OBERT LAWSON Barred by SEC and FINRA
The SEC barred Lawson Financial Corporation (“LFC”) founder and CEO Robert Lawson (CRD#: 501167, Phoenix, Arizona) for committing fraud. Evidently, on April 5, 2017, SEC issued an Order instructing Lawson – who worked for the securities firm from 1984 to 2017 – to pay nearly $100,000 in fines and penalties, and $179,000 in disgorgement. Most importantly, this Order precluded Lawson from maintaining any broker or advisor designation. Here’s more on the troubling allegations against Lawson:
SEC Suggests Robert Lawson Helped Bond Issuer Execute Fraudulent Scheme
SEC says Robert Lawson and LFC helped execute a fraudulent conduit bond offering to benefit Atlanta businessman, Christopher Brogdon. Supposedly, the offering brought in several million dollars from clients and other securities firms for Brogdon’s healthcare projects. The SEC’s Order also noted that Brogdon raised $87,000,000 through 13 conduit bond offerings. Evidently, LFC was underwriter for all of them.
Mainly, SEC stated that Christopher Brogdon misappropriated investor proceeds. He supposedly used the funds to pay expenses bearing no relation to the offerings. SEC also claimed Brogdon paid prior investors from other unelated offerings and used investor funds to pay for his “lavish lifestyle”.
Supposedly, Brogdon also claimed to investors that a borrower he controlled complied with all municipal securities disclosure requirements. However, borrowers Brogdon controlled made several breaches of those requirements in the past. SEC says those omission prevented investors from being able to appropriately assess the risks of those borrowers not complying with municipal securities disclosures going forward.
Lawson Evidently Fails To Conduct Due Diligence On Bond Offerings
Evidently, Robert Lawson and LFC did not conduct sensible due diligence on the Brogdon offerings. For example, Lawson failed to investigate myriad red flags concerning Brogdon’s borrowers. Because of this, Lawson could not ensure the veracity of the statements made in the bond offerings. Notably, the initial purchasers in the offerings and subsequent bond purchasers and sellers did not possess critical details about risks. Eventually, SEC determined that Lawson violated Section 17 of the Securities Act and aided LFC’s infraction of Section 16 of the Exchange Act.
FINRA Bars Robert Lawson For Fraud
On January 31, 2017, FINRA entered a Decision and Order of Offer of Settlement #:2014043854401 regarding Robert Lawson’s fraudulent activities. Lawson accepted that he violated the Exchange Act, SEC and MSRB Rules. First of all, FINRA says Lawson executed a scheme defrauding bond investors. Supposedly, Lawson misappropriated millions from one of his clients to provide financial support for four revenue bonds and to prevent borrowers from defaulting. Apparently, Lawson withheld information from clients about the illegal fund transfers and the bond borrower’s bad financial condition.
Lawson Makes Fraudulent Recommendations To Clients
FINRA also says that Robert Lawson made fraudulent recommendations to clients about the bonds. Particularly, FINRA says Lawson willfully concealed adverse information, including information about his connection to the borrowers. Also, FINRA stated Lawson violated the Exchange Act and a MSRB Rules through misrepresenting and omitting information official statements for the bonds, and for having no basis to believe it was suitable for any investor to buy the bonds. The findings further confirm Lawson placed his interests ahead of his trust client by self-dealing. Supposedly, Lawson breached fiduciary duties in this respect. Notably, FINRA says Lawson improperly withdrew more than $14,000,000 from the trust, depleting it by nearly half.
Clients File Disputes About Lawson Suggesting Misrepresentation, Unsuitability
Evidently, on January 12, 2017, a Lawson Financial Corporation client brought FINRA Arbitration #:16-03725. Supposedly, Robert Lawson sold that client bad municipal debt investments. Therefore, the client demanded $1,285,000 in compensation. Also, a Lawson Financial Corporation client brought FINRA Arbitration #:16-03340 on December 14, 2016. Mainly, the client suggested Lawson misrepresented a municipal bond that he sold the client. Because of this, the client demanded $20,000 in damages. Both of the complaints are ongoing. Furthermore, in at least three cases, FINRA Arbitrators found Lawson liable for selling misrepresented and unsuitable investments. As a result, those Arbitrators ordered Lawson to compensate clients to the tune of $620
,456 in sum.
Have you suffered losses by investing with Robert Lawson? 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.