George Craig Merhoff Jr. of Klamath Falls Oregon is a stockbroker currently associated with Cetera Advisors LLC who has been ordered by the Division of Financial Regulation of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to pay a thirty-five thousand dollar civil penalty and cease and desist committing violations of Oregon Securities Law based upon Merhoff’s consent to findings that he failed to supervise the firm’s business activities and engaged in improper business activities. Case No. S-17-0007-A (Aug. 10 2017).

According to the Order, in December of 2015, two of Merhoff’s customers contacted the Division of Financial Regulation to complain about Merhoff’s unsuitable investment recommendations. The customers apparently did not comprehend the risk that they were exposed to by following Merhoff’s energy-sector investment recommendations. Evidently, the customers sustained significant losses to their accounts from the decline in oil prices.

The Order stated that Merhoff was negligent by failing to make sure that his customers comprehended the risks pertaining to his investment strategy; conduct violative of ORS 59.205(2). Merhoff was ultimately placed on a heightened supervision policy as a result of his activities.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure reveals that Merhoff has been referenced in eighteen customer initiated investment related disputes containing accusations of his violative conduct during the time that he was employed with Cetera Advisors LLC. Specifically, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Merhoff’s conduct, where the customer requested $200,000.00 in damages supported by allegations that Merhoff breached his contractual and fiduciary duties, and negligently handled the customer’s equity investments. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-00915 (Apr. 11, 2017).

Subsequently, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim regarding Merhoff’s activities, in which the customer sought $100,000.00 in damages based upon accusations that the firm failed to supervise Merhoff’s activities, and that the customer’s stock portfolio was transacted upon in a negligent manner. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-01001 (Apr. 26, 2017). Then, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim involving Merhoff’s conduct, where the customer requested $200,000.00 in damages founded on allegations that unsuitable stock recommendations had been made to the customer and the customer was defrauded. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-01002 (May 8, 2017).

Between June 19, 2017 and July 28, 2017, two customers filed investment related arbitration claims regarding Merhoff’s activities, wherein the customers collectively requested $675,000.00 in damages supported by accusations that securities laws of the State of Oregon had been violated, and contractual and fiduciary obligations were breached relating to their common and preferred stock investments. FINRA Arbitration Nos. 17-01508 (June 19, 2017); 17-01939 (July 28, 2017).

Thereafter, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Merhoff’s conduct was settled for $135,000.00 in damages based upon allegations of violations of Oregon Securities Law, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty pertaining to the customer’s stock portfolio. FINRA Arbitration No. 17-00656 (Nov. 27, 2017).

Moreover, Merhoff is the subject of a customer initiated investment related written complaint, which settled on December 6, 2017 for $50,000.00 in damages founded on accusations including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence relating to equity transactions executed in the customer’s investment account.

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