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Press Release

CFP Board Imposes Public Discipline

October 11, 2017
Disciplinary actions relate to 19 current or former CFP® professionals

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced today public disciplinary actions against the following individuals, effective immediately or on the date noted in each case. Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of increasing severity, include letters of admonition, suspensions and permanent revocations.

This release contains information about disciplinary actions relating to 19 current or former CFP® professionals. Of these actions, there were 9 letters of admonition, 5 suspensions, 3 revocations and 2 administrative revocations.

The basis for each decision can be found in a Disciplinary Action Report below and on CFP Board’s website. The public may check on an individual’s disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net/verify.

CFP Board’s enforcement process is a critical consumer protection. CFP® professionals agree to abide by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct (Standards), which includes the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (Code of Ethics), Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards (Practice Standards). The Standards set forth the ethical standards for financial planners who hold the CFP® certification.

CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged unethical behavior by CFP® professionals. In cases where violations are found, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) may impose discipline ranging from a private censure or public letter of admonition to the suspension or revocation of an individual’s right to use the CFP® marks. CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules) set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.

The Commission meets at least three times a year to provide a fair, unbiased review of any matter in which a CFP® professional is alleged to have committed violations of the Standards

The Commission functions in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules and reviews all matters on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the details specific to an individual case. While CFP Board has attempted to capture the details relevant to each decision, the summary nature of these releases may omit certain details affecting the decision. Accordingly, the decisions and/or rationale described in the releases may not apply to other cases reviewed by the Commission or reflect the Commission’s future interpretation or application of the Standards.

STATE

NAME

LOCATION

DISCIPLINE

California

Grant Blindbury, CFP®

Westlake Village

Letter of Admonition

California

Robert J. Regan, CFP®

Danville

Suspension

Colorado

Jeffrey S. Torrison, CFP®

Lakewood

Letter of Admonition

Connecticut

Michael John Smeriglio, III

Greenwich

Revocation

Florida

Jeffrey M. Camarda

Orange Park

Letter of Admonition

Florida

Kimberly K. Camarda

Orange Park

Letter of Admonition

Florida

Walter P. Priebe

Fort Lauderdale

Revocation

Florida

Nicolas S. Toadvine

Lakeland

Suspension

Georgia

Brian G. Brown

Atlanta

Administrative Revocation

Georgia

Ryan Cox, CFP®

Columbus

Letter of Admonition

Illinois

Donald G. Heatherly, CFP®

Wheaton

Letter of Admonition

Maryland

Erik Bohn

Bethesda

Revocation

Massachusetts

Marc H. Sussman

Framingham

Suspension

Massachusetts

David C. Valente, CFP®

Norwell

Letter of Admonition

Michigan

David Brian Altwerger, CFP®

Bloomfield

Letter of Admonition

Missouri

Jodi Lynn Hall

Brentwood

Administrative Revocation

Montana

Daniel L. Chamberlin, CFP®

Helena

Letter of Admonition

Pennsylvania

Paul G. Liebezeit

Berwyn

Suspension

Texas

Daniel G. Dillard, CFP®

Austin

Suspension


LETTERS OF ADMONITION


CALIFORNIA

Grant Blindbury, CFP® (Westlake Village): In June 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Blindbury entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Blindbury received a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Blindbury consented to CFP Board’s findings that he misrepresented his compensation method as “fee-only” twice on CFP Board’s “Find a CFP® Professional” search tool when he was licensed to sell insurance products for a commission and actually received commissions from the sale of insurance products.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Blindbury’s conduct violated Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Blindbury with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

COLORADO

Jeffrey S. Torrison, CFP® (Lakewood):  In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Torrison entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Torrison received a Letter of Admonition. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Torrison consented to CFP Board’s findings that he: 1) mislead his broker-dealer by falsely completing his annual compliance questionnaire when he responded “No” to a question asking if Mr. Torrison had been the subject of a lien; and 2) failed to amend his Form U4 to timely disclose his 2012 federal tax lien.  Mr. Torrison’s conduct violated Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) Rules 1122 and 2010.  FINRA suspended Mr. Torrison from association with any FINRA member for 20 business days and fined him $5,000.   CFP Board determined that Mr. Torrison’s conduct violated Rules 5.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A) and 3(D) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Torrison with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

FLORIDA

Jeffrey M. Camarda (Orange Park):  In March 2013, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Camarda received a Letter of Admonition. The Commission issued its order after determining that: 1) Mr. Camarda owned and managed a registered investment adviser (RIA) and a consulting company (Company); 2) RIA represented to clients on its website and in its Form ADV Part II that it provided “fee-only” investment management and financial planning services; and 3) RIA and Company were functionally one organization providing clients a wide range of investment services, some of which were commission-based.  Based on these findings, the Commission determined that Mr. Camarda misrepresented that RIA was a “fee-only” investment adviser: 1) due to the mutual referral fee arrangement between RIA and Company; and 2) because RIA and Company were functionally one organization providing services to clients and Company received insurance commissions.  The Commission determined that Mr. Camarda’s conduct violated Rules 2.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  After an appeal hearing, the Appeals Committee of CFP Board’s Board of Directors unanimously affirmed the Commission’s findings of fact and the discipline imposed by the Commission.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Camarda with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

