Joseph Stone Stockbroker Barred For Stockbroker Theft

Erik Patrick Pica (also known as Eric Patrick Pica) of Joseph Stone Capital LLC has been barred from associating with any Financial industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity according to a Default Decision concerning findings that (1) a customer’s funds were converted by Pica (2) the customer was provided with misleading and false information from Pica and (3) FINRA’s investigation was obstructed by Pica through his failure to provide responses to requests for his information and documentation. Department of Enforcement v. Erik Patrick Pica Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2019061947501 (Mar. 6, 2020).

According to the Decision, in February of 2019, an elderly customer’s funds had been converted by the stockbroker through his transfer of $200,000.00 from a customer’ individual retirement account into his bank account. The Decision noted that the customer had initially intended to invest in a private placement but pulled back on the decision, instructing Pica to instead place a $200,000 check in the customer’s brokerage account. The customer’s funds were instead stolen or otherwise misused by Pica to fund the purchase of a home.

FINRA revealed that steps were taken by Pica to cover up his wrongful use of the customer’s funds. The customer was falsely told that $200,000.00 had been placed back into the customer’s individual retirement account. The Decision also stated that between February of 2019 and May of 2019, Joseph Stone was lied to about the return of the customer’s funds.

Pica was subject of a FINRA investigation following the incident at which point Pica gave the regulator misleading or false information and had failed to provide documentation about a purported loan arrangement between the customer and Pica for the purchase of a Little Silver Home. The regulator indicated that Pica also failed to provide additional documentation and information in response to its requests. The stockbroker subsequently came clean by telling FINRA personnel that the customer’s funds had been directed towards the purchase of Pica’s Little Silver Home. The Decision indicated that the customer’s funds have not been returned. FINRA found Pica’s activities violative of FINRA Rules 2150, 8210 and 2010.

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Pica has been identified in seven customer initiated investment related disputes concerning accusations of his misconduct while employed by securities broker dealers including First Midwest Securities and Joseph Stone. On July 3, 2017, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim concerning Pica’s activities where the customer sought $120,000.00 in damages founded on accusations of misrepresentation and negligence relating to the customer’s over-the-counter equities transactions. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-01681. The claim also alleges the breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty by the stockbroker at Joseph Stone Capital.

On March 21, 2018, a customer filed an investment related complaint pertaining to Pica’s conduct in which the customer requested $500,000.00 in damages supported by allegations that the customer’s account was churned and that the customer had been charged excessive commissions on speculative and unsuitable securities transactions. According to the complaint, the stockbroker’s over-the-counter equities transactions were not supervised by Joseph Stone. On May 10, 2018, another customer filed an investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Pica’s conduct in which the customer requested more than $5,000.00 in damages supported by allegations of unauthorized trading by Pica during the period in which the stockbroker was employed by Joseph Stone Capital.

Pica is also the subject of a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim which was resolved for $30,000.00 in damages based upon accusations that leveraged exchange traded fund transactions failed to be suitable for the Global Arena Capital Corp customer. FINRA Arbitration No. 18-01555 (May 22, 2019). The claim alleges that the customer’s account was negligently supervised and had been overconcentrated in the alternative investments.

Pica was discharged by Joseph Stone Capital on November 7, 2019 based upon him being accused by FINRA of conversion and obstruction.