FINRA suspended broker Robert E. Richards for allegedly aiding and abetting the price manipulation of the Fibrocell Science, Inc. penny stock by a trader at former FINRA-member firm John Carris Investments.
Richards most recently registered with El Segundo, California's Monarch Bay Securities, LLC, a firm he ultimately separated from in 2015. Prior to that, he served as a supervisor for Finance 500, Inc. from 2005 through 2014.
The findings state that while associated with Finance 500, Richards also purportedly aided and abetted the price manipulation of a second penny stock, Dolphin Digital Stock or DPDM. The investigation states that when Richards made trades in either Fibrocell Science or Dolphin Digital Stock, "his actions were part of an overall course of conduct that was illegal or improper."
Investigators also called Richards "reckless" and said that he failed to implement the firm's anti-money laundering (AML) procedures and also failed to adequately supervise the Florida branch to which he was assigned.
Furthermore, FINRA found that Richards both failed to monitor for red flags associated with suspicious activity and, when he did become aware of red flags, failed to respond appropriately through enhanced due diligence or by reporting the suspicious activity to the AML officer. The findings state Richards failed to comply with Finance 500's policies and procedures related to the sale of unregistered securities.
FINRA recently expelled John Carris Investments, LLC from the securities industry, charging the firm and CEO George Carris with fraud and stock manipulation related to the Fibrocell Science stock.
If you have invested with Rob E. Richards or with any broker or financial adviser whose supervisory failures, reckless ignorance of suspicious trading activity "red flags" such as those that might indicate a penny stock price manipulation scheme, or lack of adequate due diligence has 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.