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CFP Board Censures Improper CFP® Certificant Conduct

Oct 02, 2006
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. today announced public disciplinary actions against the following individuals' rights to use the CFP® certification marks, effective immediately.
STATE NAME LOCATION DISCIPLINE
Arizona Kelvin William Gold Phoenix Letter of Admonition
California Cynthia M. Couyoumjian Tustin Letter of Admonition
  David M. Rivkin San Diego Interim Suspension
Georgia David Edward Marcinko Norcross Revocation
New York Steven D. Klein Lynbrook Revocation
Oregon Robert L. Keys Portland Letter of Admonition
Pennsylvania Thomas C. Hock Schnecksville Letter of Admonition
South Carolina Christopher E. Cabri Charleston Letter of Admonition
Wisconsin Kelly L. Diestler Oneida Suspension

Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of decreasing severity, include permanent revocation, suspension and letters of admonition. Under terms of the revocations, Steven D. Klein and David Edward Marcinko no longer have the right to use the CFP® certification marks. The right of Kelly L. Diestler to use the CFP® certification marks was suspended for one year and one day. The right of David M. Rivkin to use the CFP® certification marks was suspended on an interim basis during CFP Board's investigation. CFP Board issued a letter of admonition to Christopher E. Cabri, Cynthia M. Couyoumjian, Kelvin William Gold, Thomas C. Hock and Robert L. Keys; they retain the right to use the CFP® certification marks.

The basis for each decision can be found in the report below. Consumers can check on a planner's disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board on the Web site.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION REPORT

January 2006

Public Letters of Admonition

ARIZONA

Kelvin William Gold (Phoenix): In August 2006, CFP Board issued Mr. Gold a Letter of Admonition after its investigation of four NASD arbitrations filed against him. After a hearing, the Board of Professional Review found that testimony during the hearing provided evidence that Mr. Gold had a pattern or practice in which he failed to appropriately advise clients as to unrealistic expectations of market returns and that he failed to appropriately counsel one client about the inadvisability of mortgaging her primary residence to fund additional investments in the market.

CALIFORNIA

Cynthia M Couyoumjian (Tustin): In July 2006, Ms. Couyoumjian entered into a settlement agreement with CFP Board, pursuant to which she consented to findings that she disseminated to the public advertising and sales literature that 1) presented oversimplified claims which omitted material information or failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts; 2) contained exaggerated, unwarranted or misleading statements or claims; 3) contained unclear comparisons of investment products that failed to provide a fair and balanced presentation of any material differences between the subjects of the comparisons; 4) were not approved by a registered principal of an NASD member firm; and 5) were not filed with NASD as required, in violation of CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. As part of the settlement, CFP Board issued Ms. Couyoumjian a Letter of Admonition.

OREGON

Robert L. Keys (Portland): In August 2006, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Keys after its investigation of several matters. After a hearing, the Board of Professional Review found that 1) despite his involvement in several arbitrations and a civil lawsuit, Mr. Keys falsely attested on applicable Certification Renewal Applications that he had not been a respondent in civil proceedings relating to his business or professional conduct; and 2) Mr. Keys and his company entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with NASD wherein, without admitting or denying the allegations, he consented to a finding that he violated NASD Conduct Rules by failing to keep investor funds in a separate, segregated bank account when the investor funds were released, in violation of the terms of a private placement memorandum, thereby rendering the representations in the memorandum false and misleading. Pursuant to the AWC, Mr. Keys agreed to accept a censure and a $15,000 fine.

PENNSYLVANIA

Thomas C. Hock (Schnecksville): In July 2006, Mr. Hock entered into a settlement agreement with CFP Board, pursuant to which he consented to a finding that he altered an address on a variable universal life insurance application, in violation of CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. As part of the settlement, CFP Board issued Mr. Hock a Letter of Admonition.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Christopher E. Cabri (Charleston): In August 2006, Mr. Cabri entered into a settlement agreement with CFP Board, pursuant to which he consented to a finding that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of attempting to purchase a gram of cocaine, first offense, for which he was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. Mr. Cabri completed the probation term in December 2005. Pursuant to the settlement agreement with CFP Board, he also consented to a finding that he falsely attested on a Certification Renewal Application that he had not been a defendant in a criminal proceeding since signing his last Renewal Application. As part of the settlement, CFP Board issued Mr. Cabri a Letter of Admonition.

