Wedbush Securities has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and accept an SEC censure to settle charges that it failed to supervise one of its registered representatives involved in a pump-and-dump scheme.

The settlement, announced on Wednesday by the SEC, comes after Wedbush was accused in March 2018 of ignoring “numerous red flags” concerning the scheme allegedly orchestrated by Timary Delorme, who had already agreed to settle fraud charges stemming from the scheme that targeted retail investors.

The SEC’s investigation found that Delorme received undisclosed benefits for investing her customers in micro-cap stocks as part of a pump-and-dump scheme.

According to the SEC’s March 2018 order, Wedbush ignored multiple signs of Delorme’s fraud, including a customer e-mail outlining Delorme’s involvement in the scheme and multiple Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) arbitrations and inquiries regarding her penny stock trading activity. In response to these clear red flags, Wedbush conducted two flawed and insufficient investigations into Delorme’s conduct but failed to take appropriate action, the SEC said.

In Wedbush’s settlement, the SEC acknowledge that the brokerage had taken several remedial measures since the charges were filed, including leadership changes, policy changes, improvements in electronic surveillance, as well as stronger internal and audit controls.

“The firm takes very seriously its responsibility to supervise our financial advisors and we are appreciative of the SEC in helping us identify insufficiencies in our detection and reporting procedures and systems. We are confident these issues are fully rectified,” said Wedbush Co-Presidents Rich Jablonski and Gary Wedbush in released comments.

In a separate 2018 order, Delorme, who did not admit or deny guilt, agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and to be barred from the financial industry and from dealing in penny stocks.
 

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