Marcus Kovac Moon, of Miramar, Florida, a stockbroker registered with NYLife Securities LLC, has been charged by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a Complaint alleging that Moon made improper recommendations and engaged in securities business without the proper registration. SEC v. Marcus K. Moon, Complaint No. 0:23-cv-60715 (April 17, 2023).

The Complaint filed by SEC against Moon accuses him of offering investment advisory and brokerage services in an improper manner through two alter ego entities known as Increase Financial Strategies LLC and Faith Financial Strategies. Allegedly, the primary targets of these services were African American investors of the Christian Faith.

Moon purportedly falsely presented himself as a financial services professional with multiple registrations in the financial services industry, and he portrayed Increase Financial Strategies LLC as a brokerage firm through his website, networking groups, and social media pages. SEC claims that these representations were untrue, as Increase Financial Strategies LLC had never been registered with SEC or FINRA in any capacity.

The Complaint also alleges that although Moon was employed by NYLife Securities LLC, he only had a license to sell certain financial products, such as variable annuities, mutual funds, variable life insurance, municipal funds, and unit investment trusts. He did not have licenses to trade other securities or provide investment advisory services. Despite this, Moon allegedly offered his financial services to investors without the knowledge or approval of NYLife Securities LLC.

SEC claims that through Increase Financial Strategies LLC, Moon entered into Brokerage Account Service Agreements with investors, where he provided brokerage and advisory services in exchange for fees. He allegedly instructed his customers to open brokerage accounts with online platforms and requested access credentials to their accounts. SEC alleges that Moon personally accessed these accounts and conducted stock transactions on behalf of his customers, and when one securities broker dealer closed customers’ accounts due to suspicious activity, Moon advised his customers to open new accounts with different online trading platforms.

As a result of Moon’s trading activities, SEC alleges that customers collectively incurred approximately $31,800 in losses.

SEC alleges that Moon violated Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Section 15(a)(1), Securities Act of 1933 Sections 17(a)(2) and (3), and Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Section 206(2).

On January 18, 2022, Moon was barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity because Moon failed to respond to FINRA’s request for information. FINRA Case No. 2021070787701. Moon was initially issued a Notice of Suspension letter on October 12, 2021, and issued a Suspension from Association letter on November 5, 2021. Moon did not request the termination of his suspension within three months from the Notice of Suspension, resulting in an automatic bar by the regulator.

One may ask why the SEC would file a complaint involving $31,800 in investor damages.

The answer may be because of they do not who else will.   Seasoned securities lawyers may be unlikely to accept a $31,800 claim.

FINRA could have brought a disciplinary action against Moon, or even against NYLife, under a theory of the failure to supervise, and ordered restitution.  But they did not.  FINRA Public Disclosure shows that a customer of NYLife Securities LLC filed an investment related complaint regarding Moon’s conduct on November 1, 2022, where the customer requested compensatory damages based upon allegations that Moon recommended stocks and cryptocurrencies which poorly performed and then failed to repay customer funds.

NYLife denied this claim,  notwithstanding what we now all know.

Moon was associated with NYLife Securities LLC in Miramar, Florida, as a securities broker from May 25, 2017, to March 22, 2021.