WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today a decision barring James Van Doren from the securities industry for unethical conduct involving money laundering and a scheme to deceive a friend's creditors and facilitate violations of law, including conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud. The ruling resolves charges brought by FINRA's Department of Enforcement in October 2014 and in its amended complaint.
The default decision finds that Van Doren engaged in unethical conduct in violation of FINRA rules by helping a childhood friend and business associate evade legal obligations by deceiving his creditors. Van Doren had invested in several real estate deals with his friend's company in an outside business activity. When the company was not able to meet its obligations, creditors attempted to claim the friend's assets. On three separate occasions, Van Doren accepted a total of $244,000 from his friend, including $30,000 in cash in a briefcase, with the purpose of concealing the assets from the creditors. He later returned most of the money to his friend and retained some of the money to offset financial losses he suffered. On one occasion, Van Doren made false representations to his own bank in an effort to obtain additional funds.
In connection with the scheme, Van Doren has pleaded guilty in federal district court to one count of money laundering and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
In addition to the violations stated above, the decision notes that Van Doren is "a grave risk to customers, firms and other participants in the industry," and is "unfit to be in the securities industry and should be barred."
Unless the decision is appealed to FINRA's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC), or is called for review by the NAC, the decision becomes final after 25 days.
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 2015, members of the public used this service to conduct 71 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. Investors can also call FINRA's Securities Helpline for Seniors at (844) 57-HELPS for assistance or to raise concerns about issues they have with their brokerage accounts and investments.
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.