Ex-LPL Rep Loves Tequila Investing, Takes Shots From FINRA

James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, Wealth Solutions Report

Tequila Scam, Banned Advisor Ponzis $6.8 Million, Racist Ranting Advisor No Longer Racist, Wells Fargo’s Alleged Misogyny and More

In Dante’s Inferno, the inscription over the gates of hell reads, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Most people fear hell, except for those of us who already live in Phoenix, Arizona.

But what people tend to fail to realize is that hope can lead you to the hell of your choice. 

Yeah, that’s right.  You heard me.

Hope leads you to visit a tequila company with a duly licensed financial representative, sample a few wares and enjoy a sales pitch where the CEO shares a vision of his company’s tequila filling the glasses of jubilant spring breakers in South Padre Island. 

Proceed with caution, otherwise, do not enter.

Hope convinces a Connecticut judge to grant “accelerated rehabilitation” to an advisor who went on a racist tirade in a smoothie shop.

Hope leads you to marry the charming banker that just divorced his wife, and who also fails to mention he’s considering gender reassignment surgery.

Doesn’t anybody remember their Greek mythology?

Never forget that hope escaped Pandora’s box, and the sooner we deal with the dangers of hope, the better our lives become. 

Your decision-making abilities sharpen, until you no longer enter Dante’s door, unless you inadvertently place money in a bank where they allegedly call you a “fat pig” behind your back. (Our lawyers like that word – “allegedly.”)

So with that said, let’s kick off this latest Bizarre Industry Bazaar news roundup!

1) Ex-LPL Rep Who Put Clients’ Funds in Tequila Company Takes Shots From FINRA

Would you rather be FINRA’s shot of tequila and pay the $5,000 fine?

“A former broker at LPL Financial and Royal Alliance Associates has been suspended for seven months and fined $5,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority after he solicited clients and non-clients at the firms to invest in a tequila company without authorization.

“Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Michael Mandel also agreed to disgorge $5,635 plus interest …”

“He participated in private securities transactions by soliciting 18 investors, seven of whom were firm customers, to invest a total of about $815,000 in a tequila production company …”

A seven-month suspension and $10,635 out of pocket is a slap on the salt-laden wrist for someone who snookered people into throwing money at a washed-up tequila company. 

After seven months of licking, slamming and sucking it, Mandel will be fully licensed to go out there again with amazing deals for the next tequila sucker. 

The good news? Maybe FINRA will go easy on me when I enlighten investors on the amazing profits of growing chardonnay in Phoenix.  

To read the full article by Jeff Berman of Think Advisor please click here to go to Think Advisor’s website.

2) Female Wells Fargo Manager: Firm Favors Men, Male Coworkers Call Female Client ‘Fat Pig’

“Wells Fargo ‘maintains and propagates a clear double-standard between male and female employees,’ according to a complaint filed by Vanessa Carney … This has resulted in female employees being offered fewer job opportunities and less pay and a ‘“Boys’ Club” culture,’ with a ‘free pass’ provided to male employees engaging ‘in serious and substantial misconduct.’”

“Carney’s suit alleges that Wells Fargo’s treatment of her male colleagues was far more lenient — including tolerating ‘[d]emeaning, gender-tinged remarks specifically aimed at denigrating female employees and clients alike,’ such as a two-week running ‘gag’ in which a female client was referred to as a ‘fat pig.’”

Just following Women’s History Month, Wells Fargo stumbles into a misogyny lawsuit. From the bank that gave us fake accounts comes the “fat pig” scandal, quite ironic for a bank called “too big to fail.” 

Does calling someone fat make you skinnier?

Of course, these are only allegations and nothing’s proven yet. Maybe Wells Fargo’s women employees and women clients can confidently say that this particular incident, even if true, is an aberration that does not reflect any broader cultures or behaviors.

Maybe our lawyers didn’t make me add that last part in…Or maybe they did?  Mysteries abound.

To read the full article by Alex Padalka of Financial Advisor IQ please click here to go to Financial Advisor IQ’s website.

3) Morning Coffee: The Deutsche Bank managing director who fell in love with his personal assistant. 

“[W]hen [Harold] Leenen’s marriage fell apart in his mid-40s, he did what many other senior men in banking do and fell in love with a personal assistant (PA).”

“After meeting and marrying Sarah, Harold became a woman. He underwent gender affirmation surgery in November 2021 and has had hair transplants along with breast, nose and eye surgery.”

No point in fretting over lost things.

“They’re still married, even though Sarah bemoans the disappearance of Alexandra’s male genitals.”

I really don’t have anything to add here. 

To read the full article by Sarah Butcher of eFinancialCareers please click here to go to eFinancialCareers’ website.

4) Ex-Merrill smoothie screamer on rocky road to redemption

Will the offender’s road to redemption be rocky and bumpy? Stay tuned!

“James Iannazzo, the Merrill Lynch advisor whose smoothie shop tantrum generated international headlines, is seeking to quietly end his legal troubles by using a Connecticut program for first-time offenders who can show they are unlikely to commit crimes in the future.”

“In January, Iannazzo yelled at employees of a Fairfie[l]d, Conn. shop after a drink he had ordered earlier in the day appeared to trigger a dangerous reaction in his peanut-butter-allergic son. Iannazzo returned to the shop and angrily confronted its young employees. During the course of this interaction, he threw a drink and referred to an employee as a ‘f—cking immigrant loser.’”

“[I]n deciding whether to grant [accelerated rehabilitation], the judge will consider two factors: the seriousness of the offense, and the likelihood that the applicant will offend again in the future.”

In the heartwarming sequel to the cringeworthy drama we covered a couple months ago, James Iannazzo mends his ways and attempts to prove that he’s unlikely to offend again, so he can walk with probation. 

In Connecticut they call this “accelerated rehabilitation.”

In other words, our jails are full and prisoners cost too much, so just say you’re sorry, and we’ll forget about it.

Stay tuned for the next episode, where Iannazzo and the tequila guy start an RIA and marry their personal assistants. 

To read the full article by Alex Rosenberg of Citywire USA please click here to go to Citywire USA’s website.

5) Barred financial advisor stayed in business with fake university: SEC

“A financial advisor who was barred from the industry over allegations he misappropriated clients’ money is accused of defrauding investors again in a different scheme 30 years later.”

“Despite the SEC banning David W. Schamens in 1992 from association with any broker, dealer, municipal securities dealer, RIA or investment company, he was holding seminars through a business called ‘TradeStream University’ and pitching a product he called the ‘TradeStream Algo Fund’ to retail investors in 2019 … Between the Algo Fund and at least four other investment vehicles and entities, Schamens defrauded 25 clients for $6.8 million in a Ponzi scheme over the last eight years …”

Like discovering your used car salesperson triple majored in lying, cheating and stealing, sometimes you learn that your smooth-talking financial advisor was banned years ago and his “university” isn’t even accredited!

Mommy Miller always said, “If it’s too good to be true, don’t buy it.” If you’re searching for a legal, fun way to burn your cash while investing for the big bucks, spend a weekend at the local casino. 

To read the full article by Tobias Salinger of Financial Planning please click here to go to Financial Planning’s website.


James Miller, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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