Rulebook

The Blotter Report: 15 Minutes of Fame

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It seems everyone’s a celebrity when they’re in trouble with the law—and advisors are no exception. Crime never seems far behind those with either fame or money (or both), as these cases prove.

Wall Street Hot Shot in Trouble

Last month it was the SEC, this week FINRA came knocking on Tommy Belesis’ door. The CEO of John Thomas Financial—which was also named in the regulator’s complaint—owes his celebrity status to his small role in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”

FINRA’s complaint alleged Belesis and his firm defrauded clients by failing to implement customer orders to sell America West Resources stock at the height of a price spike, even though the firm sold its shares.

Belesis is also allegedly harassed and intimidated reps that disagreed with his business policies, going as far as to threaten to ruin their careers. The complaint also includes similar allegations against Branch Office Manager Michele Misiti, Chif Compliance Officer Joseph Castellano, Regional Managing Director Ronald Vincent Cantalupo and trader John Ward.

Crocodile Dundee Chases Down Money

Crikey! Paul Hogan—the actor who famously portrayed Crocodile Dundee—claims his financial advisor Philip Egglishaw absconded with his millions. Known as the  “Bowler Hat Englishman,” Egglishaw funneled Hogan’s money into a tax shelter, but later ran off with $34 million, the actor alleged.

Hogan may have settled with Australian authorities over his tax evasion, but now he’s after his allegedly shady advisor. Hogan and his advisors have turned up the heat on Egglishaw, who already has international and Australian warrants out for his arrest, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday.

The Australian actor also initiated legal proceedings against Egglishaw in California federal court in December, but a judge dismissed the case in February saying that the California court was not the proper venue.

Rogue Trader Steps into the Limelight

A former Rochdale Securities’ institutional sales trader made headlines Monday when the SEC accused the broker of securities fraud.  David Miller allegedly placed rogue orders for shares of Apple stock in a scheme that eventually toppled the firm.

According to the complaint, when Miller’s client placed an order for 1,625 shares of Apple stock, Millar purchased 1,625,000 shares, worth about $1 billion. But when Apple stock prices dropped, the customer denied buying the extra stock, forcing Rochdale to take the fall. The firm sold the additional stock at a $5.3 million loss and subsequently forced the firm to cease operations after its available liquid assets fell below required minimums.

Miller partially settled with the SEC by agreeing to be barred from any association with any financial services firm, but a monetary penalty has yet to be entered. A parallel criminal proceeding against Miller is also still ongoing. 

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Compliance, regulatory and legal issues, with a fair amount of cops and robbers for fun.

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