Joseph Paul Woitkoski of Pittsfield Massachusetts a stockbroker formerly employed by Raymond James Associates Inc. has been fined $7,500.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon findings that Woitkoski initiated unauthorized trades in customer accounts and caused false records and books to be maintained by Raymond James in regard to his trades. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018059808101 (Aug. 21, 2020).
According to the AWC, between January 1, 2017 and August 17, 2018, approximately 900 trades had been effected by Woitkoski on a discretionary basis in 17 customer accounts at Raymond James.
Woitkoski never possessed written authorization from customers which meant that he was not permitted to trade in customer accounts without first generating pre-trade confirmation from customers on the days that trades would be made. The AWC stated that Woitkoski had not procured any written authorization from Raymond James to trade on a discretionary basis. His exercise of discretion was not discussed with the securities broker dealer.
A compliance questionnaire that Raymond James received from Woitkoski had falsely indicated that the stockbroker did not execute discretionary trades in customers’ non-fee based accounts. FINRA determined that Woitkoski’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rule 2510(b).
The AWC also revealed that between January 1, 2017 and August 17, 2018, 120 trades had been mismarked by Woitkoski as being unsolicited when the stockbroker had actually steered customers towards the transactions. In one case, more than a week had elapsed between Woitkoski’s communications with a customer and the trade which was placed. Woitkoski’s conduct in this respect was violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.
Woitkoski was discharged by Raymond James on August 17, 2018 based on him admitting to making unauthorized trades in the accounts of Raymond James customers.