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Press Release

CFP Board Imposes Public Discipline

February 18, 2020

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 recent disciplinary actions relating to 19 current or former CFP® professionals. Of these actions, there were 3 letters of admonition, 7 suspensions, and 9 administrative revocations.

The basis for each decision can be found in the 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. That website also provides links to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA) BrokerCheck and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Investment Adviser Public Disclosure databases, which are free tools that may be used to conduct research on the background and experience of CFP® professionals who are subject to FINRA or SEC oversight, including with respect to employment history, regulatory actions, and investment-related licensing information, arbitrations, and complaints.

CFP Board's enforcement process is a critical consumer protection. As part of their certification, a CFP® professional agrees to abide by CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code and Standards), or its predecessor, the Standards of Professional Conduct (Standards), which included the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conductand Financial Planning Practice Standards.

CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for discipline, presenting a Complaint containing the alleged violations to CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) pursuant to CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). If the Commission determines there are grounds for discipline, then it may impose a sanction ranging from a private censure or letter of admonition to the suspension or revocation of the right to use the CFP® marks. CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.

The Commission meets at least six times a year to provide a fair, unbiased review of any matter in which CFP Board has alleged that a CFP® professional has violated 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 Code and Standards, or the predecessor Standards.

STATE

NAME

LOCATION

DISCIPLINE

Maryland

Lee A. Abramovitz

Baltimore

Administrative Revocation

Michigan

Anthony N. Cook

Bloomfield Hills

Suspension

Colorado

Carol E. Dixon

Longmont

Administrative Revocation

Wisconsin

Scott G. Dolven

Pewaukee

Suspension

Florida

Michael D. Hanke

Lutz

Administrative Revocation

California

Leonard I. Heller

San Ramon

Administrative Revocation

Massachusetts

Paul E. Hess

Braintree

Administrative Revocation

New York

Robert M. Krieger

New York

Suspension

Georgia

Craig E. Lewis

Gainesville

Administrative Revocation

California

Dickson Lo

San Bruno

Suspension

Kentucky

Scott C. Mann, CFP®

Florence

Letter of Admonition

New York

Hector A. May

Orangeburg

Administrative Revocation

Texas

Paul Brian Millsap, CFP®

Austin

Letter of Admonition

Maine

John R. O'Malley, CFP®

Lewiston

Letter of Admonition

Texas

Tan Nhat Pham

Houston

Suspension

Ohio

Brian L. Stephan

Jamestown

Suspension

Connecticut

George L. Taylor

Litchfield

Administrative Revocation

Arizona

Charles Edwin Taylor

Prescott

Suspension

Florida

Steven E. Zerbarini

Safety Harbor

Administrative Revocation

 

LETTERS OF ADMONITION

KENTUCKY

Scott C. Mann, CFP® (Florence): In December 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Mann entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Mann agreed that CFP Board would issue a Letter of Admonition. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Mann consented to findings based on an Agreed Order with the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (Kentucky) finding that he and his firm made multiple false and/or misleading filings relating to his four federal tax liens and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, failed to timely update his Form ADV and his Form U4 to reflect the tax lien filings and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, and failed to deliver an accurate and current Form ADV brochure to each of his clients.  Kentucky ordered Respondent to cease and desist from violating the Securities Act of Kentucky and pay a fine of $10,000.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Mann also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 2.1, 4.3, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Mann. 

MAINE

John R. O'Malley, CFP® (Lewiston): In February 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. O'Malley entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. O'Malley agreed that CFP Board would issue a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, among other things, Mr. O'Malley consented to findings that he failed to enter into a written financial planning agreement as required, failed to provide his clients with an accurate and understandable description of his compensation arrangements, failed to clearly communicate to a client that he would charge her an hourly rate for the financial planning services if she chose not to purchase investments through him, and sent his clients a bill only because he was frustrated that they had not generated commissions for him.  Mr. O'Malley also failed to follow his firm's required practice of sending all of his emails through his Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction for review, resulting in his termination from the firm. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. O'Malley also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 1.3, 1.4, 2.2(A)(1), and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and Practice Standard 100-1, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(b) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. O'Malley. 

