Ex-broker ordered to pay $550K for bilking investors with modest incomes ​

SEC obtains default judgment on reckless trading of leveraged ETFs and ETNs, theft from unsophisticated investors

Oct 2, 2017 @ 1:54 pm

By InvestmentNews

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a final judgment by default against former broker Demitrios Hallas, who was charged with "knowingly or recklessly trading unsuitable investment products" in the accounts of five customers and stealing more than $170,000 from one of them.

The Sept. 27 decision ordered Mr. Hallas to pay $549,987.64 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties. The SEC alleged that instead of investing funds on customers' behalf, he deposited them into his own bank accounts and spent the money on personal expenses.

According to the SEC's initial announcement of the charges in April, the products included leveraged exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes. That announcement also alleged that Mr. Hallas' clients included unsophisticated investors with modest incomes.

Mr. Hallas began his securities career in 2001 at First Union Securities, according to Finra's BrokerCheck website. He worked at 11 firms through 2015 — including three times at Chase Investment Services.

He failed to respond to a request for information from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in March 2016 and was suspended. He was barred in June 2016.

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