(FINRA Case #2015046537501)
Walter Joseph Marino (CRD #2121623, Dix Hills, New York) – An Offer of Settlement was issued in which Marino was suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for one year. In light of Marino’s financial status, no monetary sanction has been imposed.
Without admitting or denying the allegations, Marino consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he recommended unsuitable replacements (also known as exchanges) of non-qualified variable annuities to two customers without having a reasonable basis for recommending the transactions, resulting in benefits to him and substantial financial harm to the customers.
The findings stated that Marino received commissions of approximately $60,000 from the unsuitable transactions. Marino’s customers, however, suffered financial harm due to the costs incurred and new or extended surrender periods as a result of the annuity replacements. Marino’s recommendation to one of the customers resulted in her incurring an $82,523.23 surrender charge.
In addition, Marion failed to use the tax-free exchange available under Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code in recommending non-qualified annuities, causing the customers to incur significant tax liabilities. The findings also stated that Marino made false statements to his member firm and in the firm’s books and records by misrepresenting the source of funds being used to purchase the customers’ annuities, and by stating that the customers’ annuity purchases did not involve an annuity replacement or exchange.
The findings also included that Marino recommended an unsuitable variable annuity surrender to a semi-retired customer without a reasonable basis for recommending the transaction. Marino failed to conduct a reasonable investigation to determine whether the transaction would result in a surrender charge to the customer or the forfeiture of any benefits. In fact, the transaction resulted in a $6,980.52 surrender charge, and the forfeiture of an enhanced death benefit which exceeded the value of the variable annuity by approximately $28,000, and a lifetime income benefit that provided the customer with the ability to receive annual income payments of $24,305.73.
The suspension is in effect from October 16, 2017, through October 15, 2018.
Marino was discharged from Lincoln Investments (CRD# 519) in October 2016 due to allegations. There are currently three pending customer disputes and there have been 12 settled customer disputes in Marino’s 21 year career.
If you are an investor that lost money Walter Marino or any broker you should consider all legal options. If you wish to discuss your particular situation and the potential for the recovery of your investment losses, please contact Darren Blum at 1-877-786-2552 (1-877-STOCK LAW), www.stockattorneys.com for a FREE EVALUATION of your potential case.