Michael Paul Lessard Jr. of Rock Hill South Carolina a stockbroker formerly employed by Southeast Investments N.C. Inc. has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that Lessard engaged in unauthorized customer loan agreements while registered with Southeast Investments N.C. Inc. and failed to repay customers. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018058520801 (Apr. 9, 2019).

According to the AWC, in December of 2016, during the time that Lessard was associated with Southeast Investments, a total of $60,000.00 had been lent to him from a customer of the firm, GJ. Apparently, GJ was an elderly investor who was not related to Lessard. Supposedly, the loan which Lessard received from GJ was not evidenced by a promissory note or any other document. The AWC stated that although a portion of the loan had been repaid to GJ by January of 2017, the balance was not timely repaid by Lessard. Critically, the loan to Lessard was never reported to Southeast Investments despite Lessard having an obligation to notify the firm. Moreover, Lessard never sought out the firm’s approval to borrow from the customer.

The AWC additionally stated that in April of 2018, another customer, CB, who was not related to Lessard, lent $22,750.00 in funds to an entity owned and managed by Lessard called Palmetto Premier Advisors, LLC. Apparently, the loan was consummated during the time Lessard was associated with Dempsey Lord Smith. Supposedly, a promissory note was signed in this case by Lessard, which called for him to make $2,000.00 in monthly payments of principal and interest to the customer between June of 2018 and July of 2018 for a total $24,000.00 repayment. However, the loan was not repaid by Lessard because of Palmetto Premier Advisors, LLC going out of business. As was the case with the loan with GJ, Lessard did not notify his securities broker dealer employer about the loan with CB, and Lessard did not request permission from the firm to borrow CB’s funds.

FINRA indicated that stockbrokers were disallowed from borrowing from customers unless both the firm allowed the type of arrangement and the stockbroker apprised the firm about the arrangement and procured the firm’s authorization in writing. FINRA found that Lessard’s unauthorized borrowing arrangements were violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 3240. Consequently, Lessard was barred from the securities industry.

This is not the first time that Lessard has been sanctioned by FINRA for engaging in misconduct in the securities industry. In particular, Lessard has been fined $10,000.00 and suspended from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that while he was associated with MetLife, Lessard forged a customer’s signature on an application for a fixed annuity, and then made false statements in the firm’s databases regarding his contact with the customer. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2014042703401 (Mar. 14, 2016). FINRA found Lessard’s activities in this regard to be violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.

FINRA Public Disclosure further confirms that Lessard has been terminated from two securities broker dealers and one investment advisory supported by accusations of his misconduct. Particularly, on September 5, 2014, Lessard was discharged by MetLife founded on allegations of him violating the firm’s record keeping policies and forging customer documents. Lessard was subsequently discharged by Dempsey Lord Smith LLC on May 9, 2018 based upon accusations of Lessard borrowing customer funds without the firm’s approval – and particularly after the firm informed Lessard that it was investigating his possible violations of firm policy based on him borrowing from another customer. Thereafter, Lessard was terminated by Palmetto Premier Advisors supported by allegations of Lessard’s impermissible borrowing of a customer’s funds and defaulting on the loan.

Moreover, Lessard is referenced in a customer initiated investment related written complaint on May 9, 2018 where the customer sought unspecified damages founded on accusations that while Lessard was associated with Southeast Investments, Lessard, inter alia, failed to repay customer funds that were privately lent to him.

The information contained herein has been obtained from reliable sources however may not be accurate and is not guaranteed by us. Readers are encouraged to undertake their own independent investigation and evaluation of the relevant facts. All claims and allegations are subject to adjudication, decisions may be subject to appeal, and no inference is intended, nor should any inference be made from any information contained herein from any source.

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