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Brian Michael Berger of Boca Raton Florida a stockbroker formerly registered with Newbridge Securities Corporation has been barred from being a stockbroker or investment advisor or otherwise associating with securities broker dealers or investment advisors according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Initial Decision of Default containing findings that Berger defrauded investors. In the Matter of Brian Michael Berger Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-18129 (Feb. 5, 2019).

According to the Decision, Berger serviced the account of a Wells Fargo customer whose account contained a suspicious withdrawal. Apparently, a withdrawal of $102,500.00 had been executed from the customer’s investment account wherein the funds had been transferred to a credit card owned by Berger.

The Decision stated that another customer of Wells Fargo had been victim to Berger’s conduct. Evidently, a total of $175,000.00 had been transferred out of the customer’s investment account without the customer’s knowledge. Those funds were reportedly utilized by Berger to pay down Berger’s credit card. Evidently, after Wells Fargo learned about Berger’s misconduct, it promptly discharged Berger. However, this did not stop the customer from moving an account at Wells Fargo to MetLife, where Berger was later registered. Supposedly, Berger told that customer that the accusations of Berger’s misconduct were baseless with respect to the missing customer funds.

Evidently, another customer who fell victim to Berger’s conduct held accounts at MetLife. While Berger was associated with MetLife, he reportedly steered a customer towards effecting investment transactions outside MetLife’s auspices. SEC found that there was no such thing as the investment opportunities Berger represented to the customer. Apparently, this customer provided $25,000.00 to Berger for an investment that Berger never made; he pocked the customer’s $25,000.00 funds for his personal use.

Evidently, Berger pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud; conduct violative of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. United States v. Brian M. Berger Case No. 9:16-CR-80167DTKH-1 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 22, 2016). Subsequently, Berger was given an eighteen month prison sentence and required to hand over $372,643.00 in restitution to victims of his fraudulent conduct.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure reveals that Berger has been barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon findings that Berger obstructed a FINRA investigation into allegations of his misappropriation of customer funds while employed by MetLife Securities Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2015045725201 (July 25, 2015). FINRA found Berger’s conduct violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210.

Berger is referenced in four customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to accusations of Berger’s violative conduct during the time that he was associated with MSI Financial Services Inc. and Wells Fargo Advisors LLC. In particular, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Berger’s conduct was resolved for $13,500.00 in damages founded on allegations that transactions placed in the customer’s account were in no way suitable for the customer given the customer’s financial circumstances; and misrepresentations had been made to the customer pertaining to the equity investments held in the customer’s investment portfolio. FINRA Arbitration No. 11-01455 (Aug. 5, 2011).

On July 7, 2015, another customer initiated investment related complaint involving Berger’s conduct was resolved for $186,474.44 in damages supported by allegations that unauthorized payments had been made against the customer’s brokerage account by Berger. Then, on August 20, 2015, a customer initiated investment related complaint regarding Berger’s activities was settled for $231,136.70 in damages based upon accusations that the customer’s funds had been impermissibly transferred from the customer’s account into accounts owned by Berger.

Further, on January 10, 2018, a customer initiated investment related complaint concerning Berger’s activities was settled for $20,000.00 in damages founded on accusations that Berger engaged in deceptive activities by steering the customer towards placing the customer’s retirement funds into what turned out to be a fraudulent scheme.