Christopher Lawrence Wacker, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, a stockbroker with Park Avenue Securities was fined $5,000.00 and suspended for two months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity after consenting to findings that he had made misrepresentations concerning trading authority in customer accounts. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2014041510201 (July 15, 2016).

According to the AWC, from July of 2011 through July of 2012, while Wacker was associated with Park Avenue Securities, he had worked in the firm’s Brookfield office along with another registered representative, DD. During this time, Wacker was the only licensed individual in the office that was able to execute equity transactions on behalf of customers.

Apparently, DD employed an assistant, JV, to provide DD with administrative support for withdrawal transactions requested by customers. The AWC noted that JV was given access by DD to specific client information regarding accounts held with the firm, as well as information pertaining to the balances, holdings and account activity associated with such accounts.

The AWC stated that from August of 2010 through December of 2013, a total of $255,300.00 was misappropriated by JV from two of the firm’s customer accounts which were managed by DD. One of the customers referenced in the AWC was an elderly investor, VS, whom opened an IRA account with Park Avenue Securities back in 2007.

The AWC stated that from August of 2010 through September of 2012, thirty-one wire transactions were effected by JV, totaling an estimated $100,000.00, from the account of VS. Reportedly, JV presented some of these unauthorized and fabricated wire transfer requests to Wacker to approve, where such requests were designed to prompt the sale of VS’s securities. The AWC stated that VS had not provided consent in any of the aforementioned orders to sell the securities.

FINRA found that during the aforementioned period, Wacker was responsible for confirming all of the terms pertaining to a customer’s order ticket by directly interacting with the customer. However, as stated in the AWC, Wacker made false statements verbally to the firm’s trading desk personnel concerning the orders that JV presented.

The AWC reported that Wacker represented to the firm’s trading desk that he had conversations with VS. However, FINRA found that Wacker’s statements were false as he never actually spoke with VS, nor did VS ever communicate to the firm’s staff the intent to sell any of VS’s securities.

In one example, on July 5, 2011, a fake order ticket was presented to the trading desk for the sale of forty-eight shares in Abbott Laboratories. Apparently, the trading desk was told by Wacker that the customer had contacted the firm in the morning, and that Wacker had spoken with the client. Wacker purportedly told the trading desk that customer VS wanted to sell the equity positions. FINRA found Wacker’s statements to be false.

In another example, on July 12, 2012, a fake order ticket had been presented to the firm’s trading desk concerning the sale of seventy-five shares of Hospira, Inc. The AWC stated that Wacker claimed to the trading desk that customer VS had just called in, and that Wacker had spoken with the customer. Wacker claimed to the trading desk that the customer requested the sale of such securities, and also instructed the trading desk that the trade was unsolicited. Again, FINRA found that Wacker’s statements were false.

FINRA noted four additional occasions in the AWC in which Wacker made false statements concerning fake order tickets to sell equity securities in VS’s account. In all of these occasions, FINRA found that Wacker never actually spoke with the client, and the client never authorized the transactions. FINRA found that Wacker’s aforementioned representations constituted violations of FINRA Rule 2010.

Prior to FINRA’s disciplinary action which resulted in Wacker’s suspension and fine, public disclosure records reveal that on May 1, 2015, Park Avenue Securities terminated Wacker amid allegations that he did not follow the regulatory guidelines when communicating customer specific trades with the firm’s trade desk.

Guiliano Law Group

Our practice is limited to the representation of investors. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you. There is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information, contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

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