Cesar Omar Rodriguez of Bloomingdale Illinois a branch office manager formerly employed by Avenir Financial Group has been suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity supported by accusations that Rodriguez failed to fully pay an arbitration award to a customer. Case No. 15-02744 (Oct. 23, 2018).

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that the customer was awarded $139,989.04 in compensatory damages and $22,500.00 in punitive damages based upon Rodriguez having been found liable for effecting unauthorized trades in the customer’s account, churning the customer’s account, making misrepresentations about investments, placing the customer in unsuitable trades, stealing the customer’s funds, forging the customer’s signatures on documents, and negligently handling the customer’s account in reference to Rodriguez’s purchases of investments in the customer’s account.

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Rodriguez has already been barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon allegations that he defrauded investors. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2015044960502 (Apr. 27, 2015).

According to the AWC, between April of 2014 and January of 2015, debenture and equity interests in Bull Run Capital Holdings, LLC had been repeatedly sold by Rodriguez to customers ES, RD, SS, AC, CS and KK. Apparently, the investors had provided funds to Rodriguez to consummate the transactions. The AWC stated that customers were reportedly promised capital payments and interest from Bull Run Capital Holdings, LLC.

The AWC revealed that Rodriguez made misrepresentations to the customers in reference to the use of proceeds for Bull Run Capital Holdings, LLC. Specifically, customers who had been issued equities and senior promissory notes were evidently informed that there were several business-based uses for proceeds obtained from investors; however, in all cases there was no representation that any of the investors’ funds would be used for personal reasons.

Nevertheless, once Rodriguez obtained the investors’ funds intended for Bull Run Capital Holdings, LLC, he maintained control over the money and proceeded to use those funds to cover his own personal expenses. Evidently, a total of $173,800.00 had been accumulated from six of the investors. FINRA estimated that $77,000.00 of the $173,800.00 in funds had been improperly utilized by Rodriguez.

FINRA concluded that investors had been defrauded by Rodriguez because Rodriguez deceived investors in regard to the real use of their money and because he used the money in a manner that did not support Bull Run Capital Holdings, LLC operations. FINRA found Rodriguez’s conduct violative of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Section 10(b), Rule 10b-5, and FINRA Rules 2010, 2150, and 2020.

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Rodriguez is referenced in three customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to accusations of his violative conduct during the time that he was associated with National Securities Corporation Inc. Particularly, on February 17, 2012, a customer filed an investment related written complaint regarding Rodriguez’s activities where the customer requested unspecified damages founded on allegations that Rodriguez negligently handled the customer’s investment account and placed over-the-counter equity trades without procuring the customer’s permission.

Thereafter, on May 6, 2015, a customer filed an investment related complaint involving Rodriguez’s conduct in which the customer sought $211,000.00 in damages supported by accusations that between November of 2014 and May of 2015, Rodriguez placed unauthorized equity trades in the customer’s investment account.

On April 27, 2015, Avenir Financial Group discharged Rodriguez based upon Rodriguez having consented to defrauding investors by misusing their funds to address his personal expenses. Since January 26, 2006, Rodriguez has been associated with at least three different broker dealers who have been expelled by FINRA for misconduct or are otherwise defunct. One of them is Avenir Financial Group.

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