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Long checkered history finally results in FINRA ban

Few of our Lexington readers are likely to accuse the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) of having a quick trigger finger. FINRA recently expelled an unethical broker whose first run-in with authorities was back in 1994. George Johnson was censured then, according to his page on FINRA's Broker Check site.

Since then, Johnson had problems in 1997, 1998 (twice), 2004, 2006 (twice), 2007 and 2015 (twice). FINRA has now barred him from the industry after he reportedly acted to artificially inflate the value of a penny stock.

The manipulation was over an eight-day period back in 2012, when Johnson allegedly solicited customers to buy stock in a company called IceWEB, WealthManagement.com reports. At the same time, he urged other customers to sell their IceWEB shares. This artificial inflation of the penny stock wasn't his only ethical violation that year; Johnson was involved in a separate penny stock fraud as well.

He also tried to cover up additional state securities violations, FINRA said.

Many might wonder why FINRA did not act to protect consumers long ago. After Johnson's 1994 censure, he settled a customer dispute for $80,000 in 1997 for alleged omission of facts. He and his employer settled before the matter went to arbitration.

A year later, he and his employer settled another omission of fact charge with a $100,000 settlement. Another settlement took place later that year (1998) for another $15,000. In his next settlement, for a bit more than $15,000, he was accused of making unauthorized trades.

His next settlement a few years later was confidential (his client was seeking nearly $200,000). Johnson was later fined by the Indiana Secretary of State for securities violations.

There's currently a $2,600,000 claim pending against him, according to FINRA.

For those who suffer losses because of a broker making unauthorized trades or who omits (or misrepresents) facts, there is hope of getting your money back. You can speak with skilled, effective Wall Street attorneys right here in Central Kentucky.

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