FINRA barred Menlo Park, CA broker Leslie Rhodes Koonce for falsely denying participation in private securities transactions while associated with LPL Financial in Northern California. Since being discharged from LPL in 2015 following the firm's internal investigation into selling away misconduct, Les Koonce has been associated with Cetera Advisor Networks and EK Riley Investments, also of Menlo Park.
The report indicates that Koonce (CRD #1131758) solicited at least 30 prospective investors, including LPL Financial customers, to invest in convertible promissory notes offered by an outside private company, without LPL's permission and without providing the firm with written prior notice of the private securities transactions.
Koonce allegedly conducted the unauthorized promissory note activity via an LPL e-mail account, arranged meetings between investors and private company personnel, and helped several LPL customers move funds in order to invest in the convertible promissory notes.
In reporting the termination, Koonce classified the funds involved in the selling away event as "Business Startup," which is generally regarded as a risky investment. For instance, MarketWatch wrote of startups, "If you're on the conservative end of the spectrum, startup investing is NOT for you. Startup investing is only right for people who want to take big risks (and potentially lose their money) in exchange for the admittedly low probability of huge rewards."
In testimony with regulatory staff, Koonce inaccurately denied participation "in any way" in the private securities transactions involving LPL customers, having also previously falsely denied such participation in compliance questionnaires.
LPL terminated Koonce in November 2015 for participating in private securities transactions without firm approval and for directing clients to unapproved investments. In 1998, the firm of Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc. terminated Koonce for signing client names to two variable universal life forms without authorization from the customers.
Koonce also serves on Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors, representing Koonce Financial Services aka The Office of Les R. Koonce. In 2014, the Elder Consult website advertised a San Mateo-area luncheon co-hosted by Koonce, as an LPL Financial representative, about early dementia and financial challenges called "The Impact of Dementia on Your Family's Wealth."
If you have invested with ex-LPL Financial broker Leslie "Les" Rhodes Koonce or with any representative or financial advisor in private securities such as promissory notes outside of the scope of his or her employment with a FINRA-member firm, and this unauthorized selling away activity has injected undue and unregulated risk that has proven financially damaging to your interests or investments, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.