Merrill Lynch settled 23 complaints of fraud levied against former broker Thomas Joseph Buck for $4.1 million, including one for $719,000. The settlements follow an earlier FINRA investigation and decision to permanently bar Buck from the securities industry.
Buck's BrokerCheck report indicates a total of 30 disclosures, 29 of which were filed in 2015. Most of the 23 customer disputes alleged fraudulent misrepresentation regarding commissions and omission of material facts, though several complainants also accused Buck of excessive trading and unsuitable investment recommendations, which effectively drove up commissions and other fees.
In its July decision barring Buck from the industry, FINRA found that Buck's misconduct occurred in commission-based accounts—80% of Buck's accounts were of the higher-cost commission-based variety, while only about 30% of the accounts in the Indiana complex were commission-based (70% were fee-based)—and manifested in unauthorized trading and exercise of discretion without oral or written authorization.
Buck, whom Merrill Lynch terminated in March 2015 for a variety of allegations, most recently was associated with RBC Capital Markets in Indianapolis, where he remained until FINRA formally barred him from the securities industry in July.
If you have invested with former Merrill Lynch rep Thomas Joseph Buck or with any financial adviser or broker whose misrepresentations, omissions, unsuitable recommendations, or excessive trading activity has resulted in excessive commissions/fees or has otherwise proven harmful to your investments or interests please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.