Financial Services

Brokers are banned or suspended as fallout from $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme continues

Without admitting or denying the findings that he didn’t get prior approval for selling the promissory notes, Powell agreed to being permanently banned from the securities industry. Powell did not respond to calls from CNBC seeking comment.

Another broker also was barred after selling $2.7 million of Woodbridge notes, which delivered $109,900 in commissions.

Michael Rappa, of Roseville, California, agreed to the ban while neither admitting nor denying guilt to the findings. He did not respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Rappa had been a registered representative with Foresters Equity Services of San Diego, which has since shut down.

A spokesman for that broker-dealer’s Canada-based owner, Foresters Financial, declined to comment due to ongoing litigation related to the matter. The spokesman also said the company closed its broker-dealer arm as part of a shift to focus on its core life insurance business.

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Meanwhile, a broker lost his job and was suspended for a month. Kirk Bertsch, of Spearfish, South Dakota, allegedly sold a $50,0000 Woodbridge note to an investor, netting him $1,500 in commission, according to FINRA. He invested $240,000 of his own money as well, FINRA documents show.

While Bertsch’s suspension was lifted in mid-March, he remains unaffiliated with any registered firm.

His previous broker-dealer, Farmers Financial Solutions of Westlake Village, California, fired him in August 2018 for allegations related to the promissory notes, FINRA reports. South Dakota state regulators also fined him $5,000 and banned him from selling securities in the state again.

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