Richard Ernest Griffin of Cleveland Ohio, a former general securities representative with Financial America Securities, Inc., was permanently barred in any and all capacities with a FINRA regulated entity after failing to appear and provide testimony in connection with a FINRA investigation into Griffin’s outside business activities. FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 2014040737401 (May 1, 2015).

According to the Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent

Between May of 2012 and January of 2014, Ernest Griffin had engaged in 3 outside business activities. The AWC notes that Griffin had become a sales agent and vice president of a wireless cell phone carrier called Chief Wireless Officer in January of 2013. The AWC noted that in May of 2012, Griffin had become a partner and vice president in Eco Lumens LLC, where Griffin shared in the company’s profits and losses. In August of 2012, Griffin reportedly became a partner/marketer of Epoch, a firm affiliated with MAF Companies (a company which sells annuities among other types of insurance). According to the AWC, Griffin never reported his involvement with any of the aforementioned business activities to his FINRA member firm by providing the firm prior written notice – violating FINRA Rule 2010 and 3270.

Private Securities Transactions

Selling away, also known as private securities transactions or undisclosed outside business activities, occurs when a stockbroker engages or participates in the sale of securities to investors outside of the formal approval of the securities firm with whom they are associated.

As a general matter, stockbrokers are only permitted to engage in the solicitation or sale of investments and investment related products approved by their firm. However, quite frequently, stockbrokers solicit, participate, or directly engage in the sale of typically unregistered securities or investments without the approval and outside of the auspices of their firm. These investments may take on many forms, and may include the recommendation of an outside money manager, or a hedge fund, which may sometimes turn out to be a Ponzi scheme. Sometimes these outside investments may include off-shore securities, insurance trusts, stocks or ownership interests in small businesses, startup ventures, corporate debentures, mortgage notes, private placements, promissory notes, oil & gas interests, real estate partnerships, pre-IPO shares, and a variety of other investments.

According to the AWC, FINRA, pursuant to Rule 8210, sent Ernest Griffin a request on February 18, 2015, to appear for testimony based on the aforementioned outside business activities. The AWC noted that on February 18 2015, Griffin notified FINRA that he had received their request, yet he would not be appearing for testimony at any point. Consequently, FINRA found Griffin to have violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010 and moved to permanently bar Griffin.

FINRA registered representatives like Ernest Griffin who do not cooperate with FINRA’s investigations often face a permanent bar from practicing in the securities industry as such lack of cooperation violates FINRA’s Rule 8210 – requiring that no member or person shall fail to provide information or testimony or permit an inspection and copying of books, records, or accounts pursuant to the rule. FINRA typically accompanies a Rule 8210 violation with a Rule 2010 violation when individuals, according to FINRA, do not appear to observe high standards for commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

Public Disclosure Records on Ernest Griffin

Public disclosure records reveal that Ernest Griffin has been subject to at least 3 customer disputes prior to being barred from FINRA. On April 10, 1998, Griffin settled a customer dispute for $6,232.42 after a customer alleged that the activity in her account was not suitable. On June 4, 2004, Griffin settled a customer dispute for $37,500 after a client alleged that Griffin committed fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, civil conspiracy, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and failure to supervise.

Guiliano Law Group

If you have been the victim of securities fraud and you have a complaint, you should consult with an attorney. The practice of Nicholas J. Guiliano, Esq., and The Guiliano Law Group, P.C., is limited to the representation of investors in claims for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

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