New Jersey Securities Watchdog Fines Former FA $750K Over Alleged Unsuitable Trades
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities has revoked a former financial advisor’s registration in the state and ordered him to pay a $750,000 civil penalty — but the advisor says he was never informed of the regulator’s actions, according to news reports.
The regulator took the action against Gabriel Block over his alleged high-cost unsuitable trading from 2008 to 2015 that generated at least $1.6 million for him and his broker-dealers, about half of which he kept, according to the Asbury Park Press. The complaint against Block mentions three alleged victims in whose accounts he allegedly engaged in short-term buying and selling: a quadriplegic construction accident victim; an unemployed widow and mother of three; and a 75-year-old unemployed widow, the paper writes.
But Block says he was never interviewed nor even notified of the action against him, according to the Asbury Park Press.
"I am going to fight it rigorously," Block tells the paper. He also tells the Asbury Park Press that the cases cited by the bureau had previously been reviewed by Finra, and that in his 28-year history in the industry, he’s “never been ordered to pay a penny by a regulator in handling 24,000 accounts.”
Block began his financial services industry career in 1990 with Merrill Lynch and had been registered with 10 firms during his career, ending in March 2018, when he left First Standard Financial Company and never registered with another firm, according to his BrokerCheck profile.
Block also racked up 16 disclosure events on his record in his 27 years in the industry, starting with a customer dispute in 1999 that was denied, according to BrokerCheck. Five of the 12 customer disputes on his profile have been settled, with the settlements ranging from $30,000 to $375,000, Finra says.
A spokeswoman for the regulator tells the Asbury Park Press that all standard practices had been followed and that Block was served with the bureau’s order.