Donnie Eugene Ingram (also known as Don Ingram), of Winter Haven, Florida, a stockbroker registered with Centaurus Financial Inc., has been fined $15,000.00 and suspended for six months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity because Ingram made unsuitable investment recommendations. Department of Enforcement v. Ingram et al., Order Accepting Offer of Settlement, No. 2018057298701 (May 5, 2023).
According to the Order, Ingram lacked a reasonable basis to recommend customers’ purchases of alternative investments and unit investment trusts.
Rather than recommending fee-based units of the same UIT, Ingram advised customers to purchase standard version units that incurred such charges. FINRA stated that Ingram knew that his customers would have benefited from lower costs by opting for fee based UITs. Still, Ingram deliberately recommended and purchased standard version UITs for his own financial gain. Customers incurred more than $300,000.00 in unnecessary expenses because of him.
The Order also stated that Ingram advised customers to buy alternative investments through his employer, resulting in selling commissions. However, had he recommended that customers purchase the same alternative investments through his investment advisory, Ingram Advisory Services LLC, these selling commissions could have been avoided. Ingram intentionally recommended and purchased alternative investments through his member firm for his own financial gain.
FINRA found that Ingram lacked an adequate basis to recommend that his customers purchase the pricier standard version UITs and acquire alternative investments through the securities broker dealer. Therefore, Ingram violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 2111.
FINRA Public Disclosure shows that Ingram is referenced in nine customer initiated investment related disputes concerning Ingram’s conduct while associated with securities broker dealers, including Investors Capital Corp. On August 29, 2017, a customer initiated investment related FINRA securities arbitration claim involving Ingram’s conduct was settled for $45,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Ingram made unsuitable recommendations of corporate bonds and direct investments. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02304.
On August 29, 2017, a customer initiated investment related FINRA securities arbitration claim involving Ingram’s conduct was settled for $200,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Ingram made unsuitable recommendations of corporate bonds, stocks, and real estate securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02238.
Ingram is also referenced in a customer initiated investment related FINRA securities arbitration claim that was settled for $46,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Ingram made unsuitable recommendations of corporate bonds, stocks, and real estate securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 16-02599 (August 29, 2017).
Ingram’s registration with Centaurus Financial Inc. was terminated on October 1, 2020.