Former Ohio-based firm broker, Christopher Todd Wendel, was terminated from SA Stone Wealth Management over an investigation into the selling of non-approved product, also known as “selling away”. The Ohio investment fraud lawyers at the law firm of Meyer Wilson are investigating potential claims relating to this alleged activity.
According to the investigation initiated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in April of this year, Christopher Wendel allegedly violated his firm’s policy by providing loans or selling notes and other investments outside of SA Stone Wealth Management, a practice known as “selling away.” According to Wendel’s FINRA report, the issue was resolved by his termination from the firm.
Christopher Wendel is not currently registered, but before SA Stone Wealth Management he was with WRP Investments Inc., based in Celina, Ohio. Prior to that, Wendel was registered with American Express Financial Advisors and IDS Life Insurance Company, both based in Minneapolis. The former broker is also involved in an outside business activity called Smoke on the Water LLC.
Five customer complaints are included in Christopher Todd Wendel’s FINRA report. One is a settled dispute from 2013 over alleged unsuitable investments. Wendel settled the claims for $90,000. Another from 2003 over unsuitable investments was settled for $200,000. The last settled dispute is from 2000 for nearly $130,000 and was also over allegations of unsuitable investments. The other disputes were dismissed.
The term “selling away” is used when a broker solicits investments, promissory notes, or other products that haven’t been approved by the broker’s firm. The practice includes private placements, promissory notes, and other non-public investments. Selling away is generally a violation of securities regulations. Additionally, most selling away activities are also fraudulent and often lead to investment losses.
Brokers engaging in selling away often ask investors to move funds outside of the firm into an account the broker controls to move the money into the unauthorized investment.
Although brokerage firms claim that they were not aware of their broker’s misconduct when selling away is discovered, firms have a responsibility to monitor their brokers. If brokers are able to get away with selling away, it may be because their firm does not have appropriate supervisory measures in place to monitor their brokers. It may also be an indication of a larger problem in the firm.
Unfortunately, investors are often unaware of their broker’s misconduct in selling away situations because they do not know the firm’s policies. Firms should have procedures in place to monitor and stop selling away practices conducted by their brokers. However, investors are sometimes caught by surprise – not learning of the improper investments until they are released to the press or broadcast. At that point, the investor may suffer a loss.
If you or a loved one invested with Ohio-based broker Christopher Todd Wendel or the firms he was registered with or you suspect your broker is engaging in selling away, contact the Ohio investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson to help recover any investment losses and protect your legal rights.