A federal judge recently ruled that Regions Bank may be held responsible for violating Florida securities law. Back in 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) originally brought charges against Regions Bank for "aiding and abetting" securities sales by an unregistered dealer, USPT. Regions served as the trustee for each investor who invested in the securities at issue. Regions quickly settled the charges the SEC brought against it.
A group of investors sued Regions in a Florida class action, claiming that the bank violated Florida state securities laws that require securities sellers to be registered with the state. Under Florida law, anyone who sells securities in the state must be registered in Florida to do so. The plaintiffs allege that Regions actively promoted and solicited investments, and was involved in the marketing of the investment plans.
In refusing to dismiss the case, the Judge ruled that Regions failed to show that it did not qualify as a "person making the sale" under Florida's statute regulating the sale of securities.