Securities Fraud News: Barclays to Pay $13.5M For Unsuitable Fraud Transactions, Appeals Court Upholds Asset Freeze of Wyly Brothers’ Relatives, Ex-NBA Player to Get Sentence for Ponzi Scam Conviction

Barclays Capital Gets FINRA Fine for Unsuitable Mutual Fund Transactions

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said that Barclays Capital, Inc. (BARC) must pay over $10M in restitution plus interest to customers that were impacted by violations related to unsuitable mutual fund transactions. The self-regulatory organization said that the firm did not give certain customers the breakpoint discounts that applied. Aside from the restitution, Barclays must pay a $3.75M fine.

According to the SRO, from 1/10 through 6/15, the firm’s supervisory systems were not adequate enough to make sure that unsuitable transactions didn’t happen or that the firm’s duties related to mutual fund sales to retail brokerage clients were met. FINRA said that Barclays supervisory procedures wrongly defined a mutual fund switch as warranting three transactions within a specific period of frame. Because of this erroneous definition, the firm did not act on thousands of automated alerts warning of transactions that might be unsuitable, failed to include certain transactions for suitability review, and neglected to make sure that customesr got disclosure letters about transaction costs. Over 6,100 unsuitable mutual fund switches occurred, causing r about $8.63M in customer harm.

FINRA said that the Barclays did not give its supervisors enough guidance so that they could make sure that brokerage customers were engaging in mutual fund transactions that were suitable for their investment goals, holdings, and ability to tolerate risks. The SRO, which evaluated activities over a six-month period of time, said that 39% of mutual fund transactions were found unsuitable and customers suffered financial harm, including realized losses, of over $800K.

Also, during these five years, the firm’s supervisory system did not succeed in making sure that purchases were properly aggregated so eligible customers could get breakpoint discounts, including those involved in 100 Class A share mutual fund transactions.

By settling, Barclays is not denying or admitting to FINRA’s charges. It is, however, consenting to the entry of findings.

Court Upholds Freezing of Assets Belonging to Wyly Brothers’ Relatives
A federal appeals court partially upheld a ruling to freeze the assets of the relatives Texas brothers Sam and Charles Wyly. The two businessmen-Charles is deceased-were ordered to pay approximately $300M for securities fraud. Their relatives allegedly received ill-gotten gains from trusts set up by the two men.

The Wyly brothers are accused of using trusts abroad to conceal over $550M in trading profits. While the judges upheld the freeze against nine of these individuals, they ordered a lower court to review the cases against seven other relatives.

Ex-NBA Player’s Sentencing Hearing Over Ponzi Scam Resumes
Ex-New Jersey Nets guard Tate George is back in court for his sentencing hearing. George was convicted two years ago of running a real estate Ponzi scam. He’s been behind bars since then for multiple counts of wire fraud.

According to prosecutors, George persuaded investors, including NBA players, to put money into his company but used these funds to pay off earlier investors.

FINRA Sanctions Barclays Capital, Inc. $13.75 Million for Unsuitable Mutual Fund Transactions and Related Supervisory Failures, FINRA, December 29, 2015

In Wyly brothers securities-fraud case, appeals court upholds SECs ability to freeze assets, NewEurope, December 18, 2015

Tate George Fraud Sentencing Hearing Resumes In Federal Court, Associated Press, December 29, 2015