Shane A. Sterling, owner of the now defunct Sterling Wealth Management
in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, has agreed to give up his brokerage license and
to be barred permanently from the securities industry in a settlement
with FINRA, which was reached last month, but announced only late last week.
FINRA alleged that Sterling violated securities industry regulations by
engaging in a pattern of
unsuitable and improper
mutual fund switches in the accounts of five customers, and then falsifying documents
to cover up the unsuitable transactions. Several of the investors had
little investment experience and limited funds. Four out of the five were
According to FINRA's records, Sterling submitted approximately 51 falsified
documents related to the five customer accounts to Workman Securities
Corp., a company for which Sterling serviced customer accounts for a little
over three years. The relationship between the companies was terminated
in 2010 at Workman's request, after the improper transactions were
brought to light.
In the falsified documents, Sterling allegedly claimed that the "unsolicited"
investments were requested by the investors. FINRA's records show
that the investments were, in fact, solicited and recommended by Sterling.
Sterling neither admitted nor denied FINRA's allegations. He did, however,
consent to the findings.