According to news reports of documents filed August 31 in federal court, William T. Johnson of Palm Beach Gardens has been accused of stealing upwards of half a million dollars from 13 investors. Johnson apparently operated an investment company called Professional Planning Group and was formerly a broker registered with securities regulators. He is accused of defrauding investors between July 2003 and September 2011. The Sun Sentinel reported that Johnson “allegedly told his clients he would invest their money in various products, including Individual Retirement Accounts, Certificates of Deposit and short-term commercial paper…,” but proceeded to use “the clients’ monies to benefit himself and his family.”
The attorney for William Johnson told the media that his client was likely to plead guilty and further that he expected the case against Johnson to be settled with a plea. Johnson, who has faced scrutiny from securities regulators in Florida and Maine in the past, has already been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from associating with any FINRA registered brokerage firm. According to documents related to his registration with the securities regulator, Johnson was registered as an independent advisor for the FINRA member firm Kovack Securities from 2002 until 2009. He was also registered from May to June of 2010 with Next Financial Group, Inc.
The White Law Group is investigating the liability that the FINRA broker-dealers that employed Mr. Johnson may have for failing in their responsibility to adequately supervise his work with investors.
When a FINRA registered representative conducts business outside of the firm with whom he is registered, that activity may be considered “selling away.” If a registered broker “sells away” from his firm, the firm may still be liable for negligent supervision of their broker representative and may be responsible for investment losses in a FINRA claim. If, in fact, William Johnson defrauded investors through his own investment company while registered with a FINRA member firm, he may fit the pattern for the improper practice of “selling away.”
The White Law Group is committed to the helping victims of investment fraud. If you have suffered losses due to your investment with Mr. William T. Johnson or another broker and would like to speak to a securities attorney about your potential to recover those investment losses, please call The White Law Group at (561) 807-6804 for a free consultation.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Chicago, Illinois.
For more information on The White Law Group, please visit our website at http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.