Kimberly K. Camarda (Orange Park):  In March 2013, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Ms. Camarda received a Letter of Admonition. The Commission issued its order after determining that: 1) Ms. Camarda owned and managed a registered investment adviser (RIA) and a consulting company (Company); 2) RIA represented to clients on its website and in its Form ADV Part II that it provided “fee-only” investment management and financial planning services; and 3) RIA and Company were functionally one organization providing clients a wide range of investment services, some of which were commission-based.  Based on these findings, the Commission determined that Ms. Camarda misrepresented that RIA was a “fee-only” investment adviser: 1) due to the mutual referral fee arrangement between RIA and Company; and 2) because RIA and Company were functionally one organization providing services to clients and Company received insurance commissions.  The Commission determined that Ms. Camarda’s conduct violated Rules 2.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  After an appeal hearing, the Appeals Committee of CFP Board’s Board of Directors unanimously affirmed the Commission’s findings of fact and the discipline imposed by the Commission. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Ms. Camarda with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

GEORGIA

Ryan Cox, CFP® (Columbus):  In August 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) entered into a settlement agreement with Mr. Cox in which he received a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Cox consented to CFP Board’s findings that he and his wife received gifts from a client.  In addition, CFP Board found that Mr. Cox’s wife was named the beneficiary on the client’s variable annuity.  Ultimately, Mr. Cox’s wife disclaimed all benefits on the variable annuity and Mr. Cox’s firm refunded all gifts to the client.  Mr. Cox’s firm permitted him to resign.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) determined that Mr. Cox’s conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010.  FINRA suspended Mr. Cox from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for two months and fined him $15,000.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Cox’s conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A) and 3(D) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Cox with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

ILLINOIS

Donald G. Heatherly, CFP® (Wheaton): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order wherein Mr. Heatherly received a Letter of Admonition.  The Commission issued its order after determining that Mr. Heatherly twice misrepresented his compensation method as fee-only on CFP Board’s “Find a CFP® Professional” search tool when he: 1) was a licensed broker who was entitled to receive commissions; 2) was an insurance producer licensed to sell insurance products for commissions; 3) earned commissions during the period in which he used “fee-only” to describe his compensation method; and 4) referred clients to related parties who earned commissions from the sale of products.  The Commission determined that Mr. Heatherly’s conduct violated Rule 2.1 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Heatherly with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

MASSACHUSETTS

David C. Valente, CFP® (Norwell): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Valente entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Valente received a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Valente consented to CFP Board’s findings that he, on three separate occasions between September 19, 2013 and April 20, 2016, communicated misleading information to clients or prospective clients when he represented his compensation method as “fee-only” on CFP Board’s “Find a CFP® Professional” search tool.  The “fee-only” representation was inaccurate because Mr. Valente received insurance commissions, was licensed to serve as an insurance agent in several states and appointed with more than a dozen insurance carriers, and collected commissions on new policies and trailing commissions on older policies.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Valente’s conduct violated Rule 2.1 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Valente with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

MICHIGAN

David Brian Altwerger, CFP® (Bloomfield): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Altwerger entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Altwerger received a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Altwerger consented to CFP Board’s findings that he made 10 electronic fund transfers totaling $5,000 from his personal bank account to his personal brokerage account knowing that he had insufficient funds to cover those transfers.  The transfers artificially inflated Mr. Altwerger’s brokerage account, from which he withdrew funds for personal use.  The transfers were rejected due to insufficient funds and created a deficit in the brokerage account, which Mr. Altwerger later would rectify.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) suspended Mr. Altwerger from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months and fined him $5,000.  Mr. Altwerger also failed to cooperate with CFP Board when he failed to provide proof that he had paid the FINRA fine.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Altwerger’s conduct violated Rule 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A), 3(D) and 3(F) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Altwerger with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

MONTANA

Daniel L. Chamberlin, CFP® (Helena): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Chamberlin received a Letter of Admonition.  The Commission issued its order after finding that Mr. Chamberlin misrepresented his compensation method as fee-only on CFP Board’s Find a CFP® Professional search tool while he was entitled to receive and actually received commission for the sale of insurance and securities products.  The Commission determined that Mr. Chamberlin’s conduct violated Rules 2.1 and 2.2(A) of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Chamberlin with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

