FINRA filed a complaint against former MetLife Inc. and Pruco Securities broker Winston Wade Turner, accusing Turner of employing "a device, scheme or artifice to defraud" by inducing customers to exchange their existing variable annuities and other securities while hiding these annuity exchanges from his firm.
The complaint states that in doing so, some of Turner's customers incurred large surrender charges and that by hiding away from the firm, these transactions did not benefit from the additional supervisory scrutiny that is ordinarily applied to VA exchanges. FINRA accordingly charged Turner with engaging in "acts, practices, or courses of business which operated as a fraud or deceit," and accused him of "willfully violating" the Securities Exchange Act.
Investigators allege that Turner effected the improper exchanges through a series of misconduct. FINRA specifically accused Turner of:
1) Misrepresenting the source of customer funds and falsely denying on various paperwork that customers had previously held variable annuities "even though he knew that they were in fact surrendering or liquidating such investments to fund the new variable annuities he was recommending and selling to them";
2) Forging customer signatures on variable annuity applications materials, lying to supervisors at his firms, and writing his own e-mail address in place of customers' e-mail addresses on VA forms to ensure that account notifications would be sent to Turner instead of to his customers;
3) Deceiving multiple customers by claiming that their annuities would earn "guaranteed" minimum annual interest and, at least in one case, disguising payments made to a customer to appear as if they were coming from the VA issuer when Turner himself was the actual source. FINRA charged Turner with "intentionally or recklessly making material misstatements and omissions";
4) Participating in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions and undisclosed or improperly and untimely disclosed outside business activities;
5) Refusing to sufficiently cooperate with FINRA's investigation and request for information.
Turner's BrokerCheck report indicates 13 total disclosures, including an employment separation after allegations at Pruco Securities, LLC in 2015, in which the firm alleged that Turner made an unsuitable variable annuity recommendation, provided inaccurate information to the company concerning this transaction, and paid a client dissatisfied with the VA's performance.
If you have invested with Winston Wade Turner or with any broker or financial adviser whose deception or false representations and omissions 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.