(FINRA Case #2014039420301)

 Trustfirst Inc. (CRD #39057, Knoxville, Tennessee) – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which the firm was censured and fined $15,000.

Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it distributed offering documents in connection with the sale of three unregistered offerings that contained typographical errors and were internally contradictory regarding the nature of the offerings’ contingency terms and possible extensions of the contingency termination date.

(FINRA Case #2012030422902)

Legend Securities, Inc. (CRD #44952, New York, New York)  – An OHO (Office of Hearing Officers) Decision became final in which the firm was fined a total of $475,000 and ordered to pay $884,436.24, plus interest, in restitution to customers. The sanctions were based on findings that the firm failed to have a reasonable supervisory system and WSPs (Written Supervisory Policies) to ensure it timely reported customer complaints, filed timely amendments to Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4) and Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5), reviewed incoming and outgoing email communications, and considered heightened supervision for brokers with histories of misconduct.

The findings stated that the firm failed to report, or reported late, customer complaints to FINRA, and failed to file and timely file amendments to Forms U4 for seven of its registered representatives. The findings also stated that the firm improperly charged customers in 34,313 securities transactions. The confirmations sent to customers described the charges as “handling fees,” which was misleading and inaccurate. As a result, the firm willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-10.

(FINRA Case #2013038869101)

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (CRD #249, New York, New York) – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which the firm was censured, fined $20,000, and ordered to pay $10,301.44, plus interest, in restitution to customers.

Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that, in six transactions, it purchased municipal securities for its own account from a customer and/or sold municipal securities for its own account to a customer at an aggregate price (including any mark-up or mark-down) that was not fair and reasonable, taking into consideration all relevant factors, including the best judgment of the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer as to the fair market value of the securities at the time of the transaction and of any securities exchanged or traded in connection with the transaction; the expense involved in effecting the transaction; the fact that the broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer is entitled to a profit; and the total dollar amount of the transaction.

(FINRA Case #2014040644001)

James William Flower (CRD #2817701, Melville, New York)  – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which Flower was suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for three months and required, within 60 days of the date of the Notice of Acceptance of the AWC, to attend and satisfactorily complete 10 hours of continuing education concerning complex products, which includes exchange-traded notes, by a provider not unacceptable to FINRA. Within 30 days of following completion of such training, Flower will submit written proof that the continuing education program has been satisfactorily completed. In light of Flower’s financial status, no monetary sanction has been imposed.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Flower consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he recommended that 13 of his customers invest in a highly volatile exchange-traded note without having a reasonable basis for recommending the transactions.

(FINRA Case #2015046087601)

Christopher Robert Hickman (CRD #3267599, Boynton Beach, Florida) – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which Hickman was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000, suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for five months, and ordered to pay $115,989.75, plus interest, in deferred restitution to customers.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Hickman consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he engaged in an unsuitable pattern of short-term trading of UITs (Unit Investment Trusts) in six customer accounts.

(FINRA Case #2014040326101)

 Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (CRD #126292, Charlotte, North Carolina) – An AWC (Accept Waiver & Consent) was issued in which the firm was censured, fined $3,250,000, and required to review its supervisory systems and processes.

Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it failed to report all of its reportable conventional options positions for an unknown but significant period of time because of the firm’s erroneous belief that the positions were not reportable and then, after determining that the firm would begin reporting these positions, the firm failed to develop and implement a Large Options Position Report (LOPR) system.

(FINRA Case #2016049485101)

Stephen J. Landa (CRD #2172148, Easton, Connecticut) – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which Landa was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000, suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for two months, and ordered to pay $18,156.53, plus interest, in deferred restitution to customers.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Landa consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he employed an unsuitable short-term mutual fund trading strategy in the individual account of a customer and the joint account of that customer and another customer.

(FINRA Case #2014041539301)

James Davis Trent (CRD #2730687, Lexington, South Carolina) – An Offer of Settlement was issued in which Trent was suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for six months. In light of Trent’s financial status, no monetary sanction has been imposed.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Trent consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he engaged in a pattern of recommending unsuitable short-term trading of Class A mutual fund shares to customers, resulting in the customers (all of whom were retired) incurring approximately $6,362.50 in unnecessary sales charges, while Trent received approximately $2,910 as his commission from the sales loads.

(FINRA Case #2016052332801)

MSI Financial Services, Inc. (CRD #14251, Springfield, Massachusetts) – An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which the firm was censured and required to provide a remediation plan to FINRA to remediate eligible customers who qualified for, but did not receive, an applicable mutual fund sales-charge waiver.

As part of this settlement, the firm agrees to pay restitution to eligible customers, which is estimated to total $2,200,000 (the amount eligible customers were overcharged, inclusive of interest).

(FINRA Case #2015044921601)

Johnny Earl Burris (CRD #2850953, Surprise, Arizona) submitted an Offer of Settlement in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for five business days. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Burris consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he failed to execute a trade for his customers according to their instructions.

The findings stated that the customers instructed Burris to liquidate one of their securities holdings, which were shares in a mutual fund, in order to fund a tax payment to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and his failure to do so caused the customers’ payment to the IRS to be rejected for insufficient funds.