An extended FINRA OHO hearing panel barred John Thomas Financial, Inc. CEO Anastasios "Tommy" Belesis and expelled his firm for trading ahead of customer orders in penny stocks and failing to maintain accurate books and records. FINRA also ordered disgorgement in the amount of $1 million, plus interest.
According to the OHO's decision, Belesis, who appeared in the film Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, engaged in "egregious" misconduct by trading ahead of customers.
Essentially, when American West Resources penny stock spiked in price in February of 2012 to $1.80 per share, several firm customers to try and sell their shares.
However, an internal problem prevented firm brokers from entering customer orders: in other words, the customers could not sell their shares when they wanted during the price spike while firm itself sold 855,000 shares of American West at the peak price and reaped over $1 million in proceeds.
The report states that Belesis knew of the problem, but instead of canceling and rebilling the firm's trades pursuant to protocol, Belesis made the "intentional decision" to engage in penny stock misconduct by selling ahead, thus preserving firm profit at the customers' expense.
According to FINRA, this misconduct cost customers over $1 million in proceeds of the proprietary sales.
Belesis allegedly concealed at least 14 customer orders to sell the stock in February 2012, and by hiding this evidence, impeded FINRA's investigation. In sanctioning Belesis for providing false testimony, OHO noted that "Belesis has a history of testifying falsely."
Belesis also received punishment for harassing and coercive conduct in which he coerced firm employees into signing false affidavits, forms and contracts.
If you invested with Anastasios Belesis, John Thomas Financial or with any broker, financial adviser or firm whose failure to secure you a fair and equitable price during a transaction with penny stocks or another product (for instance, ensuring that an attempted sale of a stock at peak price indeed nets peak proceeds), and this has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.