Thursday, February 24, 2005
Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379
Herb Perone (202) 728-8464
NASD Charges California Broker With Fraud in Municipal Securities Transactions
Washington, D.C.—NASD has charged California-based broker Marshall J. Field, formerly of American National Municipal Corp., with fraud in the offering and sale of municipal securities in violation of federal securities laws and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) rules.
In its complaint, NASD charged Field with making material misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the purchase and sale of municipal securities and executing unauthorized municipal securities transactions in his clients' accounts. NASD also charged Field with violating the prohibition on guaranteeing an investor against a loss.
According to the complaint, Field, the majority owner of now-defunct American National Municipal Corp., recommended and sold municipal securities to seven investors, most of whom were elderly, without disclosing the accompanying risks. Specifically, Field recommended securities that were special, limited obligations and failed to disclose that the securities were not backed by the full faith and credit of the subject municipalities. In fact, the securities were revenue bonds and certificates of participation payable solely from anticipated sources of revenues. The complaint charged that Field did not disclose that the municipal securities involved a high degree of risk and that investors could lose their entire investments. The complaint also alleged that Field misrepresented that investments in these securities were safe and that the investors' initial investments were secure. The municipal securities have all since defaulted and the investors lost significant portions of their initial investments.
In addition to making material misrepresentations and omissions, the Complaint alleged that Field executed a total of 25 unauthorized transactions involving high-risk municipal securities in multiple investors' accounts. In all, nine investors suffered losses of approximately $325,000 because of Field's misconduct.
Finally, NASD charged Field with guaranteeing a customer against a loss in connection with her purchases of a municipal security.
Field's firm, American National Municipal Corp. of Woodland Hills, CA, withdrew its registration with NASD in September 2004.
In a related action, John T. Ford, Field's former supervisor, was fined and suspended for one year from working in any supervisory capacity for any NASD-registered firm for failing to supervise Field's municipal securities sales practices. Ford neither admitted nor denied NASD's charges, but consented to the entry of NASD's findings.
Under NASD rules, a firm or individual named in a complaint can file a response and request a hearing before an NASD disciplinary panel. Possible remedies include a fine, censure, suspension, or bar from the securities industry, disgorgement of gains associated with the violations, and payment of restitution.
Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any NASD-registered broker or brokerage firm by using NASD's BrokerCheck. NASD makes BrokerCheck available at no charge to the public. In 2004, members of the public used this service to conduct more than 3.8 million searches for existing brokers or firms and requested more than 190,000 reports in cases where disclosable information existed on a broker or firm. Investors can link directly to BrokerCheck at www.nasdbrokercheck.com. Investors can also access this service by calling (800) 289-9999.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. NASD touches virtually every aspect of the securities business - from registering and educating all industry participants, to examining securities firms, enforcing both NASD rules and the federal securities laws, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and member firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.nasd.com.