News Release

NASD Regulation, Inc., Bars Nine Registered Representatives Suspected of Using an Impostor to Take Qualification Examination

Washington, D.C.--NASD Regulation, Inc., announced today that it has censured and barred nine individuals suspected of paying an impostor to take a qualification examination on their behalf. Each individual was fined $25,000 for cheating on the examination, fined another $25,000 if they failed to respond, and required to disgorge all commissions earned while the individual functioned in a registered capacity, up to $440,000.

The disciplinary action is a continuation of an earlier investigation, which resulted in the barring and fining of 12 registered representatives. The investigation was conducted by the NASD RegulationSM New York District Office, which identified several individuals suspected of having paid an impostor to take a qualifying examination on their behalf. "Industry rules require that securities professionals who deal with the public pass certain examinations designed to test their knowledge of the securities markets and regulations. These examinations are an important feature of the investor protection framework. In a business built on trust and confidence, there is no room for any person who would cheat on the exam," said Mary L. Schapiro, president of NASD Regulation.

Upon identification, each of the nine individuals listed below was ordered to appear immediately for on-the-record testimony to answer questions regarding the qualification examination at issue. Seven of the nine either refused to appear at the interview or appeared but refused to answer questions.

The individuals who have been barred are:

Christopher Avena
Eric Balonik
Charles V. Betta
Charles F. Cacioppo
Chance Miglino
Charles Ouanounou
Peter J. Reynolds
Mario Russo
Russell Walker

NASD Regulation is continuing its investigation and more disciplinary action is expected soon.