Suspensions

CALIFORNIA

David M. Rivkin (San Diego): In July 2006, CFP Board issued an Order of Interim Suspension to Mr. Rivkin pending its investigation of his guilty plea to two felony counts of tax fraud and tax evasion. Mr. Rivkin failed to provide evidence that his right to use the CFP® certification marks should not be suspended, and accordingly, his right to use the CFP® certification marks was suspended immediately, until further notice.

WISCONSIN

Kelly L. Diestler (Oneida): In August 2006, CFP Board suspended Mr. Diestler's right to use the CFP® certification marks for one year and one day, effective from August 18, 2006 through August 19, 2007. After a hearing, the Board of Professional Review found that Mr. Diestler 1) was found jointly and severally liable with his employer to pay a $175,000 compensatory damage award to a claimant who filed an NASD arbitration claim seeking $2 million in damages and generally alleging that Mr. Diestler failed to make a requested transaction and engaged in misrepresentation, churning and unauthorized trades; 2) was found jointly and severally liable with his employer to pay a $145,000 compensatory damage award to claimants who filed an NASD arbitration claim seeking $3 million in damages and generally alleging that Mr. Diestler sold unsuitable investments and used B shares when A shares would have been more appropriate; 3) was found to have caused damage through a negligent breach of fiduciary duty and ordered to pay a $105.721.35 damage award and all arbitration fees and expenses to a claimant who filed an AAA arbitration claim seeking $150,000 in damages and generally alleging unsuitability, fraud and misrepresentation with regard to investments Mr. Diestler recommended; 4) failed to disclose the AAA arbitration on the applicable Certification Renewal Application as required; and 5) falsely attested on an earlier Certification Renewal Application that he had not been a defendant or respondent in a civil, self-regulatory organization or government agency inquiry, investigation or proceeding, as well as mediation or arbitration relating to his professional or business conduct, despite an NASD arbitration filed against him.

Revocations

GEORGIA

David Edward Marcinko (Norcross): In August 2006, CFP Board permanently revoked Mr. Marcinko's right to use the CFP® certification marks after he failed to respond to CFP Board's Complaint investigating his company’s use of a mark that is confusing to the public and dilutes the CFP® certification marks. Because Mr. Marcinko failed to respond to CFP Board's Complaint, the allegations in the Complaint were deemed admitted and an order of revocation was issued.

NEW YORK

Steven D. Klein (Lynbrook): In August 2006, CFP Board permanently revoked Mr. Klein's right to use the CFP® certification marks. After a hearing, the Board of Professional Review (Board) found that Mr. Klein entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with NASD wherein he consented to a finding that a company, acting through him, allowed an individual to engage in the sale of direct participation programs while the individual was not properly registered with NASD, for which Mr. Klein consented to be jointly and severally fined $10,000. The Board also found that Mr. Klein entered into a Consent Order with the Georgia Commissioner of Securities wherein he admitted 1) an individual was operating an unregistered branch office of Mr. Klein’s company and was holding himself out as an investment adviser without being registered; 2) he submitted a document to state regulators falsely stating that an internal audit of his company took place; and 3) an individual under the direction and supervision of Mr. Klein's company advised clients to withdraw money from safe, income-producing IRAs to purchase certain high-risk notes that were not registered or exempt from registration. Pursuant to the Consent Order, Mr. Klein was barred from association with a registered dealer, a limited dealer, or an investment advisor in Georgia. The Board also found that Mr. Klein entered into a Consent Order with the Connecticut Department of Banking wherein he consented to a finding that he willfully violated state law by filing documents that were false or misleading and by failing to file a correcting amendment. Pursuant to the Consent Order, Mr. Klein agreed to a ten-year bar from conducting the following securities activities in Connecticut: a) acting as an agent by representing a broker-dealer or issuer in effecting or attempting to effect purchase or sales of any “security”; b) transacting business as a broker/dealer; c) transacting business as an investment adviser; d) transacting business as an investment adviser agent; or e) acting as a finder for compensation, splitting commissions, or receiving referral fees, directly or indirectly, in connection with any recommendation, sale or purchase of securities. Finally, the Board found that the New Jersey Securities Bureau revoked Mr. Klein's registration as an agent. Mr. Klein appealed the Board's findings; however, after a review of the record, Mr. Klein's petition for appeal and CFP Board’s response thereto, the Board of Appeals determined to affirm the findings and the discipline imposed.

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. is to help people benefit from competent, professional and ethical financial planning. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 52,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States. 

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