A former Commonwealth Financial Network broker has been barred from the brokerage industry for failing to appear at a Finra disciplinary hearing for his alleged participation in several pyramid schemes.
Lloyd Dotson, who could not be reached for comment, was fired from Commonwealth in June 2006, a decade after he started with the company, according to the firm's general counsel, Jim Adelman.
According to a Finra letter of acceptance, waiver and consent, Mr. Dotson was fired for "engaging in multiple outside business activities where he used an alias to promote participation in multi-level marketing programs" without gaining approval from Commonwealth.
Mr. Dotson was investigated by Commonwealth prior to his termination, Adelman said in an email to InvestmentNews, and found that he failed to provide prior written notice or written approval from the firm for the alleged activities, in violation of FINRA rules.
"To our knowledge, no Commonwealth clients invested in his unapproved programs. After investigation, we immediately terminated Lloyd for cause," Adelman wrote.
Mr. Dotson, who has a long history of documented Finra violations, dating back to a 1997 misdemeanor charge of unemployment compensation fraud, is also being promoted as a lawsuit target by the New York law firm of Fitapelli Kurta.
"We've spoken with some of his former clients and we're still gathering documents," said the law firm's managing partner Jonathan Kurta.
Citing online videos of Mr. Dotson discussing investments in a pyramid scheme, Mr. Kurta said is it not clear what exactly was being offered for sale.
"I think the whole point of a pyramid scheme is that it's vague and they never talk about what you get," he said. "With the rise of social media it becomes easier and easier to get people to sign up for this kind of thing."
In one video Mr. Dotson identifies himself as "Six-Figure Sage," and says he is also the "senior managing partner of a multimillion dollar financial services firm," and wanted to branch out into becoming a "digital entrepreneur."
According to Finra's BrokerCheck, Mr. Dotson worked for Merrill Lynch, from 2001 to 2006, and for A.G. Edwards from 1995 to 2001.
Merrill Lynch did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A.G. Edwards is a Wells Fargo predecessor firm.
Mr. Dotson's attorney, Richard Slavin of Cohen and Wolf, declined to comment but confirmed that the Finra ruling cannot be appealed.