Washington, D.C., Sept. 10, 2012 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three former brokers at an Atlanta-based brokerage firm for “churning” the accounts of customers with conservative investment objectives, causing severe investor losses while the brokers collected handsome fees.
The SEC also charged the head supervisor at JP Turner & Company, Michael Bresner, as well as the firm’s president William Mello and the firm itself for compliance failures. JP Turner and Mello agreed to settle the SEC’s charges, while an administrative proceeding will continue against the three brokers and the supervisor.
Churning is a fraudulent practice in which brokers disregard the customer’s investment objectives and engage in excessive trading for the purpose of generating commissions and other revenue for themselves or their firms. The SEC’s Enforcement Division alleges that brokers Ralph Calabro, Jason Konner, and Dimitrios Koutsoubos engaged in churning while they worked at JP Turner. They collectively generated commissions, fees, and margin interest totaling approximately $845,000 while the defrauded customers suffered aggregate losses of approximately $2.7 million.