investment fraud

Devin Lamarr Wicker of New York New York part owner of Bonwick Capital Partners LLC has been charged by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in a Complaint alleging that Wicker converted a customer’s funds. Department of Enforcement v. Devin Lamarr Wicker Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2016052104101 (Aug. 8, 2018).

According to the Complaint, in February of 2016, Bonwick was retained by a customer to be an underwriter for a public offering. The customer was allegedly directed in March of 2016 to pay Bonwick $50,000.00 so that Bonwick could pay a retainer to a law firm hired to counsel Bonwick for underwriting services. The Complaint stated that Wicker controlled Bonwick’s account, and was responsible for utilizing the $50,000.00 solely to pay for the law firm’s services. However, the Complaint stated that the customer’s funds were not utilized for its intended purpose. Apparently, Wicker utilized the funds to pay expenses of Bonwick instead.

The Complaint alleged that Wicker then failed to pay the law firm for the underwriting services. Particularly, FINRA Department of Enforcement contended that an invoice was provided to Bonwick from the law firm which sought the $50,000.00 retainer fee. Then, between April of 2016 and November of 2016, the customer and law firm requested on seven occasions that Bonwick either return the funds to the customer or provide the law firm with the retainer fee. Wicker apparently neglected to accommodate either the firm or the customer.

Wicker purportedly admitted to FINRA that he deliberately chose not to use the funds of the customer to pay the firm but instead opted to pay expenses of the firm. Yet, the Complaint alleged that between April 4, 2016 and November 30, 2016, Bonwick’s bank account contained an estimated $2,345,000.00 in funds. None of those funds, according to the Complaint, had been utilized to make payment to the customer or the law firm. Moreover, the Complaint stated that during that time, $440,500.00 had been withdrawn from the Bonwick bank account and placed into Wicker’s own bank account.

The Complaint then stated that in June 2016, Bonwick’s operations ceased. By February 2017, its registration with FINRA was cancelled. As of the date of the Complaint, the customer was not provided the $50,000.00 and the law firm Bonwick retained was never compensated. FINRA alleged that Wicker converted the customer’s funds in violation of FINRA Rules 2010 and 2150(a).

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that on December 21, 2016, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Wicker’s activities where the customer sought $50,000.00 in damages supported by allegations of misappropriation of the customer’s funds intended for underwriters counsel services pertaining to an initial public offering.

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