September 15, 2020
Update: On September 1, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Office of Hearing Officers accepted an Offer of Settlement from Ronald Richer, a former broker associated with Garden State Securities (GSS) in New York City from December 2014 to May 2020.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Richer was discharged for “[t]aking a loan from a customer without prior firm approval” and “apparent alteration of bank records prior to submission to the firm and FINRA.” Shortly after GSS documented his departure in a Form U5, FINRA Department of Enforcement began investigating these allegations.
The Order Accepting the Offer of Settlement finds that in September 2016, Richer borrowed $15,000 from a senior customer without seeking or obtaining prior written approval from GSS. Richer concealed the loan from GSS by falsely stating that he had not borrowed money from a customer on four annual compliance questionnaires.
Then, Richer attempted to avert FINRA staff during its investigation by altering eight check images to disguise the fact that the checks were made payable to the senior customer. During an on-the-record interview with FINRA staff, Richer denied altering these bank statements or any records that he produced to FINRA and denied accepting money from the senior customer. When FINRA staff confronted him with evidence of these violations, Richer admitted to altering the check images and accepting this loan.
Based on the foregoing, Ronald Richer violated FINRA Rules 3240, 8210, and 2010. FINRA Office of Hearing Officers ordered that Richer be barred from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.
August 19, 2020: On July 30, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement filed a Complaint with the FINRA Office of Hearing Officers alleging that Ronald Richer borrowed money from an elderly customer without seeking or obtaining prior written approval from Garden State Securities, Inc. (GSS), the firm where he was registered at the time.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Richer was associated with GSS in New York, New York from December 2014 to May 2020 when he was discharged for this alleged misconduct of borrowing money from a customer. Prior to his association with GSS, Richer was also associated with Global Arena Capital Corp from May 2008 to December 2014. The New York City firm was expelled in January 2016.
Richer allegedly attempted to hide this misconduct by falsely stating on four annual compliance questionnaires that he had not borrowed money from a customer. Then, when FINRA was investigating him to determine whether or not he accepted a loan from this customer, Richer altered eight check images in an attempt to disguise the fact that he made those checks payable to the customer. Finally, Richer falsely testified during an on-the-record interview that he did not alter any records he provided to FINRA staff, and he denied borrowing money from the customer.
Although Richer later admitted to altering the check images and borrowing money from this customer, Richer violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. The Complaint states that the customer died in December 2019, and Richer had yet to repay a “significant portion” of the loan.
FINRA Department of Enforcement is requesting relief to make findings of fact and conclusions of law that Richer violated FINRA Rules and that sanctions be imposed to make full and complete restitution.