Florida Broker Suspended for One Year After Failing to Disclose Felony Grand Theft Charge
Cesar A. Barrios (CRD#: 6263225) is a previously registered securities broker. From May of 2015 to August of 2019, Mr. Barrios was a registered representative for PFS Investments. INC (CRD#: 10111/SEC#: 801-72263,8-2648). During his time at the firm, this broker was based at a Miami Lakes branch office.
On January 15th 2021, former South Florida broker Cesar A. Barrios was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for one year for willfully failing to disclose a grand theft felony charge. In this post, our Miami investment fraud attorney explains the settlement reached between the broker and the agency.
FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC): Florida Broker Cesar A. Barrios
According to the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver & Consent signed by Mr. Barrios (NO. 2019063621101), FINRA initially launched its investigation in August of 2019 after receiving confirmation that this securities broker had been terminated by his member firm. The agency alleges that Cesar A. Barrios engaged in two primary forms of broker misconduct:
- Failure to Disclose Felony Charges and Convictions: The securities industry has very strict disclosure requirements for registered representatives and associated persons. Professionals must disclose certain types of legal violations. Among other things, this includes reporting felony charges and felony convictions. In 2015, Mr. Barrios was reportedly arrested and charged with felony grand theft and felony uttering a forged instrument in Broward County, Florida. However, this was never reported to his member firm or to securities industry regulators. Eventually, he pled nolo contendere (no contest) to the felony charges.
- Participation in Unapproved Outside Business Activities: FINRA also alleges that former Florida broker Cesar A. Barrios participated in unapproved, undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) while a representative of PFS Investments. INC. Several specific undisclosed business activities were cited by the agency, including work as a used car salesman. Under FINRA Rule 3270, all registered representatives have an affirmative duty to disclose OBAs to their member firm and seek approval before moving forward with the matter. Broker-dealers are responsible for ensuring that the OBAs of their financial advisors do not create conflicts of interests or otherwise undermine the financial interests of their customers.
After investigating the matter and reviewing the specific allegations of misconduct, FINRA recommended a one year suspension from the securities industry for Mr. Barrios. Without admitting or denying misconduct, this broker consented to the agency’s proposed penalties. His suspension from the securities industry is set to run from January 19th, 2021 until January 18th, 2022. In light of the respondent’s specific financial circumstances, FINRA declines to impose any monetary penalties.
Call Our Miami, Florida Investment Fraud Attorney for Legal Guidance
At Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Florida securities law attorneys are results-driven advocates for investors. We know how to hold brokers and broker-dealers accountable for misconduct. If you have questions about your rights, our legal team can help. We represent investors throughout the region, including in Miami, Miami Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.