FINRA Stock, Bond, Variable Annuity and Private Placement Arbitration Lawyer, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Gregory James Buchholz (CRD #1864780, Registered Representative, Bridgewater, Connecticut, formerly licensed with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Without admitting or denying the findings, Buchholz consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he misappropriated approximately $1,350,000 from customers, a number of whom were retirees, by liquidating their variable annuities and/or mutual funds and then transferring the proceeds to his personal bank account, converting the proceeds for his own use and benefit. The findings stated that as part of this scheme, Buchholz falsely and fraudulently represented, at times by forging customer signatures on redemption documents, that certain customers had authorized the redemption of the securities in order to obtain the proceeds of the sale; fraudulently induced certain customers to authorize the redemption of securities, based on misrepresentations that the proceeds would be reinvested to the customers’ investment accounts; and caused checks to be drawn in the customers’ names and caused the checks to be sent directly either to his office or to the customers. The findings also stated that if the checks were sent directly to the customers, Buchholz convinced those clients to turn the checks over to him, making false and fraudulent representations that he would deposit the funds in their securities accounts to be reinvested; however, he did not reinvest the proceeds but instead deposited the checks into his personal bank accounts and used the proceeds for his own purpose. The findings also included that if the checks were sent directly to his office, Buchholz simply deposited the checks in his own bank accounts for his personal use and sometimes forged the customers’ signatures in order to cash the checks. (FINRA Case #2010023931401).