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Washington, DC — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has permanently barred Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, registered representative Michael J. DiMare from the securities industry for misappropriating over $1.9 million in client funds – while making false statements and sending falsified account statements and other documents statements to his customers to hide his scheme.
"FINRA will continue to bar individuals who engage in deceit and theft with no regard for the high standards of ethical conduct that govern the industry," said James S. Shorris, FINRA Executive Vice President and Executive Director of Enforcement. "By deceiving customers into believing they were making legitimate investments when, in reality, he was simply enriching himself, DiMare epitomized the darkest side of the securities industry."
FINRA found that from at least 2001 to 2008, DiMare persuaded his clients to invest in fictitious financial products, including what purported to be tax-free corporate bonds and CDs. Between 2001 and 2006, DiMare was employed as a sales manager with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. Between October 2006 and May 2008, DiMare was registered as a registered representative/insurance agent with ING Financial Partners, Inc.
FINRA's investigation found that 14 of DiMare's clients wrote checks payable to John Hancock, believing they were making legitimate investments. DiMare simply collected the checks and deposited them in his own bank account and diverted their funds to his personal use. Even after he left John Hancock, DiMare made false statements to his customers by telling them he was still employed at that firm and had them write checks to John Hancock, which he then converted to his own use.
To conceal his misconduct, DiMare prepared and provided his clients with false account statements purporting to be from John Hancock. Those statements falsely indicated that the clients owned investments in tax-free corporate bonds and CDs.
Customers whose funds were misappropriated or converted by DiMare were reimbursed by John Hancock and ING.
In concluding this settlement, DiMare neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.
Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA's BrokerCheck. FINRA makes BrokerCheck available at no charge. In 2009, members of the public used this service to conduct 18.5 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at www.finra.org/brokercheck or by calling (800) 289-9999.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.finra.org.