The longest running arbitration case in the past two decades has finally been ruled on after five years. After a 95-day hearing, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel awarded the Claimants $16.6 million based upon evidence that BNP Paribas Securities Corp. unsuitably concentrated their savings in leveraged option securities. Claimants alleged that the company's own policies prohibited the sale of leveraged options securities to U.S. customers. The $16.6 million included restitution, damages, and attorneys' fees.
Two fraud cases have resulted in a $1 million fine and a permanent bar for the principal of Sage Advisory Group, Benjamin Lee Grant. According to the SEC, when Grant first opened Sage Advisory Group he falsely informed clients that utilizing the services of his new firm would result in lower costs and fees than those charged by his prior firm. Additionally, Mr. Grant failed to disclose that his father, an advisor serving clients with Sage Advisory Group, was permanently bared from the industry in 1988.
A former A.G. Edwards, Merrill Lynch, and Raymond James affiliated broker is facing up to twenty years in prison after allegedly running a $6 million Ponzi scheme. Sunil Sharma allegedly raised $8.36 million from investors over a six year period for a day-trading strategy involving high risk option securities. Unfortunately for Sharma, according to federal prosecutors, the strategy did not pay off and he acquired new investors to repay the old investors. Sharma pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentence in August. Sharma faces twenty years in prison.