NJ Bureau of Securities

John C. Howley (also known as Jack C. Howley) of Rumson, New Jersey, a stockbroker formerly registered with Park Avenue Securities has been fined $85,000.00 by New Jersey Bureau of Securities based upon allegations that Howley recommended unregistered securities. (Dec. 29, 2021).   According to the Revocation Order:

  • From at least 2016 through 2018 (“Relevant Period”), while acting as an agent of Park A venue Securities (“Park A venue”) and an insurance agent of Guardian Life Insurance, Howley offered and sold unregistered securities in Global Credit Recovery, LLC (“GCR”) in violation of Park Avenue’s Written Supervisory Procedures (“WSPs”). GCR, an entity founded and managed by Kevin Merrill (“Merrill”), was ultimately determined to have been a fraudulent investment scheme.
  • In mid-September 2018, Merrill was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the United States District of Maryland and GCR was exposed as a $364-million Ponzi scheme. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) commenced a parallel civil action against Merrill and GCR, in which Merrill and others agreed to permanent injunctive relief with penalties and disgorgement to be determined by the Court at a later date. The GCR Securities became worthless overnight, and Merrill plead guilty and was eventually sentenced to 22 years in prison and ordered to pay at least $189 million in victim restitution, and civilly forfeit certain assets. After learning of Merrill’s arrest, Howley disclosed to Park A venue and Guardian that he had personally purchased GCR Securities and recommended them to his clients in violation offmn policy, Park Avenue and Guardian terminated Howley’s affiliation with them.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure shows that Howley was barred by FINRA in September 2019 because he failed to testify in connection with FINRA’s investigation of this matter. FINRA Enforcement (AWC) No. 2018060502601 (Sept. 9, 2019).

According to the AWC, on November 13, 2018, Park Avenue Securities LLC filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) with FINRA, indicating that the firm discharged Howley due to allegations that Howley violated firm rules by referring clients to outside investments and failing to disclose outside private securities transactions. FINRA began an investigation into Howley based on the allegations contained in the Form U5 as a result. In connection with the investigation, FINRA sent Howley a request for testimony on July 29, 2019. Through his counsel, Howley indicated that he received FINRA’s request but would not appear for testimony at any time. Howley violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210 as a result.

On September 28, 2021, Howley was fined $30,000.00 and barred by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) based upon allegations that Howley violated federal securities laws.  including Securities Exchange Act.  Administrative Proceeding No. 3-20605.   According to the SEC Complaint, from late 2016 through September 2018, Howley suggested that his brokerage customers consider investing in securities
offered by Global Credit Recovery LLC (“GCR”), advised them as to the merits of investing in GCR, and helped some of them obtain loans to fund their investments.

Howley also appears to have cost Park Avenue Securities more than $3 million to settle the claims of his customers.

FINRA Public Disclosure shows that Howley is referenced in twelve (12) customer initiated investment related disputes concerning Howley’s conduct and the sale of Global Credit Recovery LLC while associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC. On March 3, 2007, a customer initiated investment related FINRA securities arbitration claim involving Howley’s conduct was settled for $155,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Howley breached a fiduciary duty, was negligent, made unsuitable transactions, and violated securities laws relating to the recommendation and sale of mutual funds and insurance products when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC. FINRA Arbitration No. 05-6641.

On October 7, 2019, a customer initiated investment related FINRA securities arbitration claim involving Howley’s conduct was settled for $1,952,237.73 in damages based upon allegations that Howley engaged in fraud in connection with the recommendation and sale of Global Credit Recovery LLC when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 18-03968.

A similar complaint was also settled on October 8, 2019 for $708,488.40 in damages based upon allegations that Howley made unsuitable transactions in connection with the recommendation and sale of insurance products and private equity ventures when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC.  On October 8, 2019, a complaint involving Howley’s conduct was settled for $975,240.91 in damages based upon allegations that Howley committed sales practice violations concerning the recommendation and sale of insurance products and private equity ventures when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities.

Howley is also referenced in a FINRA securities arbitration claim that was settled for $288,284.30 in damages based upon allegations that Howley committed sales practice violations with regard to the recommendation and sale of private equity investments when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-00630 (Nov. 11, 2019).

On November 11, 2019, a complaint involving Howley’s conduct was settled for $1,032,668.47 in damages based upon allegations that Howley committed sales practice violations relating to the recommendation and sale of private equity ventures when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC.

Howley is also referenced in a civil action that was settled for $880,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Howley committed sales practice violations in connection with the recommendation and sale of private equity ventures when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities. Civil Action No. MON-L-001088-19 (Dec. 5, 2019).

On January 7, 2020, a FINRA securities arbitration claim involving Howley’s conduct was settled for $236,458.33 in damages based upon allegations that Howley committed sales practice violations with regard to the recommendation and sale of insurance products and private equity ventures when Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-00630.

John Howley was associated with Park Avenue Securities LLC  from May 3, 1999 to November 13, 2018.