FINRA fined and suspended Frank Thomas Marino, formerly of Privex Securities in Lake Forest and Marv Capital of Newport Beach, CA, for operating or helping to administer a website for a cannabis investment company—MJIC, Inc.—which FINRA says contained false, misleading, and inaccurate statements, including unwarranted claims about marijuana legalization.
Investigators wrote that during the period MJIC's website displayed these false, misleading, or inaccurate statements in 2014 and 2015, the company raised nearly $1 million in investments, including over $300,000 through private placement offerings sold through Privex Securities.
According to the findings, Marino (CRD #1828290) served as part owner, chairman, and chief executive officer of MJIC, Inc., which was formed to manage pooled investments in cannabis-related businesses, while simultaneously holding a FINRA registration as a general securities representative through MARV Capital, Inc., and Privex Securities, Inc.
The report indicates that Privex Securities served as placement agent for a private placement that raised money for MJIC, and that during the relevant period, MJIC's website displayed misleading, false, and/or inaccurate information, including unwarranted claims and statements regarding MJIC securities' liquidity, MJIC's registration status, and other content that failed to satisfy FINRA regulations that prohibited false, exaggerated, unwarranted, promissory, or misleading statements or claims on communication with the public.
For example, investigators cited MJIC for failing to include appropriate risk disclosures and for including unwarranted suggestions of potential investment returns.
In addition to former employers MJIC, Inc. and Privex Securities of Lake Forest, Marino's file lists additional employment with CIAO, LLC and Winsor Financial, Inc., both of Newport Beach, which Marino describes as private specialized consulting firms that did not, at the time of disclosure, presently involve securities transactions.
CIAO is an acronym that stands for Cannabis Investments and Opportunities and was established by Marino in January 2016, the same month Marino left MJIC.
If you have invested with Frank Thomas Marino, Privex Securities, or the cannabis investment management firm MJIC, Inc., and have suffered harm or losses because of the company's false or misleading claims, such as its failure to adequately disclose risks or its unwarranted claims relative to investment returns that did not materialize, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.