NAC Decision Upholds FINRA’s Ban of Florida Financial Advisor Who Refuses to Cooperate Into Investigation of Multi-Million Fraud Allegations
On March 10th, 2021, the National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) upheld FINRA’s bar on a Florida financial advisor. In the Matter of Department of Enforcement v. Robert Juan Escobio, the NAC determined that former Southern Trust Securities broker Robert J. Escobio (CRD#: 703813) was not justified when he failed to provide documents and on-the-record testimony to FINRA in relation to allegations that he participated in a multi-million dollar commodities fraud scheme. Below, our Miami financial advisor fraud attorneys discuss the decision from the NAC.
Former Miami Financial Advisor Robert Escobio Was Charged With Fraud By the CFTC
Robert J. Escobio served as a representative for Southern Trust Securities in Miami, Florida from mid-2000 through mid-2017. In 2014, he was charged with civil commodities fraud by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). More than 130 investors were allegedly affected by the misconduct. The CFTC found him liable and ordered him to pay $2,103,617.00 in financial restitution to investors, along with other sanctions/penalties.
FINRA Initiated Its Own Investigation—But the Financial Advisor Failed to Comply
Following the findings of misconduct by the CFTC, FINRA launched its own investigation into the professional actions of former Southern Trust Securities representative Robert Escobio. However, in violation of his duties under FINRA Rule 8210, Mr. Escobio declined to cooperate with the inquiry. He did not provide documents/records that were requested nor did he sit for on-the-record testimony. As a result of the violation, FINRA barred Mr. Escobio from the industry. The financial advisor challenged FINRA’s decision to the National Adjudicatory Council.
NAC Ruling: FINRA Justified in Barring Former Broker
In reviewing the case, the NAC was tasked with evaluating Mr. Escobio’s actions in light of his professional duties under FINRA Rule 8210. The NAC notes that this financial advisor received five official requests for documents and information from FINRA. Three were sent via email and two were conveyed over the phone.
In 2019, FINRA received correspondence from Mr. Escobio’s attorney. The letter indicated that, among other things, the financial advisor had received the requests from the agency. The letter also confirmed that Mr. Escobio was not planning on providing any testimony.
As NAC finds that it is an undisputed fact that the former Southern Trust Securities broker failed to comply with FINRA Rule 8210, the Council has upheld his permanent bar from the industry. The NAC determined that his arguments that he should not have been required to comply do not hold merit.
Call Our Miami Financial Advisor Misconduct Lawyers for Help With Your Case
At Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Florida financial advisor fraud attorneys are devoted to helping investors recover fair financial compensation for their losses. If you or someone you know needs legal representation, our team can help. Call us today or send us an email online to arrange a fully private review of your case. We fight to protect investor rights in Miami, South Florida, and communities beyond.