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Coral Gables, FL 33134

South Florida Broker Fined And Suspended For Unsuitable Investment Advice

Charles Bonilla (CRD #2572107) is a formerly registered broker and investment adviser. From December of 2015 to May of 2018, Mr. Bonilla was a securities representative of David Lerner Associates in Boca Raton, Florida. Subsequently, Mr. Bonilla worked for Pruco Securities in Boca Raton until February of 2019.

Earlier this year, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended former Florida broker Charles Bonilla after allegations that he made unsuitable investment recommendations to his clients. In this blog post, our Miami unsuitable investment lawyers provide a more detailed review of the allegations against Mr. Bonilla. 

Unsuitable Investment Recommendations: Florida Broker Charles Bonilla 

FINRA conducted an investigation of the conduct of securities broker Charles Bonilla. The evaluation focused on the period between December of 2015 and December of 2017. During that time, Mr. Bonilla was associated with David Lerner Associates. According to allegations raised by FINRA, former David Lerner Associates broker Charles Bonilla made energy sector investment recommendations to his customers without having a reasonable basis to do so. He failed to conduct adequate due diligence and did not properly disclose the risks to investors.

The Highly Illiquid Investments Suffered Significant Losses 

Under FINRA Rule 2111, securities brokers have a legal responsibility to ensure that they have a reasonable basis for making an investment recommendation. They must confirm that an investment opportunity is reasonably appropriate for a given client, with respect to their financial position, long-term objectives, and risk tolerance. As every customer’s risk profile is different, it is essential that brokers put in the time and resources necessary to understand the needs of their clients.

In this case, FINRA alleges that Mr. Bonilla advised clients to put their money into a fund that he did not fully understand. In reality, the fund was highly illiquid. Unfortunately, the energy sector fund suffered significant losses—nearly 40 percent of its value, before it suspended distributions. Altogether, Mr. Bonilla recommended that his investors put approximately $650,000 into the investment opportunity. For his part, he received more than $18,000 in financial commissions related to these investments.

Broker Sanctions: Fine, Disgorgement, and Suspension 

Based on the findings of its investigation, FINRA sought to impose several different sanctions against former Florida securities broker and registered investment adviser Charles Bonilla. Without admitting or denying any of the specific allegations raised against him, Mr. Bonilla consented to the following sanctions:

  • A $5,000 fine;
  • Disgorgement totaling $22,417.03; and
  • A five month suspension, running until July 15th, 2021. 

Call Our Miami, FL Unsuitable Investment Losses Attorneys Today

At ​Carlson & Associates, P.A., our Miami unsuitable investment lawyers are dedicated to helping investors recover money for illegitimate investment losses. If you have any questions about FINRA’s suitability rule, we are ready and willing to protect your rights. Call our firm right away for a completely confidential review and evaluation of your investment fraud case. From our Miami law office location, we handle unsuitable investment claims throughout all of South Florida.



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