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.
Martinez-Ayme Securities and Alfredo Francisco Ayme (Principal) AWC/2009016159201/December 2009
The Firm's anti-money laundering (AML) program required the firm and Ayme to
monitor for potentially suspicious activity and AML red flags,
investigate potentially suspicious activity and
report suspicious activity by filing a Form SAR-SF with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Network.
The Firm and Ayme
failed to adequately implement or enforce its AML program and to otherwise comply with their AML obligations since they did not identify and analyze numerous transactions to determine if they were in fact suspicious, which would require them to be reported on a Form SAR-SF;
permitted suspicious activities to occur undetected and unchecked; and
failed to file SAR-SFs as appropriate.
The Firm conducted tests for compliance with applicable AML laws, rules and regulations, but these tests were not independent since they were conducted by a firm employee who performed AML functions as part of his regular job responsibilities.
Also, the Firm
acted as the placement agent for contingency securities offerings and failed to establish escrow or separate bank accounts in connection with the offerings, and investors were directed to transmit their funds directly to the issuers prior to the contingency being satisfied;
failed to satisfy the minimum contingency for one offering by the closing date, but the offering was not terminated, investor funds were not returned and the offering period was extended; and
raised additional funds but failed to send written reconfirmation offers to subscribers disclosing the extension of the offering prior to the closing date, thereby willfully violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, Rule 10b-9 thereunder and NASD Rule 2110.
Finally, the Firm used the instrumentalities of interstate commerce to conduct a securities business while failing to maintain its minimum required Net Capital.
Sicor Securities, Inc. and Gregory Lunar Merrick (Principal) AWC/2007009773001/December 2009
Acting through Merrick, the Firm failed to
prepare accurate net capital computations by erroneously treating a portion of a receivable as an allowable. As a result, the firm failed to file accurate Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) reports;
treat an arbitration award as a liability. As a result, the Firm effected transactions in securities while failing to maintain its minimum net capital requirement; and
prepare accurate net capital computations and filed an inaccurate FOCUS Part IIA Report.
Sicor Securities, Inc. Censured; Fined $10,000 (jt/sev with Merrick); Fined $20,000 additional
Gregory Lunar Merrick: Censured; Fined $10,000 (jt/sev with Sicor Sec. Inc.)
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