TEXAS

Paul Brian Millsap, CFP® (Austin): In February 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Millsap entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Millsap agreed that CFP Board would issue a Letter of Admonition.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Millsap consented to findings that he converted his firm's funds by obtaining reimbursement for a computer purchase to which he was not entitled pursuant to the firm's Computer Equipment Purchase Assistance Program, and that he voluntarily terminated his firm employment in September 2017 for this conduct.  Mr. Millsap also consented to a finding that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) found in an August 2019 Cautionary Action Letter that his conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010, which states that every member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Millsap also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3, 5.1, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Millsap. 

SUSPENSIONS

ARIZONA

Charles Edwin Taylor (Prescott): In December 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Taylor entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Taylor agreed that CFP Board would issue a six-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Taylor consented to findings based on a 2019 disciplinary action by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) in which FINRA found that Mr. Taylor had engaged in undisclosed outside business activities involving sales of precious metals.  FINRA imposed a $15,000 fine on Mr. Taylor and suspended him for six months.  FINRA also found that he failed to supervise by ignoring red flags and facilitating the misconduct of others in connection with the precious metal sales, resulting in an additional $10,000 fine and a consecutive six-month supervisory suspension.  Mr. Taylor also consented to findings that his firm issued him a letter of caution, imposed a fine of $10,000, and placed his branch office under supervision for one year with respect to the same conduct.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Taylor consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3, 5.1, and 4.6 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a) and 3(d) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Taylor a suspension for six months.  Mr. Taylor's suspension is effective from December 18, 2019 until June 18, 2020.

CALIFORNIA

Dickson Lo (San Bruno): In December 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Lo entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Lo agreed that CFP Board would issue a four-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Lo consented to findings based on a 2017 Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) finding that Mr. Lo engaged in outside business activity without informing his firm of the activity or receiving firm approval in violation of FINRA Rules 2010 and 3270.  As part of the AWC, Mr. Lo consented to a two-month suspension and a $2,500 fine.  Mr. Lo also consented to findings that he failed to notify the California Department of Insurance (California) of his suspension within 30 days, resulting in a suspension of Mr. Lo's California license and licensing rights for 30 days in 2018, and that he failed to report his FINRA and California suspensions to CFP Board within 30 calendar days.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Lo consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a), 3(d), 3(e), and 13.2 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Lo a suspension for four months.  Mr. Lo's suspension is effective from December 18, 2019 until April 18, 2020.

MICHIGAN

Anthony N. Cook (Bloomfield): In February 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Cook entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Cook agreed that CFP Board would issue a seven-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Cook consented to findings that he was convicted of three misdemeanor drunk driving offenses in December 1996November 2000, and June 2019.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Cook consented to findings that his conduct with respect to the third drunk driving conviction violated Rule 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a) and 3(c) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Cook a suspension for seven months.  Mr. Cook's suspension is effective from February 4, 2020 until September 4, 2020.

NEW YORK

Robert M. Krieger (New York City): In February 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Krieger entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Krieger agreed that CFP Board would issue a four-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Krieger consented to findings based on a 2018 Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) which found that he formed and pursued an outside business activity without proper disclosure to his firm and that he failed to disclose timely two compromises with creditors.  As part of the AWC, Mr. Krieger consented to a four-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity and a fine in the amount of $10,000. Mr. Krieger failed to report his FINRA suspension to CFP Board within 30 calendar days.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Krieger consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a), 3(d), 3(e), and 13.2 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Krieger a suspension for four months.  Mr. Krieger's suspension is effective from February 4, 2020 until June 4, 2020.

OHIO

Brian L. Stephan (Jamestown): In November 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Stephan received a suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks for four years. The Commission issued its order after determining that, from May 2012 through May 2014, Mr. Stephan recommended and caused the execution of unsuitable investments for a client, particularly investments in Class A shares in 20 different mutual fund families which were unsuitable because the client could have achieved a discount on applicable sales charges by aggregating her mutual fund purchases into fewer fund families.  The Commission also found that Mr. Stephan marked 95 transactions for the client as "unsolicited" when they were actually "solicited" and that he failed to cooperate with CFP Board's investigation regarding these matters by failing to timely respond to CFP's final request for documents.  The Commission further determined that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) entered an order accepting a settlement offer from Mr. Stephan, in which he consented to findings regarding the same conduct, the imposition of a suspension for eight months, the payment of a $10,000 fine, and the payment of restitution for the excessive sales charges of almost $30,000.  The Commission determined that Mr. Stephan's conduct violated Rules 1.4, 4.1, 4.3, 4.5, and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a), 3(d), and 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Mr. Stephan's suspension is effective from December 30, 2019 through December 30, 2023. 

