If you invested in a Woodbridge promissory note(s) upon the recommendation of broker Peter David Holler (CRD# 838897), you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration before FINRA. As disclosed by FINRA on May 21, 2018, registered representative Peter Holler has been suspended from the securities industry for a period of two years. From 2001 through August 2017, Mr. Holler was affiliated with Securities Service Network, LLC (BD No. 13318) (“SSN”) in their Bristol, TN office. FINRA BrokerCheck indicates that Mr. Holler was discharged from his employment with SSN on or about August 10, 2017 due to his alleged participation in “unapproved and undisclosed outside business activity…”
Pursuant to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”), through which Mr. Holler neither admitted or denied FINRA Enforcement’s findings, he accepted both the two-year suspension, as well as monetary penalties including a $10,000 fine and disgorgement of $49,790 in commissions received through the sale of unregistered Woodbridge securities to various investors. As encapsulated in the May 2018 AWC, Mr. Holler purportedly violated FINRA Rule 3280(b), an industry rule that prohibits brokers from participating in private securities transactions, without first providing written notice to their employer firm. Such written notice must set forth in detail the proposed transaction, as well as the financial advisor’s proposed role with regard to the contemplated transaction and whether he or she will receive any compensation in connection with the transaction.
According to FINRA Enforcement’s findings, from September 2016 – August 2017, Mr. Holler solicited various investors to purchase unregistered securities in certain Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Funds as offered through the Woodbridge Group of Companies (“Woodbridge”) of Sherman Oaks, CA. Further, FINRA Enforcement determined that Mr. Holler sold approximately $1.4 million in Woodbridge promissory notes to some 19 individuals, 9 of whom were SSN customers. In derogation of FINRA Rule 3280, Mr. Holler purportedly did not provide SSN with prior written notification of these private securities transactions.
As has been alleged by the SEC, Woodbridge and its owner and former CEO, Mr. Robert Shapiro, purportedly “used his web of more than 275 Limited Liability Companies to conduct a massive Ponzi scheme raising more than $1.22 billion from over 8,400 unsuspecting investors nationwide through fraudulent unregistered securities offerings.” According to Steven Peiken, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, the Woodbridge “[b]usiness model was a sham. The only way that Woodbridge was able to pay investors their dividends and interest payments was through the constant infusion of new investor money.”
Irrespective of whether Mr. Holler’s alleged outside business activity was conducted without his employer’s knowledge, brokerage firms like Securities Service Network nonetheless have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised. As such, brokerage firms must take reasonable steps to ensure that their brokers follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, as well as adhere to the firm’s internal policies and procedures. In instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their financial advisors, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.
Attorneys at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. have significant experience representing investors in disputes involving broker misconduct, including claims against broker-dealers for their failure to supervise. Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney via the contact form on this website, by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at email@example.com for a no-cost, confidential consultation.