FINRA Arbitration Unapproved Outside Business Activity and Failure to Supervise Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.

September, 2011:

Thomas Michael Aretz (CRD #1083897, Registered Representative, Destin, Florida) was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity and ordered to pay $251,907, plus interest, in restitution to customers. The sanctions were based on findings that Aretz established an outside business activity and never made a written request to, or received permission from, his member firm to engage in the outside business activity. The findings stated that in connection with the outside business, Aretz borrowed approximately $242,800 from firm customers without requesting or obtaining permission from his firm, and has yet to repay the loans. The findings also stated that Aretz’ firm prohibited its registered representatives from borrowing funds from customers without the express written consent of the firm’s chief compliance officer or a member of the firm’s senior management. The findings also included that Aretz failed to disclose the loans on several annual firm compliance questionnaires and that he failed to respond to FINRA requests for information. (FINRA Case #2009017764301).