TEXAS

Tan Nhat Pham (Houston): In February 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Pham entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Pham agreed that CFP Board would issue a three-month suspension of Mr. Pham's right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Pham consented to findings that he converted his firm employer's funds by obtaining reimbursement for a computer purchase and a fitness equipment purchase to which he was not entitled pursuant to the firm's Computer Equipment Purchase Assistance Program and Fitness Reimbursement Program, and that he was discharged from his firm in May 2018 for this conduct.  Mr. Pham also consented to a finding that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) found in an August 2019 Cautionary Action Letter that his conduct with respect to the computer reimbursement violated FINRA Rule 2010, which states that "every member…shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade."  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Pham also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3, 5.1, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article (a) the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Pham a suspension for three months.  Mr. Pham's suspension is effective from February 4, 2020 until May 4, 2020. 

WISCONSIN

Scott G. Dolven (Pewaukee): In December 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Dolven entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Dolven agreed that CFP Board would issue a two-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks.  In the settlement agreement, Mr. Dolven consented to findings based on a December 2018 Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) which found that he failed to disclose four federal tax liens and six state tax warrants and issued him a $5,000 fine and a two-month suspension.  Mr. Dolven also consented to findings that, in April 2019, the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington filed an Order Revoking License for failing to report the FINRA matter and for failing to respond to the Insurance Commissioner's inquiries, and that he failed to report his professional discipline to CFP Board within 30 calendar days.  Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Dolven consented to findings that his 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 13.2 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued Mr. Dolven a suspension for two months.  Mr. Dolven's suspension was effective from December 3, 2019 until February 3, 2020.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATIONS

CALIFORNIA

Leonard I. Heller (San Ramon): In July 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Heller's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Heller's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe.  CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Heller was arrested in December 2017 and entered a plea of no contest after being charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony under Florida law.  The Complaint alleged that the judge, under his authority under Florida law, accepted the plea but withheld adjudication, pending a three-year probationary period.  Mr. Heller disclosed this matter to CFP Board.  CFP Board's Complaint further alleged that Mr. Heller's conduct violated Rules 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for under Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Heller declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules.  In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Heller's revocation was effective as of August 1, 2019.

COLORADO

Carol E. Dixon (Longmont): In October 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Ms. Dixon's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Ms. Dixon's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Ms. Dixon misrepresented herself as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CFP Board's Complaint further alleged that Ms. Dixon's conduct violated Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for under Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Ms. Dixon declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Ms. Dixon's revocation was effective as of November 10, 2019.

CONNECTICUT

George L. Taylor (Litchfield): In November 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Taylor's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Taylor's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Taylor failed to respond to requests for information in an investigation by CFP Board about a July 2018 lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Mr. Taylor, in which the SEC alleges that he defrauded advisory clients and prospective clients by guiding them into unsuitable investments and by hiding commissions and other financial incentives on top of the advisory fees clients were paying for supposedly unbiased financial advice.  CFP Board's Complaint further alleged that Mr. Taylor's conduct violated and provided grounds for discipline under Article 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  Mr. Taylor declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Taylor's revocation was effective as of December 4, 2019.

FLORIDA

Michael D. Hanke (Lutz): In September 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Hanke's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Hanke's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that, in September 2015, the firm filed a Form U5 terminating Mr. Hanke's association with the firm.  The Complaint also alleged that, in March 2016, his firm filed a Form U5 Amendment disclosing a customer complaint against Mr. Hanke which prompted the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) to initiate an investigation into his activities. Further, the Complaint alleged that, between February 2015 and May 2015, while associated with his firm, Mr. Hanke executed eight discretionary transactions in a customer account.  CFP Board's Complaint alleged that, in some instances, Mr. Hanke seemed to have express or implied authority from the customers to exercise discretion in their account, but Mr. Hanke did not obtain prior written authorization from the customers, and the firm had not accepted the customers' account as a discretionary account. The Complaint also alleged that, in March 2018, Respondent entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA consenting to FINRA's findings that he engaged in conduct that violated FINRA rules and consenting to a one-month suspension from association with any FINRA member in all capacities and a fine in the amount of $10,000. CFP Board's Complaint further alleged that Mr. Hanke's conduct violated Rules 3.4, 4.3, and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline under Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Hanke's declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules.  In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Hanke's revocation was effective as of October 24, 2019.

