FINRA booted a former CUSO Financial Services advisor from the industry this week for allegedly participating in private securities transactions that resulted in two elderly investors losing more than $340,000.
According to FINRA's filing, Patrick Richard Harrison introduced the investors to an individual who purported to sell them discounted shares in a publicly traded regional bank. Harrison participated in phone calls with the investors and the securities seller about the investment opportunity, and assisted in having funds deposited with the seller and entities he controlled. The investors, however, never received any of their shares, losing more than $340,000, FINRA claims.
Meanwhile, Harrison purportedly received more than $14,000 from the securities seller.
In addition to participating in the transactions, FINRA alleges that he made material misstatements and omissions concerning the investment to the investors, including telling them that they could make a quick profit as a result of the discounted share price. He also allegedly failed to adequately respond to red flags that the investment opportunity was bogus, overlooking, for example, the securities seller's subsequent requests that the investors pay large additional amounts for alleged registration and other fees.
Harrison participated in the transactions without notifying CUSO Financial Services, violating rules that he do so, FINRA said. The alleged securities transactions occurred in April of 2014.
Harrison, who worked in San Diego, Calif., according to BrokerCheck, could not be located for comment. An email sent to him via BrightScope Advisor Pages, an online directory for financial advisors, was not returned. In his settlement with FINRA, Harrison neither admitted nor denied the charges but consented to an entry of FINRA's findings.
While FINRA did not provide details of the two investors, an entry in Harrison's BrokerCheck report noted that an 87-year-old client of CUSO Financial Services complained that she lost $15,000 when she purchased an investment that she believed was through CUSO. As an accommodation, CUSO compensated the senior for her loss.
"Harrison engaged in unauthorized activity and was terminated," said Peter Vonk, executive vice president of Business Services and chief compliance officer for CUSO Financial Services. "CFS cooperated with regulators in their investigation and a customer was reimbursed by CFS for her losses given her unique circumstances."
According to BrokerCheck, Harrison was dismissed from CUSO Financial Services in June of 2014.