A Florida broker was barred from the securities business for recommending to 31 National Football League players that they invest in a casino project that led to losses of more than $40 million, industry regulators said today.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. said broker Jeffrey Rubin of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recommended the unsuitable investment and failed to get approval from his firms to be involved in the securities deal for the now-bankrupt Alabama casino.
“This case demonstrates how broker misconduct can target high-income, inexperienced and vulnerable investors,” said Brad Bennett, Finra's enforcement chief. “Jeffrey Rubin took advantage of professional athletes who placed their trust in him.”
In settling the case with Finra, Mr. Rubin neither admitted nor denied the findings and agreed to be barred from the securities industry. His attorney, Patricia Christiansen, did not return a call seeking comment.
The Finra action did not name any of the NFL clients who lost money, but news reports identified some of them as: Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse, Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, Clinton Portis, Roscoe Parrish, Gerard Warren, Kyle Orton, Greg Olsen, Santonio Holmes and Santana Moss.
Mr. Rubin's company, Pro Sports Financial Inc., charged a $40,000 annual fee to professional athletes for financial-related “concierge” services, according to the Finra action. From March 2006 to June 2008, while he was a broker at Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and Alterna Capital Corp., Mr. Rubin recommended that one of his clients invest $3.5 million, the majority of his liquid net worth, in four risky investments, it said.
That client signed on with Mr. Rubin in 2002 after he had signed a multimillion-dollar contract with an NFL team and told the broker he wanted investments with “moderate” growth and sought to have enough money not to work when he retired, the Finra agreement said. Mr. Rubin also recommended three other risky investments to that client, the action said.
From January 2008 through March 2011, 30 more clients of Mr. Rubin's firm — all of whom were NFL players — invested $40 million in the casino project, Finra said. During that time, Mr. Rubin received $500,000 plus 4% ownership in the casino for making these referrals, according to the Finra settlement.