Southern Trust Stockbroker Barred In Investigation

Robert Juan Escobio of Miami Florida a stockbroker formerly registered with Southern Trust Securities Inc. has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he neglected to cooperate with FINRA’s investigation into allegations of his potentially unlawful securities transactions or activities with customers of Southern Trust during the time that he was expelled by the regulator. Department of Enforcement v. Robert Juan Escobio Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2018059545201 (Feb. 5, 2020).

According to the Decision, Escobio’s lack of cooperation was egregious as he failed to respond to multiple FINRA requests for information and documentation relating to his activities which allegedly involved his engagements with customers of the securities broker dealer while statutorily disqualified. Escobio was statutorily disqualified by FINRA on July 27, 2017 because of a judgement entered against him on August 29, 2016 in which he was permanently enjoined from engaging in conduct violative of Commodity Exchange Act and ordered to refrain from registration with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Case No. I:14CV22739 (Aug. 29, 2016).

According to CFTC, who initiated the civil action resulting in the judgement against Escobio, Lorely Overseas Corp and Southern Trust Metals Inc. customers had been exposed to a fraudulent off-exchange precious metals scheme through Escobio and others. CFTC alleged that $2,600,000.00 in proceeds were accumulated by Escobio and others from at least one hundred thirty-five customers. The scheme allegedly resulted in more than $600,000.00 in losses for customers. CFTC additionally claimed that customers had been solicited and ultimately approved of purchases and sales of commodities for future delivery and commodity options during the period in which those transactions were subject of market contract requirements necessitating Escobio’s registration as a futures commission merchant. CFTC alleged that Escobio’s conduct was violative of Commodity Exchange Act.

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Escobio has been identified in five customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to allegations of his misconduct during the period in which he was employed by securities broker dealers including Dean Witter Reynolds, Prudential-Bache Securities Inc. and Capital Investment Services Inc. Specifically, Escobio is referenced in a customer initiated investment related complaint which was settled for $13,547.34 in damages supported by allegations of stock trades effected by Escobio failing to be consistent with the customer’s investment objectives or tolerance for risk, and unwarranted losses resulting from those transactions because of the stockbroker’s activities at Prudential-Bache Securities Inc.

Another customer filed an investment related complaint involving Escobio’s conduct in which the customer requested $30,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that during the time that Escobio was associated with Capital Investment Services Inc., common and preferred stock recommendations were in no way suitable for the customer, trades were made without the customer’s knowledge or consent, and the customer’s equity portfolio had been churned.

Escobio was registered with Southern Trust Securities between June 22, 2000 and July 28, 2017.