William Nicholas Athas, of Melville, New York, a stockbroker formerly registered with Worden Capital Management and KC Ward Financial, has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity according to an Order Accepting Offer of Settlement issued by FINRA Office of Hearing Officers. Department of Enforcement v. William Nicholas Athas, Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2018057883102 (February 7, 2022).
According to the Order, investor accounts were excessively traded and churned by Athas between December of 2014 and April of 2020, during the period that Athas was employed by Worden Capital Management and KC Ward Financial. The Order states that Athas controlled customer accounts and made short-term trades, charging up to three percent commissions each time a transaction was effected. Sometimes he used margin. The regulator states that Athas overlooked how his large commissions and frequent trades would be detrimental to customers’ profitability.
Customers’ accounts contained high cost-to-equity ratios (56 to 246 percent) and turnover rates (17 to 75). Athas caused customers to pay $1,600,000.00 in trading costs and commission. Those customers sustained $1,100,000 in losses. FINRA states that Athas violated Securities Exchange Act of 1934, SEC Rule 10b-5, and FINRA Rules 2010, 2111, and 2020.
Athas has been identified in nine customer initiated investment related disputes regarding accusations of his wrongdoing during the period that he was employed by Worden Capital Management, KC Ward Financial, Seaboard Securities Inc., JP Turner Company, and Emmett A. Larkin Company Inc. According to FINRA Public Disclosure, Athas is referenced in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim that was resolved for $95,000.00 in damages founded on allegations of misrepresentation, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, unauthorized trading, breach of contract, unsuitable transactions, churning, and violation of FINRA rules and Texas State Securities Act while he was registered with KC Ward Financial.
Athas is also identified in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim where the customer sought $84,932.35 in damages supported by allegations of negligent supervision, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and churning concerning common and preferred stock trades by Athas at Worden Capital Management.
Athas was employed by Worden Capital Management between July 21, 2016, and August 25, 2020, and employed by SW Financial between August 24, 2020, and December 22, 2021.