SUSPENSIONS

CALIFORNIA

Robert J. Regan, CFP® (Danville): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Regan received a 60-day suspension of his right to use the CFP® marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Regan consented to CFP Board’s findings that he participated in private securities transactions when three customers purchased approximately $350,000 of stock in a private company.  Mr. Regan had requested permission from his firm to be involved with the private securities transactions, but the scope of his involvement went beyond what his firm permitted and he did not provide his firm with written notification of the expansion of his involvement or obtain permission from his firm to expand his involvement.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA, formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers or NASD) determined that Mr. Regan’s conduct violated NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010.  FINRA suspended Mr. Regan from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 60 days and fined him $5,000.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Regan’s conduct violated Rule 4.3 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A) and 3(D) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.   According to the settlement agreement, Mr. Regan consented to a 60-day suspension and to complete 12 hours of remedial education.  Mr. Regan’s suspension was effective from April 17, 2017 until June 16, 2017.

FLORIDA

Nicholas S. Toadvine (Lakeland): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Toadvine received a one-year suspension.  The Commission issued its order after determining that Mr. Toadvine recommended and sold clients alternative investments that: 1) resulted in an unsuitable concentration of the clients’ assets in alternative investments; and 2) were unsuitable due to the clients’ ages, risk tolerances, and investment objectives.   The Commission determined that Mr. Toadvine’s conduct violated Rule 201 of CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules 1.4, 4.5 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(A) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  The Commission suspended Mr. Toadvine’s right to use the CFP® certification for one year and required him to complete 15 hours of remedial education.  Mr. Toadvine’s suspension is effective from June 6, 2017 until June 6, 2018.

MASSACHUSETTS

Marc H. Sussman (Framingham): In April 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order suspending Mr. Sussman’s CFP® certification for one year.  The Commission issued its order after finding that Mr. Sussman forged the signatures of at least 26 customers on at least 29 account documents, including Letters of Authorization and Transfer of Assets forms, after discussing the transfers with the customers.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) determined that Mr. Sussman’s conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010.  FINRA suspended Mr. Sussman from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 12 months and fined him $10,000.    The Commission also determined Mr. Sussman: 1) failed to report a customer complaint to his firm in violation of firm policies and procedures; 2) failed to disclose the FINRA suspension to CFP Board in a timely manner; and 3) made false statements to CFP Board on his Ethics Declaration when he responded “No” to questions requiring the disclosure of the FINRA investigation and customer complaints.  The Commission determined that Mr. Sussman’s conduct violated Rules 4.3, 4.5 and 5.1 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A), 3(D), 3(E) and 3(G) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Mr. Sussman’s suspension is effective from June 9, 2017 until June 9, 2018.

PENNSYLVANIA

Paul G. Liebezeit (Berwyn): In June 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) entered into a settlement agreement with Mr. Liebezeit in which he received a six-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Liebezeit consented to CFP Board’s findings that he recommended a fund of hedge funds that was not approved for sale by his firm.  Mr. Liebezeit facilitated the investment by introducing the clients to the fund’s representatives, assisting the clients with paperwork for the transaction, and facilitating the transfer of the clients’ investments from a custodian account to the fund.  Mr. Liebezeit did not provide prior written notice of his participation in the transaction to this firm and did not obtain written approval from his firm to participate in the transaction.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA, formerly known as National Association of Securities Dealers or NASD) determined that Mr. Liebezeit’s conduct violated NASD Rule 3040 and FINRA Rule 2010.  FINRA suspended Mr. Liebezeit from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for six months and fined him $5,000.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Liebezeit’s conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(A) and 3(D) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Mr. Liebezeit’s suspension is effective from June 29, 2017 until December 29, 2017.

TEXAS

Daniel G. Dillard, CFP® (Austin): In February 2017, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) entered into a settlement agreement wherein Mr. Dillard received a six-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Dillard consented to CFP Board’s findings that Mr. Dillard entered into a financial institutes services agreement in which Mr. Dillard stood to receive 75% of his net commissions with his firm receiving 25%.  The agreement also provided for his employer to receive an increase in the percentage of net commissions until Mr. Dillard reached a certain threshold.  On meeting that threshold, Mr. Dillard falsified an internal form by altering the commission distribution percentages and using his firm’s prior signature without the firm’s knowledge.  Mr. Dillard’s firm terminated him based on this conduct.  Further, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) determined that Mr. Dillard’s conduct violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.  FINRA suspended Mr. Dillard from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for three months and fined him $5,000.  Mr. Dillard also consented to CFP Board’s finding that he failed to timely disclose the FINRA suspension to CFP Board and that he made a false and misleading statement to CFP Board when he indicated on his CFP Board Ethics Declaration that he had not been terminated by his firm.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Dillard’s conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(A), 3(D) and 3(E) of