SEC Bars Concorde Stockbroker For Fraud
Larry Steven Werbel of Chagrin Falls Ohio a stockbroker formerly registered with Concorde Investment Services LLC has been barred by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from being a stockbroker or investment adviser representative or otherwise associating with securities broker dealers or investment advisories according to an Order Instituting Administrative Proceedings Pursuant To Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Section 203(f) based on findings of Werbel engaging in fraud. In the Matter of Larry Werbel Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-18537 (June 8, 2018).
According to the Order, SEC’s decision to bar Werbel was based largely on the fact that Werbel pleaded guilty to committing investment adviser fraud, conduct violative of 15 U.S.C. § 80b-6; and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conduct violative of 18 U.S.C. § 371. United States v. Larry Werbel Case No. 1:15-CR-00171 (Sept. 15, 2017).
According to the Order, Werbel introduced customers of his advisory, Evolution Partners Wealth Management LLC, to a company, VGTel Inc. and advised them that they should invest in that company. Apparently, at the time Werbel’s recommendations were made, Werbel omitted that he was being paid to make those recommendations. Particularly, Werbel had an arrangement with another defendant, Ed Durant, for Werbel to be paid for making VGTel Inc. recommendations to investors. Apparently, those investors were instructed to make the payments to a company Ed Durant controlled, New Market Enterprises. SEC indicated that all the while, Werbel knew he was engaging in wrongful conduct with a convicted felon pertaining to their agreement involving his solicitation of VGTel Inc. investments.
This is not the first time that Werbel has been sanctioned by a securities regulator. Specifically, Werbel has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity supported by accusations that Werbel disregarded FINRA’s request for information about Werbel’s activities. Case No. 2014042949701 (Aug. 16, 2016). Apparently, Werbel was initially suspended by FINRA for failing to cooperate. By the time Werbel received his Suspension from Association letter from FINRA, he was reportedly made aware of his suspension potentially converting to a bar from the securities industry if not for Werbel cooperating with FINRA’s requests or otherwise requesting that his suspension be lifted. FINRA revealed that Werbel failed to cooperate by the August 15, 2016 deadline. Accordingly, Werbel was barred the following day.
FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Werbel is referenced in seven customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to allegations of his violative conduct while employed with Summit Brokerage Services, Evolution Partners LLC, Concorde Investment Services LLC, and LPL Financial LLC. In particular, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim regarding Werbel’s activities was resolved for $185,138.61 in damages founded on accusations against Werbel of defrauding the customer, selling away from Summit Brokerage Services, and converting the customer’s assets in reference to a VGTel Inc. penny stock transaction. FINRA Arbitration No. 14-02891 (Jan. 26, 2016).
On October 3, 2016, a customer initiated investment related complaint regarding Werbel’s conduct was settled for $17,000.00 in damages based upon allegations of omissions being made to the customer concerning the terms and conditions of speculative trading strategy, and inappropriate investment recommendations being made to the customer concerning penny stocks.
Then, on October 27, 2016, a customer initiated investment related complaint concerning Werbel’s activities was resolved for $60,000.00 in damages supported by accusations of Werbel’s misconduct as referenced in an indictment filed in the United States District Court in regard to the customer’s VGTel Inc. transaction. Thereafter, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Werbel’s conduct was settled for $48,580.00 in damages founded on allegations that while Werbel was associated with LPL Financial LLC, Werbel made investment recommendations to the customer that were unsuitable and caused the customer to incur unwarranted losses. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-01232 (Feb. 9, 2017).
Also, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim concerning Werbel’s activities was resolved for $125,000.00 in damages based upon accusations that Concorde Investments LLC neglected to supervise Werbel’s activities; the customer’s account was negligently administered; and the customer was placed into an investment that was not suitable. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02883 (July 27, 2017).
Moreover, Werbel was named in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim where the customer was awarded $595,000.00 in compensatory damages and $250,000.00 in punitive damages based on Werbel having been found liable on the customer’s claims of fraud, negligence, and breach of the duty of loyalty in regard to the customer’s New Market Enterprises, Q Lotus, and VGTel Inc. – worthless securities that Werbel advised the customer to purchase. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02100 (Mar. 22, 2018).
Werbel was terminated from Concorde Investment Services supported by allegations that he was indicted for committing fraud against investors.