonation     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Enforcement Actions