A Finra arbitrator awarded more than $5 million to a group of 13 investors who claimed that a Georgia-based broker ruined their financial lives.
The investors alleged that "their life savings and retirement assets were decimated" due to the fraudulent actions of Jason Charles Parker, a former broker with Edward Jones and LPL Financial. Finra has barred him from the industry and he has not worked at a brokerage since 2011.
The investors said Mr. Parker falsified client records, forged their signatures and engaged in self-dealing and unauthorized trading. They also alleged that he violated Georgia securities laws and the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Mr. Parker, who represented himself in the proceeding, asserted that the claim had not been served in time and that the case should be dismissed, according to the Oct. 25 award statement. The arbitrator determined that Mr. Parker was given proper notice. He awarded the investors $5,143,839.
Finra arbitrators usually do not explain their rulings. But in this matter, Brock B. Gordon Sr., the sole public arbitrator who heard the case in Atlanta, revealed what he thought about Mr. Parker's alleged conduct.
"[Mr.] Parker's mistreatment of these clients far surpassed mere negligence — he was excessively uncaring in performing his fiduciary duties to them; and he willfully violated Georgia state laws, which proscribed his behavior," Mr. Gordon wrote.
Mr. Parker took advantage of "long-standing trusting family relationships" to obtain his clients' business, according to Mr. Gordon.
"[Mr.] Parker set about to ravage the savings of trusting clients without a showing of remorse or concern over the consequences to his clients," Mr. Gordon wrote.
Mr. Parker worked for Edward Jones from 2007-11 and for less than a year for LPL Financial in 2011, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He had 10 regulatory disclosures over four years, including three customer disputes that were settled. Two of them involved the purchase of foreign stocks.