TTENTION INVESTORS: FINRA Suspends Foresters Equity Services’ John Ernst For Woodbridge Notes Sales
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) imposed a suspension and $5,000 fine against Foresters Equity Services broker John Ernst (CRD#: 1958252, San Diego, California) for selling away. Specifically, Ernst submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent #: 2018057754401 on March 12, 2019. FINRA apparently accepted March 12, 2019, effectuating FINRA’s sanctions against him. Notably, Ernst did not contest FINRA finding that he made unauthorized Woodbridge promissory notes sales to Forester Equity Services customers. FINRA stated that Ernst violated FINRA Rules 3280 and 2010 for participating in unapproved private securities transactions. Here is a summary of the disciplinary action against him:
John Ernst Sold Over $500,000 In Woodbridge Notes Away From Foresters Equity Services
Namely, FINRA stated that John Ernst advised Foresters Equity Services customers to buy Woodbridge promissory notes. Supposedly, Ernst pushed Woodbridge as a real estate investment fund, but it was later determined by a federal judge to be a Ponzi scheme. Apparently, Ernst solicited four investors to buy the notes, three of which were Foresters customers. FINRA mentioned that Ernst sold over $500,000 in promissory notes to those investors and earned over $32,000 in commissions.
FINRA stated that Foresters Equity Services did not permit Ernst to sell those promissory notes to investors. Particularly, Foresters required its registered representatives to notify it about any of the representatives’ planned private securities transactions. Evidently, registered representatives including Ernst could only engage in private securities transactions with the firm’s permission. Evidently, Ernst did not inform Foresters Equity Services about his involvement in the promissory notes sales. Therefore, the brokerage firm did not approve of his activities.
John Ernst Lies To Foresters Equity Services About Selling Promissory Notes
Additionally, FINRA indicated that Ernst lied to Foresters Equity Services about selling away. Notably, the brokerage firm required Ernst to complete annual compliance questionnaires and confirm whether he engaged in any unapproved private securities transactions. Supposedly, Ernst completed three questionnaires in 2015, 2016 and in 2017, claiming he did not participate in private securities transactions without Foresters’ approval. Not only that, but Ernst also claimed in 2016 and 2017 questionnaires that he did not sell investors any promissory notes.
Upon discovering Ernst’s actions, Foresters Equity Services Inc. discharged Ernst. Principally, the brokerage firm alleged that Ernst violated its policies and procedures by selling away. Also, Ernst supposedly failed to notify Foresters Equity Services Inc. about an regulatory investigation into his Woodbridge promissory notes sales.
Wisconsin Regulator Bars Ernst, Orders Disgorgement Of Commissions On Woodbridge Promissory Notes Sales
Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institution Division of Securities sanctioned Ernst for his Woodbridge promissory notes sales. Specifically, the Division of Securities barred Ernst in all capacities for 36 months for selling the promissory notes without “proper qualifications” and for selling the notes behind the brokerage firm’s back. Not only that, but the Division ordered Ernst to disgorge $13,824.78.
Woodbridge has since declared bankruptcy and investors may have experienced losses. Did you purchase promissory notes from Foresters Equity Services broker John Ernst? If so, contact Soreide Law Group at (888) 760-6552 and speak with experienced counsel about a possible recovery of your investment losses. Soreide Law Group represents clients on a contingency fee basis and advances all costs. The firm has recovered millions of dollars for investors who have suffered losses due to misconduct of brokers and brokerage firms.