Christopher Richard Barone of Cleveland Ohio the former president and Chief Compliance Officer of America Northcoast 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 doctored documents which he provided to FINRA personnel in regard to his supervision of stockbroker’s trades in America Northcoast Securities customer accounts. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2016050912001 (Jan. 23, 2020).

According to the AWC, from January 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017, Barone was President and Chief Compliance Officer of American Northcoast and his duties included reviewing trades placed by his subordinate stockbrokers on a monthly basis. The AWC stated that Barone’s supervision was deficient, and he attempted to conceal that on more than one occasion with FINRA personnel.

Specifically, on November 29, 2016, Barone was contacted by FINRA in regard to his failure to report municipal transactions executed by stockbrokers of the securities broker dealer. He was asked by the regulator at that time to evidence his review of the trades. The AWC stated that Barone’s response was illegitimate. FINRA was provided with spreadsheets purporting to show that he engaged in a monthly supervisory review of trades, but those spreadsheets had been doctored by him.

The AWC stated that in 2017, after FINRA grew suspicious of Barone’s alterations of documents, he was asked to produce all information pertaining to his supervisory reviews in 2016. FINRA stated that it received more altered documents from Barone in response. Particularly, Barone omitted the dates when he conducted a search to conceal when the reviews were undertaken. He also postdated documents and affixed his signature on them to make it seem as though the documents were signed and dated at an earlier point. FINRA found Barone’s conduct violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210.

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Barone has been identified in six customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to accusations of his violative conduct while employed with America Northcoast. Specifically, Barone is the subject of a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim which was resolved for $252,000.00 in damages founded on accusations including unauthorized trading, failure to supervise, breach of fiduciary duty, unsuitability, negligence, and violation of FINRA rules in regard to leveraged exchange traded funds transactions effected in the customer’s account. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-01026 (Aug. 2, 2017).

Another customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Barone’s conduct was settled for $242,000.00 in damages supported by allegations of exchange traded funds transactions being executed without the customer’s knowledge or consent, a fiduciary duty being violated by the stockbroker, and trades failing to comport with the customer’s objectives for investing or tolerance for risk. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-01197 (Aug. 10, 2017). Also, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Barone’s conduct has settled for $162,500.00 in damages based upon allegations of America Northcoast failing to reasonably supervise the customer’s account, transactions running afoul of FINRA rules, and fiduciary obligations being breached with respect to the leveraged exchange traded fund transactions which led the customer to experience unwarranted investment losses. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02216 (Nov. 15, 2017).

In addition, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Barone’s conduct was resolved for $70,000.00 in damages based upon accusations of unauthorized and unsuitable leveraged exchange traded funds trades, negligent administration of the customer’s account, and the failure to supervise the customer’s account transactions. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-00156 (Jan. 19, 2018).

Between April 12, 2018 and May 9, 2018, Barone was associated with Mariner Investment Group.

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