February 5, 2021
On November 27, 2020, registered representative Michael Anthony Tavel consented to sanctions imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement to resolve allegations that he violated securities industry rules by participating in private securities transactions (PSTs) without prior disclosure to his member firm, LPL Financial LLC.
Tavel had been associated with LPL Financial in Indianapolis, Indiana as an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative starting October 2004 when he registered with FINRA. According to the AWC, Tavel provided misleading materials and made unsuitable recommendations to senior customers on two separate occasions. In August 2017, Tavel solicited a private issuer’s marketing materials, purportedly in the business of making commercial loans, to one LPL customer who purchased a $25,000 note. When the issuer and its chairman were charged by the SEC with fraud, the customer lost his entire investment. Then, in June 2018, Tavel, acting as a placement agent for an oil-extraction company, solicited two customers to invest $200,000 and $40,000 in November 2018 and February 2019, respectively. Tavel received a total of over $20,000 in commissions for these transactions.
When the customer who lost his entire $25,000 investment orally complained to Tavel, Tavel attempted to settle the complaint without notifying LPL Financial. The firm discharged Tavel in March 2019 on allegations that he participated in PSTs and attempted to settle a customer complaint without providing notice to or obtaining approval from the firm. Based on the foregoing, Tavel violated FINRA Rules 3280, 2111 and 2010.
By signing the AWC, Tavel consents, without admitting or denying the allegations made against him by FINRA, to a $20,000 fine and an 18-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.