Former Bay Mutual Financial (Santa Monica) and Financial Telesis (Aliso Viejo) broker Christopher Basile Ariola must pay nearly $138,000 in restitution to customers who lost money after Ariola unsuitably recommended that four individuals, including three elderly customers, invest in high-risk gold and energy stocks.
The decision also cites Ariola for failing to notify Bay Mutual that he was also engaged in securities trading in a TD Ameritrade retirement account while he was associated with Bay Mutual.
In ordering restitution in the amount of $137,993.13, plus interest, FINRA found that Ariola (CRD #2957096) recommended to several elderly and retired customers that they invest "heavily" in gold and energy stocks that exposed these clients to significant investment risk.
To bolster the unsuitability charge, investigators wrote that some of the stocks were negatively impacted by certain corporate events even before Ariola recommended them.
In conclusion, FINRA wrote, "Ariola's recommendations for gold and energy stocks exposed his customers to unwarranted investment risk. The appropriate sanction is a bar in all capacities."
As for the TD Ameritrade account, the report continues, Ariola exercised effective control and discretion over a brokerage account in the name of a retired bus driver, who also suffered losses after Ariola executed 863 securities transactions in that account, all without informing Bay Mutual of the arrangement or his role in controlling the account, and similarly without informing TD Ameritrade of his registered status with Bay Mutual.
Pending disputes in Ariola's BrokerCheck report include allegations of churning, negligence, unsuitability, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty. OHO's decision follows an August complaint against Ariola that alleged unsuitable recommendations to elderly retirees, and improper undisclosed trading in a client's account.
If you have invested with Southern California broker Christopher Basile Ariola, formerly of Bay Mutual Financial and Financial Telesis, or with any broker or financial adviser whose unsuitable recommendation to invest in high-risk energy and gold stocks, or other securities not compatible with your investment objectives or risk tolerance, has proven harmful to your financial interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.