FINRA Negligent Supervision and Selling Away Arbitration Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Martin Robert Coyne (CRD #2401192, Registered Representative, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 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, Coyne consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that he persuaded an elderly customer, in a meeting with the customer and a relative, to write a $50,000 check made payable to an affiliate of Coyne’s member firm and sign documents that purported to relate to a variable annuity investment, but Coyne never submitted the documents to his firm and the check was never cashed. The findings stated that in furtherance of his deception, Coyne misled the customer by informing him that the nonexistent variable annuity contract was deemed unsuitable for him due to his age and persuaded the customer to instead invest in Coyne’s non-existent company. The findings also stated that the customer, unbeknownst to his relative, wrote Coyne a $50,000 check payable to “cash,” which Coyne deposited into his personal bank account for the personal use of Coyne and his sibling, without the customer’s authorization. The findings also included that Coyne had the customer sign a bogus agreement that purported, among other things, to guarantee a signing bonus and the greater of a five percent return on investment of the amount earned based on a particular annuity product, for a minimum three-year investment, plus return of the principal invested, all purportedly tax-free. FINRA found that a few months later, the customer’s relative, still thinking that the customer had invested in a variable annuity, asked Coyne about the performance of the annuity, and Coyne several times provided the relative with fictitious annuity statements purporting to relate to the non-existent variable annuity investment. In addition, FINRA determined that by falsifying records, Coyne, in the conduct of his business, failed to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade. (FINRA Case #2011026880701).