FINRA Fines Cetera Broker For Unauthorized Transactions

Choosri Lao of Tinley Park Illinois is a stockbroker formerly registered with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC who has been fined five thousand dollars and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that Choosri made investment recommendations and facilitated customers’ alternative investment transactions despite having no authorization from the firm. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2015048340302 (Mar. 5 2018).

According to the AWC, between January of 2013 and April of 2014, Lao took part in thirty-two alternative investment transactions being executed for twenty-six Cetera Advisor Networks customers. Apparently, throughout this period, Lao was not employed with Cetera, but instead utilized the firm’s registered representative RH to effect real estate investment trust and business development company transactions in the customers’ accounts.

The AWC stated that in certain cases, Lao was tasked with determining whether alternative investments were suitable for customers and would make recommendations for customers to invest. Lao reportedly completed paperwork for customers to effect transactions and deliver those documents to RH so that the transactions were entered within Cetera under RH’s name. Lao was reportedly compensated $102,000.00 by RH as a result of Lao’s activities. Evidently, the compensation arrangement between Lao and RH was to address Lao’s alternative investment training and education; however, it was acknowledged that Lao’s compensation was due to her contributions towards RH’s sales activities.

Lao eventually became employed with Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC on May 10, 2015, but was fired on December 21, 2015 based upon allegations that Lao utilized unauthorized communication vehicles to effectuate securities transactions and failed to comply with Cetera through an investigation into her activities. Lao was later associated with KCD Financial, Inc. between March 25, 2016 and April 3, 2017.

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