In an update to March's industry complaint against former MetLife Inc. and Pruco Securities broker Winston Wade Turner, FINRA barred Turner from the industry after confirming that he indeed acted with scienter or intent to deceive, manipulate or defraud investors in connection with variable annuity (VA) sales.
Regulators barred Turner (CRD #5965386) after confirming he provided false information to customers and engaged in deceptive acts in connection with VA sales, including a series of willful and intentional fraudulent misrepresentations and omission of material facts to customers.
The findings also state that Turner engaged in outside business activities and private securities transactions by selling away from MetLife and Pruco without adequately or timely disclosing these activities to his firm, and that Turner additionally falsified firm books and records by deliberately circumventing supervisory requirements and concealing from the firm that he was inducing many customers to surrender their existing variable annuities, or to liquidate other investments, to fund purchases of new VAs that Turner recommended and sold.
FINRA wrote that as a result of Turner's illicit conduct, many of his customers incurred large surrender charges and similar fees and expenses, while other customers fell prey to Turner's deception and false "guarantee" that certain VAs he was peddling would earn minimum annual interest.
For instance, Turner purportedly induced customers to purchase Prudential variable annuities funded by the surrender of MetLife VAs—coinciding with Turner's own association switch from MetLife to Pruco—and falsely stated on VA forms that his switching customers were not performing an exchange, that they had no existing annuities, and that the Prudential purchases were not replacing any existing annuity.
In at least one case, Turner disguised a payment to a customer as coming from the VA when in fact, the payment came from Turner himself. Turner also purportedly forged customer signatures on VA applications, lied to firm supervisors, and wrote his own e-mail address on VA forms to ensure that VA notifications would be sent to him instead of to his customers.
Turner's expulsion is Disclosure No. 19 in a long list of BrokerCheck disciplinary disclosures, including many customer disputes alleging wrongdoing ranging from misrepresentation, false promises and guarantees, omission of material facts/disclosure failures, and unauthorized account activity.
The decision to banish Turner from the securities industry became final when Turner failed to provide testimony and cooperate with the investigation. Pruco previously discharged Turner in August 2015 after discovering he made an unsuitable VA recommendation and provided inaccurate information to the company.
If you have invested with Winston Wade Turner in MetLife or Prudential VAs or with any broker or financial adviser whose deception, omissions, fraud, and misrepresentations or improper guarantees and false promises regarding variable annuity investments or falsification/fabrication of records 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.