The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) confirmed June 14, 2019 that it barred Cetera Advisors LLC securities broker George Craig Merhoff Jr. (CRD#: 2918171, Klamath Falls, Oregon) from the securities industry. Evidently, Merhoff executed Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) #:2018057331001 on June 3; FINRA accepted it June 14. Notably, Merhoff violated FINRA Rules because he did not follow FINRA’s instructions of handing over information while Merhoff was under investigation. Here’s more on the misconduct allegations against Merhoff:

FINRA Investigates George Craig Merhoff’s Undisclosed Client Payment, Use Of Consolidated Reports

The AWC shows that George Craig Merhoff worked at Cetera Advisors from February 28, 2012 to April 5, 2019. According to Cetera Advisors, it discharged Merhoff because he violated its policies and procedures by making an undisclosed payment to a Cetera Advisors client. FINRA confirmed that its investigation focused on two issues: that undisclosed payment and Merhoff’s distribution of consolidated reports.

FINRA indicated that Rule 8210 compelled George Craig Merhoff’s response to FINRA’s requests made in connection with the investigation. However, when FINRA asked Merhoff for his documents and information, Merhoff failed to respond. Namely, Merhoff did not give FINRA documents and information on May 3, 2019 – the due date. In fact, Merhoff did not respond even after FINRA extended the deadline to May 10, 2019. Eventually, Merhoff’s attorney told FINRA that Merhoff refused to comply with FINRA’s request. Merhoff’s submission of the AWC shows that he preferred to be barred rather than cooperate in the investigation.

Investors Bring April 2019 FINRA Arbitrations Suggesting Merhoff Breached Fiduciary Duty


FINRA BrokerCheck shows that between April 1, 2019 and April 25, 2019, Cetera Advisors clients filed FINRA Arbitrations #: 19-01126, 19-01091 and 19-00863. First, the clients alleged that Cetera Advisors or George Craig Merhoff acted negligently or irresponsibility with the client’s investments. Supposedly, Merhoff failed to conform his conduct to industry standards meant to protect investors from an unreasonable risk or harm. Secondly, the clients alleged that Cetera Advisors or Merhoff breached a fiduciary duty to them. Potentially, Merhoff made imprudent recommendations to the clients about stocks, or invested the clients’ assets in stocks when those investments did not reflect the clients’ goals or interests. Because of this, the clients demanded a total of $350,000 in compensation in these ongoing matters.

Cetera Client Alleges George Craig Merhoff Violated Oregon Securities Laws


FINRA Arbitration #19-00250, which a Cetera Advisors client filed February 4, 2019, concerns allegations of George Craig Merhoff’s sales practice violations. Specifically, the client claims that George Merhoff violated Oregon securities laws and FINRA Rules. Merhoff allegedly sold the client unreasonable or unsuitable stocks. This client further claims that Merhoff failed to comply with an investment agreement, and failed to comply with his fiduciary duty. As a result, the client brought the claim for $450,000 in compensation. This matter is pending a resolution.

FINRA Arbitration Suggests Merhoff Made Unsuitable Recommendations


What’s more, there is a Cetera Advisors client who filed FINRA Arbitration #19-00380 on February 11, 2019, naming George Craig Merhoff as a respondent. Mainly, the client indicated that Merhoff gave improper and harmful advice to the client about investing in equities. Indeed, the client suggested, like several other clients, that Merhoff was negligent and failed to comply with securities laws and FINRA Rules. Additionally, Merhoff or Cetera Advisors supposedly breached both a fiduciary duty and a contract governing the client’s investment affairs. As a result, the client alleged $306,635 in damages in this ongoing matter.

Lars Soreide Highest Ethical Standard Award 2018

Lars Soreide Highest Ethical Standard Award 2018

To date, Soreide Law Group has filed eight disputes on behalf of investors who suffered losses because of George Craig Merhoff and Cetera Advisors. Suffered losses from George Merhoff? If so, contact Soreide Law Group at (888) 760-6552. You’ll be able to speak with experienced counsel about a possible recovery of your investment losses. Notably, Soreide Law Group has recovered millions of dollars for investors who have suffered losses due to broker and brokerage firm misconduct. The firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis and advances all costs.