Sandlapper Securities, LLC
9/25/17 – Present
Sandlapper Financial Center
800 E. North St., 2nd Floor
Greenville, SC 29601
Bridge Valley Financial Services, LLC
8/2007 – Present
In July 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities fined Newbridge Securities Corp. $499,000 for failure to supervise one broker.
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities Consent Order states: “Newbridge failed to reasonably supervise one agent in connection with his sales of structured products to certain clients of his in Pennsylvania, which acts and conduct form a basis to deny, suspend, revoke, or condition the registration of Newbridge or to censure Newbridge …”
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, Newbridge shows 33 disclosure events since 2000; this is the same year Newbridge registered with the NASD, FINRA’s predecessor agency. BrokerCheck gives you a snapshot of a broker’s employment history, licensing information and regulatory actions, arbitrations and complaints.
As initially reported by Philly.com Business Writer, Joseph N. DiStefano, and now showing in FINRA’s BrokerCheck, the “one agent” is Austin Dutton. Roughly two weeks after Newbridge was fined $499,000, Austin Richard Dutton, Jr. (Bridge Valley Financial Services, LLC of 171 South Main St., Doylestown, PA 18901) entered into a Consent Agreement & Order to pay $200,000 for “dishonest or unethical practices in the securities business.”
Specifically, the Consent Agreement & Order was pursuant to allegations that “Dutton engaged in dishonest or unethical practices in the securities business by recommending to a customer the purchase, sale, or exchange of a security without reasonable grounds to believe that the transaction or recommendation was suitable for the customer…”
Dutton has made headlines before in Philadelphia for selling non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) managed by American Realty Capital (ARC), now AR Global. After an accounting scandal at an ARC-related firm (American Reality Capital Properties), the Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Dutton. Specifically, he was questioned about his sales of ARC REITs to Philadelphia police officers and city employees.
I made a big mistake: I gave every client my cell number, Dutton told Joseph DiStefano.
The accounting scandal at ARCP resulted in its former chief accounting officer pleading guilty to securities fraud and ex-chief financial officer being found guilty of securities fraud in a jury trial.
As stated in the Consent Order as well as BrokerCheck, Dutton was registered with Newbridge from August 2007 until August 2017. Dutton’s website boasts of experience at “several of top firms in the financial services sector.” However, FINRA’s BrokerCheck shows that Dutton was fired (permitted to resign) from Prudential Securities after being employed for a little over one year. Additionally, Dutton’s BrokerCheck report reveals that he has been subject to Customer Complaints.
Upon leaving Newbridge, Dutton made a brief 2-month stop at Center Street Securities in Doylestown (PA) before landing at Sandlapper Securities, LLC in Greenville (SC).
Since September 25, Dutton continues to be registered with Sandlapper Securities, LLC in South Carolina. Compounding the aforementioned concerns, Sandlapper Securities is currently in the middle of its own FINRA regulatory action for the alleged fraudulent markup of saltwater disposal wells.
FINRA’s BrokerCheck shows allegations that Sandlapper Securities, as well as a few individual brokers, “sold saltwater disposal wells to investors with excessive, undisclosed, markups through an owned and controlled middleman.”
Additionally, the allegations state that the brokers “extracted ill-gotten profits for themselves through their control of the fund.” Shockingly, the “complaint alleges that the fraudulent markups totaled over $8 Million.
The pending allegations consist of various potential violations, such as “willful fraud in the sale of units in a private placement security, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent omissions of material facts in sales of DWI’s, fraudulent omissions of material facts in sales of DWI’s as securities, willfully causing a non-member firm to act as an unregistered dealer, failure to establish, maintain, and enforce system and written procedures, and a failure to supervise.”
Center Street Securities, Inc. / Center Street Advisors
7/2017 – 9/2017
Newbridge Securities Corp.
8/2007 – 8/2017
Boening & Scattergood, Inc.
1/2002 – 8/2007
Ferris Baker Watts, Inc.
6/2000 – 1/2002
G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
12/1997 – 7/2000
St. Louis, MO
Prudential Securities, Inc.
6/1996 – 11/1997
New York, NY
Disclosure Events: All individuals registered to sell securities or provide investment advice are required to disclose customer complaints and arbitrations, regulatory actions, employment terminations, bankruptcy filings, and criminal or civil proceedings.
If you believe that you were a victim of investment fraud, financial advisor misconduct, broker misconduct, or abusive practices by your financial institution, please Contact Us by filling out an online Contact Form or by calling 585-310-5140 for a FREE Case Evaluation. Specifically, if you believe you were a victim of Mr. Dutton, Contact our Austin Dutton Broker Misconduct Lawyers Today.