The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority censured Wedbush Securities, Inc. of Los Angeles, California, fining the firm $375,000 for what FINRA deemed was a failure to supervise employees and registered associates. FINRA also fined and suspended principal Richard Anthony Lanni of Newport Beach and Ronald Edward Vogel of Irvine for their parts in Wedbush Securities' supervisory system failures.
FINRA referenced a nine-count complaint against registered representative Debbie Saleh, who along with representative Betty Saleh, FINRA charged, was not adequately supervised by Wedbush from 2004 through 2009.
FINRA determined that the Salehs participated in a variable annuity business, selling 162 annuities for nearly $10 million, generating over $700,000 worth of commissions and causing 31 customers with withdraw $2.1 million of their initial investment within the first three years, generating surrender or deferred sales fees of over $73,000.
The Salehs were additionally found to have engaged in 60 VA transactions in IRA and other retirement accounts from a remote office in Woodland Hills, even though the Salehs had been assigned to the supervisory jurisdiction of Wedbush's Newport Beach office, of which Lanni served as branch manager and Vogel as assistant branch manager.
In 2009, the Salehs were accused of making unsuitable recommendations causing customers to suffer significant loss, making material misrepresentations and omissions, engaging in forgery and falsification, impersonating a customer on telephone calls with an insurance company and making false statements under oath to FINRA staff during the course of the Authority's investigation.
Later that year, both Debbie and Betty Salehs were barred from the securities industry.
In its investigation, FINRA indicated that Wedbush Securities failed to establish a supervisory system and failed to establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory procedures designed to achieve compliance with laws, rules and regulations.
Because Lanni and Vogel were found to have been the two supervisors in charge of the Salehs, the two were fined a combined $15,000, jointly and severally, with the firm. Lanni received a two-month suspension from association with a FINRA-member firm, while Vogel received 30 days.
If you invested with Wedbush Securities, Debby or Betty Saleh, managers Richard Anthony Lanni or Ronald Edward Vogel, or with any broker, representative or firm whom you suspect improperly recommended variable annuities or has failed to adequately implement or enforce supervisory procedures, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.