Bad Boy Broker and the FINRA Rap Sheet

 Creative Commons. Photo by Mike Licht

Creative Commons. Photo by Mike Licht

Bad Boy Broker Generates Buzz

You may have already seen the attention-grabbing headlines related to that rare phenomenon: a somewhat sexy and scandalous financial advisor misconduct news story… “Broker ‘Invested’ $600K in Guns, Tattoos, and Bikes!” Check out the New York Post’s coverage by clicking here. At any rate, yes, this story broke a few days ago, and it seems to be generating some buzz in traditional and new media outlets, mostly for the wrong reasons. The press just loves to pillory the bad boys of Wall Street, especially when their bad behavior makes for a singularly sensational headline. What we found interesting about this story however is not how exceptional it is, but how, when you take away the guns, and the tattoos, and the motorcycles, ordinary it is. As we’ve posted fairly recently, FINRA faces a constant battle against rogue brokers who do all kinds of crazy and illegal things with other people’s money. George Carris’ alleged exploits are just some of the more colorful in a litany of scams and fraud perpetrated by crooked financial advisers every day on unsuspecting investors.  But get this…

We’ve Seen the Name Carris Before Somewhere…

A few weeks ago, we named the names of numerous brokers and brokerage firms who were the subject of disciplinary action by FINRA over the summer. We thought we might help raise awareness out there among retail investors by circulating the names of these alleged offenders. After all, for every one investor who takes legal action against a shifty broker, there are ten more out there who don’t--or worse, who are totally unaware they’ve been victimized in the first place. If you scan down that list of names, you’ll come across a firm by the name of John Carris Investments LLC. The firm came under fire by FINRA for what appears to be a highly complex and manipulative “intentional prearranged trading scheme.” The individual brokers mentioned in the FINRA action are Jason Barter, Andrey Tkatchenko, and, guess who… George Carris. The same George Carris who allegedly bought $600K in Guns, Tattoos, and Bikes! Read more here.

Headlines Are Fun, But FINRA’s BrokerCheck Is Forever

It’s FINRA’s job not only to police the securities industry in general and brokers in particular, but to keep detailed records on various infractions and disciplinary actions taken against financial advisors and brokerage firms. You can access these records, and run a quick search on any FINRA registered broker, via FINRA’s incredibly useful search tool called BrokerCheck. It’s inside the database underlying BrokerCheck where, once the media frenzy over the Bad Boy Broker settles down and once FINRA completes its investigation of Carris, that a record of just how much of a bad boy he really is will live on in perpetuity. Sensationalism sells newspapers and draws clicks, but BrokerCheck could save you from the next scam artist or wild child pretending to have your best interest in mind while he or she blows all your hard-earned savings. In other words, much like tattoos, the rap sheet you can get from crossing FINRA is also forever.