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.

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