Widow awarded $4.2 million by Finra panel for theft by ex-Royal Alliance broker

The former broker, Gary Basralian, earlier pleaded guilty to theft and is facing up to 20 years in prison

Jan 16, 2019 @ 5:27 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

A widow with a brain injury has been awarded $4.2 million by a Finra arbitration panel that found that a former broker for Royal Alliance Associates stole money from her.

The ex-broker, Gary Basralian, 71, admitted in August as part of plea agreement in federal court to stealing at least $2 million from his clients that he spent on himself, including payments for a BMW and credit cards.

He is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face up to 20 years in prison.

In two awards released earlier this week, an arbitration panel from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. found Mr. Basrilian and Royal Alliance each liable for $2.1 million and another $500,000 each in attorneys' fees.

Mr. Basralian, who joined Royal Alliance Associates in 1989, was barred from the industry in March 2018 by Finra. He resigned from the firm in December 2017.

"Our client is happy that the Finra panel followed the law and that justice was served," said Jonathan Kurta, the lawyer representing investor Cathy Carter.

"They are making Royal Alliance responsible for the conduct of an employee who was also a supervisor at the firm," Mr. Kurta said of the Finra award.

Ms. Carter, 54, was the first victim to file a claim against Royal Alliance related to Mr. Basralian's actions.

Mr. Kurta said he does not think Ms. Carter will ever see any award money from Mr. Basralian.

"We expect him to be in jail in a month or so," Mr. Kurta said.

Mr. Kurta, along with Adam Gana, are representing the remaining victims in two separate cases now pending before Finra.

"Gary Basralian is one of the worst brokers ever licensed," said Mr. Gana. "It's unbelievable that he had gotten away with the type of theft, and the award is reflective of the absolute travesty that Basralian is."

Craig Raskin, a spokesman for Advisor Group, the parent company of Royal Alliance, said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but noted that the $2.1 million the broker-dealer is paying represented a settlement offer.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


What's driving volatility and what's ahead?

Will there be another rate hike? How could it impact markets in 2019. Ed Rosenberg of American Century breaks it down and has all the answers.

Latest news & opinion

10 top scams targeting seniors

Phone calls to a Senate committee hotline show trends in frauds perpetrated against seniors.

Robert Moore, Cetera CEO, stepping down for health reasons

Chairman Ben Brigeman will serve as interim chief executive while a search for a permanent CEO is conducted.

The AMT is no longer a problem for many clients

With income thresholds higher and a lower SALT deduction after tax reform, the AMT will realistically only apply to wealthy Americans with out-of-the-ordinary tax events.

Cetera, other broker-dealers refuse to sign Ohio National contracts

Advisers wonder what the lack of a formal brokerage agreement means from a regulatory standpoint.

10 millennials making their mark in Washington — and beyond

These next-generation leaders are raising their voices and gaining influence over financial advice regulation and legislation.


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print