Crown Capital Broker Caught In Alternative Investment Scheme

Investment Fraud

Thomas Edward Burns III of Orange California a stockbroker currently registered with Crown Capital Securities LP has been fined $7,500.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he was negligent in his confirmation of customer assets on customers’ alternative investment account documentation causing his firm to maintain inaccurate records and books. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2016050828001 (Feb. 12, 2019).

According to the AWC, from August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016, a total of nineteen Alternative Investment Forms had been completed by Burns for six customers’ household accounts. Apparently, these Forms had been riddled with improper classifications of customers’ holdings and other computational errors that FINRA found to be negligently made by Burns.

Specifically, FINRA indicated that Burns counted a customers’ outside assets twice; failed to correctly add customers’ holdings up to determine the net worth of the customers; unreasonably classified guaranteed income from social security or a pension as assets of the customer; and possibly intentionally understated customers’ alternative investment holdings. Apparently, Burns either failed to accurately state the value of rental holdings or tenant-in-common holdings, or failed to correctly classify the holdings as alternative investments. The AWC stated that Crown Capital Securities maintained inaccurate records and books because of Burns’ erroneous entries regarding customers’ assets. FINRA found Burns’ conduct violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.

This is not the first time that Burns has been sanctioned by a securities regulator for engaging in misconduct. Particularly, Burns was fined $5,000.00 and suspended by National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) based upon his consent to findings that while employed by Crown Capital Securities LP, Burns did not timely inform the firm about a customer’s tenant-in-common purchase, causing the firm to maintain inaccuracies in its records and books. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. E0220040124-03 (Feb. 13, 2016).

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Burns has been identified in seven customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to accusations of his misconduct while employed with Crown Capital Securities LP and Titan Value Equities Group Inc. Specifically, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Burns’ conduct was resolved for $35,000.00 in damages founded on allegations of the customer being placed in a limited partnership product that was not suitable for the customer, causing the customer to suffer unwarranted poor performance. NASD Arbitration No. 00-01846 (Jan. 15, 2002).

Subsequently, on February 14, 2013, a customer initiated investment related complaint involving Burns’ activities was settled for $19,719.00 in damages based upon accusations that equity and options transactions were effected in the customer’s account that were neither suitable nor authorized by the customer; the customer’s signature had been forged on an option agreement; and the customer’s suitability information was changed without the customer’s consent.

Additionally, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim concerning Burns’ conduct was resolved for $32,589.94 in damages supported by allegations that fiduciary duties owed to the customer were breached; omissions had been made concerning investment risks; inappropriate real estate investment trust products were sold to the customer; and Crown Capital Securities LP failed to supervise the customer’s account activities. FINRA Arbitration No. 15-00785 (June 10, 2015). Moreover, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim regarding Burns’ activities was settled to resolve accusations that Burns executed transactions in the customer’s account that were not suitable for the customer; committed elder abuse; and engaged in fraudulent activities in regard to the customer’s private placement and real estate investment trust purchases. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-00822 (Feb. 28, 2018).

Burns has been registered with Crown Capital Securities LP since July 27, 1999.