For the purpose of proposing a settlement of alleged Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") rule violations but without admitting or denying the findings, John P. Arena submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which the self-regulatory organization accepted. In the Matter of John P. Arena, Respondent (AWC/20090206191-01, September 30, 2011).
Arena first became registered in 2005, and in 2008 he affiliated with Chase Investment Services Corp. ("Chase") until that firm terminated his employment on or about November 16, 2009. Arena had no prior disciplinary history with any regulator.
On March 1, 2008, Arena was arrested and issued a summons for a misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated ("DWI").
During Chase's hiring process, Arena disclosed to the firm his 2008 DWI arrest and summons. Accordingly, on May 13, 2008, Chase filed a Form U4 for Arena that indicated for Question 14A that he had never been "convicted" or "charged" with "any felony." The terms of the U4 required Arena to timely amend any answers.
On or about June 13, 2008, the Grand Jury of the County Court of Suffolk County, State of New York, returned an eight-count indictment charging Arena with six felony counts and two misdemeanor counts in connection with his 2008 DWI. Approximately four months later, Chase filed an Amended U4 on October 7th; however, that update did not affirmatively confirm that Arena was now subject to having been "charged" with felonies.
On November 26, 2008, Arena pled guilty to two felonies and one misdemeanor. In accordance with the terms of his plea, Arena was placed on interim probation. Moreover, and most critically for the purposes of this article, the Court directed that upon the successful completion of the interim probation, Arena would be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea to the two felony counts, and, thereafter, he would be permitted to plead to three misdemeanors.
Although Arena pled guilty to two felonies on November 26th, Chase did not submit an amended U4 reflecting that change of answers to the initial May 2008 U4.
On September 1, 2009, the Court vacated Arena's November 2008 guilty plea and entered a subsequent guilty plea to three misdemeanor DWI charges.
In October and November 2009, Arena amended his U4 to disclose "yes" answers to questions about whether he had ever been charged or pled guilty to any felony.
Based on the FINRA's allegation that Arena violated Article V, Section 2 of the FINRA By-Laws and NASD Conduct Rule 2110 by not timely amending his answers to the felony queries on his U5, the regulator imposed upon Arena a 30-day suspension from association in any capacity with any FINRA member and a fine of $5,000.
The $5,000 fine must be paid either immediately upon Arena's reassociation with a FINRA member firm following his suspension, or prior to the filing of any application or request for relief from any statutory disqualification, whichever is earlier.