An AWC was issued in which Michael Joseph Lancaster (CRD #1353552) was suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for four months. Lancaster was also assessed a deferred fine of $10,000 and ordered to pay deferred disgorgement of commissions received in the amount of $4,410, plus interest.
Michael Joseph Lancaster did not admit or deny the findings but did consent to FINRA’s sanction and the entry of findings that he “recommended that a customer, who was 72 years old at the time, invest $70,000 in shares of a commercial equipment leasing and finance fund, which was an alternative investment, even though the investment was inconsistent with the customer’s investment profile and financial situation.”
FINRA’s findings further stated that “the liquid net worth required for the customer’s investment amount, as stated in the investment prospectus, exceeded the customer’s liquid net worth. In addition, the high-risk and illiquid nature of the investment was not consistent with the customer’s moderate risk tolerance. Yet, the customer used funds from his retirement account to make the investment. Even though the investment subsequently declined in value, the customer continued to hold the investment based on Lancaster’s recommendation that he do so. The investment continued to decline in value until the customer liquidated the investment nearly 10 years later. The customer sustained losses and was compensated by Lancaster’s member firm.”
According to FINRA’S findings, the customer complained to Lancaster about the investment’s performance. Afterward, Lancaster allegedly “made payments to the customer totaling $14,460.40 to attempt to settle the complaint without the knowledge or approval of his firm.”
The findings further included that “Lancaster submitted compliance questionnaires to his firm falsely stating that he had not made any private settlement of claims or reimbursed customers for losses. Subsequently, the customer, through his attorney, sent a written complaint to the firm regarding Lancaster, including Lancaster’s attempt to settle his complaint.”
Michael Joseph Lancaster’s (CRD #1353552) suspension is in effect from November 21, 2022-March 20, 2023.