Steven E. Zerbarini (Safety Harbor): In November 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Zerbarini's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Zerbarini's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Zerbarini entered into a Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) accepting a one-month suspension and agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine.  The AWC found that Mr. Zerbarini exercised discretionary power in effecting 67 purchases of two securities in 51 non-discretionary accounts without prior written authorization from the customers and without prior written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary by his firm.  CFP Board's Complaint also alleged that Mr. Zerbarini was terminated from his firm with respect to the matter, that he violated Rule 4.3 of the Rules of Conduct, and that his conduct provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a), 3(d), 3(e), and 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  Mr. Zerbarini declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Zerbarini's revocation was effective as of December 4, 2019.

GEORGIA

Craig E. Lewis (Gainesville): In September 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Lewis's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Lewis's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that, in March 2016, Mr. Lewis's firm filed a Form U5 terminating his association with the firm which prompted the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to initiate an investigation into Mr. Lewis' activities.  CFP Board's Complaint also alleged that Mr. Lewis entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA in which he consented to the imposition of a bar from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for his failure to appear for on the record testimony. CFP Board's Complaint also alleged that Mr. Lewis failed to notify CFP Board within 30 days of his FINRA bar and failed to cooperate with CFP Board's Investigation, and that Mr. Lewis's conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 6.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(e), 3(f), and 3(g) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  Mr. Lewis declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Lewis's revocation was effective as of October 24, 2019.

MARYLAND

Lee A. Abramovitz (Baltimore): In November 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Abramovitz's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Abramovitz's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Abramovitz failed to cooperate with CFP Board's investigation of seven tax liens filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Maryland between 2011 and 2017, none of which he had ever declared to CFP Board as required in the biannual ethics declaration.  CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Abramovitz's conduct violated Rule 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a) and 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Abramovitz declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Abramovitz's revocation was effective as of December 13, 2019.

MASSACHUSETTS

Paul E. Hess (Braintree): In November 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Hess' right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Hess' failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Hess failed to respond to requests for information in an investigation by CFP Board about a March 2018 lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Mr. Hess in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.  In the lawsuit, the SEC alleges that Mr. Hess was one of several accomplices to a fraudulent scheme to raise more than $55 million from hundreds of investors, purportedly as investments in affiliates of a financial technology company, but that most of the money raised was misappropriated by a colleague, the architect of the scheme, to fund a lavish lifestyle.  The SEC also alleges that Mr. Hess was retained by the colleague to attract investors and sell securities issued by shell companies as part of the scheme. The SEC Complaint alleges that, although Mr. Hess was affiliated with a broker-dealer at the time, he did not conduct these sales through or under the supervision of that broker-dealer; instead, and despite his representations to investors that he was not receiving commissions, Mr. Hess received commissions directly from entities controlled by him of 5% of his sales, totaling more than $890,000.  CFP Board's Complaint also alleged that Mr. Hess' conduct provided grounds for under Article 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  Mr. Hess declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Hess' revocation was effective as of December 13, 2019.

NEW YORK

Hector A. May (Orangeburg): In September 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. May's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. May's failure to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that, pursuant to a plea agreement, Mr. May pleaded guilty to two felony charges - Investment Adviser Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud - and was sentenced to 156 months imprisonment with respect to his participation in a scheme to steal money from his clients to cover business losses and for personal expenses, as well as to make payments to other victims in order to conceal the fraud.  The Complaint also alleged that, regarding the same conduct, Mr. May consented to a Judgment by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that permanently restrained and enjoined him from violations of the securities laws, and that the SEC barred Mr. May.  CFP Board's Complaint further alleged that Mr. May did not cooperate with CFP Board's investigation and that his conduct violated Rules 2.1, 4.3, 6.1, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a), 3(c) and 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Procedures). Mr. May declined to file an Answer to CFP Board's Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. May's revocation was effective as of October 25, 2019.

ABOUT CFP BOARD

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 86,000 people in the United States.

CONTACT

Terence Poltrack
Communications Consultant
202-864-5201
tpoltrack@cfpboard.org