The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said it expelled an Austin brokerage firm from the securities industry and barred the firm's former president and a broker from working in the industry.
Barred are the firm's former President, George Conwill, and Peter Aman, a former broker at the firm. FINRA said they and their firm,APS Financial Corporation, in a scheme which overcharged an elderly investor by $1.2 million.
FINRA found that Aman charged mark-ups ranging from 4.15% to fraudulently excessive mark-ups as high as 67% when executing 45 transactions for customers of APS Financial, in Austin. Forty-three of these excessive or fraudulent mark-ups were related to transactions for the accounts of a single elderly investor. Aman overcharged this elderly investor by more than $1.2 million through undisclosed mark-ups, including $767,000 in fraudulently excessive mark-ups.
FINRA also barred Conwill and expelled APS Financial for rule violations relating to trading in corporate high yield bonds, collateralized mortgage obligations and collateralized debt obligations. Both APS Financial and Conwill were cited for charging excessive mark-ups and supervision violations.
"There is no room in the securities industry for those who prey upon elderly investors," said Thomas Gira, EVP FINRA's Department of Market Regulation.
Overall, APS Financial Corporation overcharged customers on 59 transactions. Conwill approved all 53 mark-ups above 5 percent, including 42 of the 43 excessive or fraudulent mark-ups for the elderly investor's accounts.