Former Merrill Lynch financial advisor D Membla (CRD# 4357042) is accused of excessive trading and unsuitable investment recommendations. Membla was registered with Merrill Lynch in Chicago, Illinois from 2001 to 2016, when he was terminated regarding, “Conduct including circumventing Firm limitations on the accumulation of mutual fund shares in customer accounts resulting in a loss of management’s confidence.”
In February 2019, FINRA barred Membla after he “consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he entered and later canceled fictitious mutual fund sell orders to circumvent restrictions placed by his member firm and mutual fund providers on the amount of Class B shares an investor can own. The findings stated these fictitious sell orders and subsequent purchases of Class B shares caused the accounts of customers to exceed the accumulation limit by a total of $863,000. The firm subsequently provided $31,801 in restitution to these customers. The findings also stated that Dembla caused the firm to maintain inaccurate books and records by making false entries on firm databases as to why the clients wanted to sell Class B shares.”
Membla has been the subject of four customer complaints between 2016 and 2017, according to his CRD report:
- October 2017. “The Customer alleges excessive trading and unsuitable investments from December 31, 2010 until December 31, 2015.” The customer sought $790,925 in damages and the case was settled for $95,000. The case was regarding Unit Investment Trusts including corporate, government and municipal securities.
- January 2017. “The Customer alleges unsuitable investment recommendations from May 2012 to September 2016.” The case was settled for $167,000. The case was regarding Unit Investment Trusts.
- January 2017. “The Customer alleges unsuitable investment recommendations from January 2012 to April 2016.” The case was settled for $110,000. The case was regarding Unit Investment Trusts.
- January 2016. “The Customers allege unsuitable investments recommendations from January 2013 to July 2015.” The case was settled for $200,000. The case was regarding Unit Investment Trusts.
Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, Merrill Lynch may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Membla’s customers.
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