FINRA barred ex-Transamerica Financial broker Bradley Claus of Greenwood Village, Colorado for soliciting investments in an oil and gas venture that had not been approved by the firm, and subsequently misrepresenting this unauthorized activity to customers and potential clients.
Following up on its January 2015 complaint against Claus, a panel from FINRA's Office of Hearing Officers concluded that Claus' sales of interests in the RJ Oil and Gas Co. LLC were conducted without Transamerica approval and effected through unapproved e-mail addresses outside of the firm's purview (e.g., Google or Gmail e-mail addresses instead of ones using the Transamerica domain name and server), which allowed the activity to evade firm detection.
Claus allegedly solicited investments in both RJ Oil and Gas and a security called Southern Hospitality by misrepresenting the company. For instance, Claus purportedly claimed that Southern Hospitality was a restaurant chain owned by celebrities Justin Timberlake and Ryan Tedder whereas FINRA says that neither music artist owned the restaurants.
Investigators discovered that Claus allegedly duped some investors in RJ Oil and Gas by promising returns which never materialized.
Further misrepresentations of material facts pertaining to Southern Hospitality included a fabricated "5% guarantee" for unsecured promissory notes and Claus claiming that he invested his own money in the business. Financial statements indicate that Claus never invested his personal funds in Southern Hospitality.
In its amended default decision, the OHO wrote that Claus "may have engaged in other misconduct" while associated with Transamerica.
If you have invested with Bradley Claus or with any broker or financial adviser whose fabrications, omissions or other misrepresentations of material fact have 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.