Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

May 14, 2016

Wells Fargo Employee Withdraws Money From Customers ATM Accounts

I often marvel at the power and majesty of euphemisms. For example, consider the definition of the legal term "conversion" as provided by


n. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts another's property to his/her own use, which is a fancy way of saying "steals." Conversion includes treating another's goods as one's own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor's (taker's) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her. This gives the true owner the right to sue for his/her own property or the value and loss of use of it, as well as going to law enforcement authorities since conversion usually includes the crime of theft.

I gotta give credit for that lovely admission that "conversion" is "a fancy way of saying 'steals.'" Unfortunately, we don't always see such candor in the official (and often officious) pronouncements from various courts, administrative and regulatory organizations, and the like. I'm not going to be a hypocrite, however, and pretend that I don't understand why public documents resort to the technically-correct lexicon.  You have to be careful in this litigious age about asserting that someone engaged in the crime of theft when no one has been criminally charged and no one has been found guilty of a crime. Nonetheless, many of us cringe when we read the tortured language used to paint the picture of what strikes us as criminal theft but frequently gets ascribed to mere civil conversion. Consider a recent FINRA regulatory settlement. It's not that the respondent stole anything. No . . . what he did was engage in conversion via unauthorized withdrawals from someone else's bank account. I mean, c'mon now, you're not really going to suggest that he stole anything, are you? READ

Online Microcap Finder Fee Platform Raises FINRA Regulatory Concerns

An enterprising registered person rolled out an online Finder's Platform seeking to introduce investors to microcap issuers. An online Finder's Platform, now that's a cool idea. Microcap issuers? Ummm . . . how can I put this delicately . . . maybe not such a wonderful thing. Let's face it, few things on Wall Street have fallen into more disfavor than anything associated with the microcap scene. That being said, however, maybe creating an online community where smaller companies are introduced to legitimate financing could alleviate a lot of the promotional fraud and unsustainable funding that afflicts that end of the market. Note my use of "maybe" and "could" in that last sentence. Apparently, the online platform thing didn't go off without a hitch because today's Blog discusses a recent FINRA regulatory settlement with that innovative registered rep's member firm. READ

FINRA Sanctions Stockbroker's Loans From Mom, Friend And Friend's Wife

We start today's Blog with one stockbroker in need of some cash. He goes to his mom, who lends him $15,000. He goes to his close friend and the friend's wife, who lend him $50,000. The three folks who extended the loans were also customers of the borrowing stockbroker. Oh my . . . you know that this is just not gonna end well. READ

FINRA Wins Scottsdale Capital Advisors Motion To Dismiss

This is an update of "Scottsdale Sues FINRA In Edgy Effort To Halt Disciplinary Case" ( Blog, March 28, 2016) READ

Female Completed Continuing Ed For Male Supervisor

To say that a recent FINRA regulatory settlement - or two settlements, to be precise - perplexes me would be a gross understatement. All of which prompted today' Blog, which you may call a diatribe, jeremiad, tirade, or angry critique. However you view my commentary, consider the facts for yourself and feel free to draw your own conclusions. READ