January 29, 2012
I have just completed a two year finra arbitration against WFP Securities, one of the largest seller of Reg D private placements of which almost every one is riddled with fraud. No amount of education can overcome investment advisor or broker whose intention is to separate the client from their money. To quote an SEC employee, "You never had a chance, you were a victim the minute you walked in their door. No matter what you said they had already planned ten steps ahead." So the real issue is that the punishment does not fit the crime. WFP has approx. $16 million in investor claims in FINRA. That is $16 million taken from average people whose lives are now turned upside down. Myself and several investors I talked to were successful business people who felt they could trust a licensed professional.In my case i was sold 100% private placements of $2.4 million over a 5 year time span. WFP's business was based almost solely on the sale of private placements. This should have been a red flag to the regulators. I did not even know what FINRA meant until I found out that my right to sue in court was gone and I had to do FINRA arbitration. Since I had never heard of FINRA I also had no idea of the finra broker check. I think it should be required that brokers and investment advisors put the broker check website info on the front of their business cards. It will no good to have it on sperate papers as fraudulent brokers will just find a way to get the clients signature on the paper without them seeing it. But everybody reads a business card. Also, finra could easily monitor this as anyone caught using a business card without the website information would automatically be in non-compliance. But the punishments needs to be more severe. How is it that you get thrown in jail for stealing from a 7-11 but you can swindle someone out of millions and not even be put out of business?
Additionally, you need a investor advisory board made up of investors who have been victims of fraud to really explain what needs to be done. Until you've had everything swindled from you, you will never understand the dynamics of how to prevent further fraud.