Broker Michael DeLeo, who is associated with St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc., has been found guilty in a recent regulatory case of failing to report a felony within the timeframe required. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, DeLao was found guilty in a state court of Arizona for felony charges. DeLao successfully completed all court-imposed conditions, and the court reclassified DeLao’s offense to a misdemeanor.
Failure to disclose
Arizona law considers the offense to which DeLao pleaded to be a felony for all purposes. DeLao’s felony charge was disclosed within 30 calendar days of his being charged. He also had to admit his guilt in 10 days following the judgment of the court against him. DeLao did not disclose these details until many years later. He also falsely reported on the annual compliance questionnaires, that he was not aware of any arrests.
DeLao accepted the sanctions without admitting or disputing the findings. DeLao was fined $2,500 civil and administratively and suspended from all positions for three months between September 5, 2023 and December 4, 2023. St. Bernard Financial Services, Inc. fined DeLao previously for the same failure to disclose. FINRA reduced its fine in proportion.
Investors’ Recovery of Losses
Investors who suffered losses because of the actions taken by brokers such as DeLao, may be able recover those losses through FINRA Arbitration. The process begins with a claim filed with FINRA. This includes describing the nature of your dispute and what you want to achieve. A panel of arbitrators reviews the case and makes a binding ruling. The arbitration process is faster and less formal than a court case, which makes it attractive for investors looking for redress.
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An attorney who is familiar with securities law can help investors prepare for FINRA arbitration. They can assist in preparing the claim, gathering necessary evidence and representing the investor at the arbitration hearing. Remember that claims must be filed within a certain time period. If you suspect your broker has committed a wrong, it’s best to act quickly.
Investors may also use FINRA’s BrokerCheck to check out the background of their broker. This online resource gives information on a professional background of a broker, their conduct and any disciplinary measures taken by FINRA.
Investors should have confidence in the integrity and transparency of their brokers. FINRA’s arbitration and regulatory process hold brokers accountable when they fail to meet the standards.