Please call 1-866-817-0201 to speak to a lawyer if you suffered losses with Brian Candler or Ari Financial. Ari Financial of Overland Park, Kansas and Candler of Leawood, Kansas have recently resolved regulatory actions against them concerning failures in the review and supervision of the investments sold. Some of these investments were ultimately revealed to be Ponzi schemes, such as the investments in Bridgeport Oaks. The regulatory settlement can be found at the following link.
In summary, Ari Financial submitted an Offer of Settlement in which the firm was censured, fined $7,500 and, for a period of one year, must file with FINRA’s Advertising Regulation department all retail communications that the firm intends to permit its registered representatives to use or distribute at least 10 business days prior to use. Candler was censured, fined $2,500, suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 10 business days, and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any principal capacity for 10 business days, to be served after the completion of the suspension in any capacity.
Without admitting or denying the allegations, the firm and Candler consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that Candler failed to conduct reasonable due diligence regarding a private placement that the firm sold directly to retail investors. The findings stated that as a result, the firm lacked a reasonable basis to believe that the private placement was suitable for any investor. The offering was later discovered to be a Ponzi scheme, and customers who purchased interests lost their collective investment principal of approximately $560,000.
The findings also stated that as a result of deficiencies in its supervisory system, the firm failed to identify and prevent the dissemination of misleading and imbalanced advertising and sales materials by registered brokers, and failed to ensure that the offering materials prepared and distributed contained sufficient and accurate disclosures. The findings also included that the firm failed to document the written approval of the advertising and sales material it used, and the first and last dates of use. FINRA found that Candler provided medallion signature guarantees for numerous pre-signed securities assignment forms without having the forms signed in his presence or otherwise verifying their authenticity Moreover, despite providing signature guarantees for numerous securities transfers, ARI and Candler had not previously established any supervisory system or written procedures for the firm’s medallion signature guarantee program.
Candler did not establish a supervisory system for the firm’s medallion signature guarantee program. Following the receipt of a complaint that Candler improperly provided signature guarantees in connection with certain securities transfers, he established deficient written supervisory procedures (WSPs) governing the firm’s activities as a guarantor. FINRA also found that the firm and Candler failed to retain and review certain securities business-related communications to and from its registered representatives, and failed to establish appropriate escrow accounts for contingent offerings. The firm’s WSPs did not include appropriate provisions to ensure that its standards regarding communications with the public were implemented and followed, and Candler did not enforce the WSPs that required it to preserve all business email. In addition, FINRA found that although the firm had WSPs that generally addressed the supervision of its private placement activities, they were often insufficiently tailored to the nature of its business and amounted to a supervisory system that was not reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.