William Andrew Hightower (also known as Bill Hightower) of Houston Texas a stockbroker formerly employed by Legacy Asset Securities Inc. has been barred from being a stockbroker or an investment adviser representative or otherwise associating with any securities broker dealers or investment advisories according to an SEC Order based on Hightower pleading guilty to fraud. In the Matter of William Andrew Hightower Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-19811 (May 26, 2020).
The Order noted that Hightower pleaded guilty to wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1343. United States v. William A. Hightower Criminal Action No. 4:18-CR-00600 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 16, 2019). As to the two counts in which Hightower pled guilty, he collectively used $1,700,000.00 from investors between January 4, 2015 and March 14, 2016 to fund his lifestyle and pay prior investors instead of using the funds for investment purposes.
This is not the first time that Hightower has been sanctioned by a securities regulator for misconduct. In particular, he has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon findings that he failed to comply with the regulator’s investigation into accusations of him selling away from UBS Financial Services. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2014042558101 (Oct. 7, 2015).
Hightower has been identified in ten additional customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of his misconduct while employed by UBS Financial Services. FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that on April 12, 2019, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim concerning Hightower’s activities where the customer sought unspecified damages founded on accusations that the customer’s account had been liquidated without the customer’s permission and then utilized for the purchase of private securities in Hightower’s company. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-00992.
Hightower has been identified in a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim where the customer sought unspecified damages founded on accusations that between January of 2013 and September of 2016, the customer was placed into unsuitable investments including a private annuity as well as stock issued by an entity controlled by the stockbroker. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-02520 (Aug. 28, 2019). According to the claim, documents were forged by Hightower to effect fund transfers.
On September 6, 2019, another customer filed an investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Hightower’s conduct in which the customer requested unspecified damages supported by allegations that from 2007 to 2018, the customer’s account was subject to Hightower’s unauthorized trading and fraudulent schemes. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-02684. The claim alleges that transfers had been effected from the customer’s accounts at Legacy Financial Services and UBS Financial Services without the customer’s consent.
Hightower is also the subject of a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim in which the customer was awarded $530,000.00 in damages based on UBS Financial Services being found liable on the customer’s claims including the violation of Texas fraud statutes and breach of contract relating to the sale of alternative investments. FINRA Arbitration No. 18-03141 (Sept. 11, 2019). According to the claim, the customer had been unsuitably sold a private annuity in addition to private placement investments in Reproductive Research Technologies LP and Isospec Technologies LP. The claim alleges that these private investments could have amounted to Ponzi schemes and that the customer’s funds were stolen.
On December 5, 2019, another customer filed an investment related arbitration claim in reference to Hightower’s conduct where the customer sought $1,000,000.00 in damages based upon accusations of the customer’s assets being invested in bogus investments including stock and a private annuity by Hightower between 2007 and 2018. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-03590.