Regulator Bars Titus Rockefeller Stockbroker For Fraud
Andre Vincent LaBarbera of Dix Hills New York a stockbroker formerly registered with Titus Rockefeller LLC has been barred by Florida Office of Financial Regulation based upon findings that (1) LaBarbera churned customer accounts to generate commissions (2) LaBarbera effected trades that failed to be suitable for customers given their investment profiles (3) LaBarbera utilized margin without customers’ consent and (4) LaBarbera executed fraudulent transactions during the time he was associated with Titus Rockefeller. Case No. 71607-S (Apr. 30, 2019).
This is not the first time LaBarbera has been sanctioned by a regulator for egregious conduct in the securities industry. Specifically, LaBarbera has been fined $125,000.00 and barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity according to a FINRA National Adjudicatory Council Decision which affirmed a FINRA Extended Hearing Panel Decision containing findings that LaBarbera gave customers bad investment recommendations and churned accounts of Newport Securities customers. Department of Enforcement v. Andrew V. LaBarbera Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2012030564701 (June 25, 2018).
According to the Decision, customers’ objectives for investing and their financial circumstances had not been considered by LaBarbera when he executed trades in their accounts. Evidently, customers stood to gain nothing from LaBarbera’s trading; and the trades were effected without any regard for customers’ interests. FINRA noted that LaBarbera lacked an adequate foundation to conclude that the exchange traded products he recommended were appropriate for customers. FINRA found LaBarbera’s conduct violative of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Section 10(b), Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5, FINRA Rule 2020 and NASD Rule 2120.
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that LaBarbera is referenced in five customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of his violative conduct while employed with Newport Coast Securities Inc., Grant Bettingen Inc. and Stratton Oakmont Inc. Specifically, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim in regards to LaBarbera’s conduct was resolved for $25,000.00 in damages supported by accusations that during the period in which LaBarbera was employed by Stratton Oakmont, there were fraudulent omissions made to customers concerning the over-the-counter equities trades placed in their accounts; and fiduciary and contractual duties owed to the customers had been breached.
LaBarbera is also referenced in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim which settled for $25,000.00 in damages founded on allegations that contractual obligations to the customer had been breached; false or misleading statements and omissions were made; and the customer was placed into bad investments. Another customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving LaBarbera’s activities was resolved for $160,000.00 in damages based upon accusations that misrepresentations had been made to the customer concerning the terms, conditions or risks of exchange traded funds products sold to the customer while LaBarbera was associated with Grant Bettingen Inc. Also, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim concerning LaBarbera’s conduct was settled to resolve allegations that while LaBarbera was employed by Newport Coast Securities Inc., he gave the customer false or misleading information concerning securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 14-02532 (Jan. 6, 2016).
Moreover, LaBarbera is the subject of a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim where the customer requested $1,554,000.00 in damages supported by accusations that (1) fiduciary obligations to the customer were violated (2) unauthorized trades were executed in the customer’s account (3) the customer’s account was churned (4) false or misleading statements had been made to the customer with the intent that the customer be deceived and (5) the customer was defrauded on stock and over-the-counter equities trades placed in the customer’s account during the time that LaBarbera was associated with Titus Rockefeller. FINRA Arbitration No. 18-04008 (Nov. 21, 2018).
LaBarbera’s employment with Titus Rockefeller LLC has been terminated as of May 23, 2018.