The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged former broker Demetrios Hallas with “knowingly or recklessly trading unsuitable investment products,” in the accounts of five of his clients and allegedly stealing more than $170,000 from one of them. The SEC then alleged that Hallas deposited the funds into his own personal bank accounts and used the money for his own personal expenses. The SEC ordered Hallas to pay $549,987.64 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties. The alleged products include leveraged exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes. He allegedly recommended and sold these to clients who were unsophisticated and had modest incomes. A broker has a duty to only recommend and sell those investments that correspond with his clients’ ages, net worth, investment objectives and investment sophistication. If he does not, his brokerage firm may be held liable for losses on a contingency fee basis.
According to his online, public profile with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Hallas was previously registered with Chase Investment Services in New York, New York from June 2011 until March 2012, Aegis Capital Corp in New York from July 2012 until May 2013, Santander Securities in New York from May 2013 until June 2014, Forefront Capital Markets in New York from October 2014 until July 2015 nd PHX Financial Inx in New York from August 2015 until December 2015.
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