Firm Ordered to Pay Full Restitution of More Than $1 Million to Customers
WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has ordered Brookville Capital Partners LLC, based in Uniondale, NY, to pay full restitution of more than $1 million to the victims and fined the firm $500,000 for fraud in connection with sales of a private placement offering. FINRA also barred Brookville President Anthony Lodati from the securities industry.
FINRA found in its settlement and alleged in a May 2014 complaint that Brookville and Lodati defrauded Brookville customers in connection with the sale of a private placement offering called Wilshire Capital Partners Group LLC, through which investors would purportedly have an indirect interest in pre-initial public offering shares of Fisker Automotive. The conduct took place from January 2011 to October 2011.
During the time Brookville solicited customers to invest in the offering, Lodati learned that John Mattera, an individual with a significant criminal and regulatory background, had effected transactions on behalf of Wilshire as Wilshire's CEO and Managing Director. Instead of disclosing that, among other things, Mattera had been sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2010 for securities fraud and convicted of a felony in Florida in 2003, Lodati and Brookville purposely withheld this information and information about Mattera's involvement with Wilshire, and continued to solicit its customers to invest. In total, Brookville sold over $1 million worth of interests in Wilshire to 29 customers. Brookville received more than $104,000 in commissions for the sales.
Brad Bennett, FINRA Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement, said, "Firms have a fundamental responsibility to ensure they provide all material information when they solicit customers to invest in a security. FINRA has zero tolerance for firms and their registered representatives who intentionally withhold that information."
In November 2011, the SEC sued Mattera and others in connection with a scheme that included Wilshire, through which they defrauded investors of $13 million. These individuals were also criminally prosecuted and convicted, and Mattera has been sentenced to prison. The SEC obtained a court order freezing all of Wilshire's assets, including the interests owned by Brookville's customers. The Brookville customers who invested in Wilshire lost their entire investment.
In settling this matter, Brookville and Lodati neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.
FINRA's investigation was conducted by the Department of Enforcement.
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 2014, members of the public used this service to conduct 18.9 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at www.finra.org/brokercheck or by calling (800) 289-9999. Investors may find copies of this disciplinary action as well as other disciplinary documents in FINRA's Disciplinary Actions Online database.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent 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 rules, enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, and informing and educating the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.