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Atlanta Broker Alerts FBI Over Big Loss on ‘Unauthorized’ Trades

Danielle Moran and Martin Z. Braun

(Bloomberg) -- IFS Securities, an Atlanta-based broker dealer, said it suffered “substantial losses” because of what it called unauthorized transactions made by one of its highest-ranking employees, prompting the company to alert federal regulators.

The firm on Aug. 8 fired Keith Wakefield, who had worked there since 2011 and served as its head of fixed income, for “fraud” and “placing fictitious trades,” according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records. IFS on Wednesday didn’t disclose the identity of the banker, whom it described as “one of IFS Securities’ most trusted senior employees.”

Wakefield declined to comment. Juliann Kaiser, director of marketing for IFS, did not immediately respond for further comment on Thursday.

IFS said it alerted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is cooperating with those agencies.

IFS didn’t disclose the nature of the money-losing trades, though it said they didn’t involve customers’ assets.

The company said it “will be unable to make any detailed public comment concerning recent events, given the complexity of the situation and the existence of ongoing investigations that it understands have commenced.”

Judith Burns, a spokeswoman for the SEC, declined to comment, as did Michelle Ong, a Finra spokesman. A message left with the FBI wasn’t returned.

Messages left with spokespeople for the FBI and Finra weren’t returned.

(Updates with name of trader in second paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Danielle Moran in New York at dmoran21@bloomberg.net;Martin Z. Braun in New York at mbraun6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Campbell at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net, William Selway, Michael B. Marois

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