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Iowa Business Owner Permanently Barred from Selling Securities

David P. Meyer

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 senior citizens.

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.