Securities Commissioner Matt Rosendale announced on Wednesday, that his office has reached a $101,000 settlement with a New York financial firm for bilking a Chester, Mont., man out of $78,000 through improper securities transactions.

Spokesman Kyle Schmauch said the company in question was found to be ‘churning’, and piling up excessive fees against the client.

“Our office had refused to license one of Woodstock Financial Group’s employees, Ryan Murnane, because of past bad acting in the securities industry,” said Schmauch. “That employee went and worked with another broker at the firm to work with the Montana man’s account, and then he engaged in ‘churning’.”

Schmauch explained.

“Churning is the practice of excessively trading in the client’s investment account,” he said. “It doesn’t help the client’s financial picture, but it does do a lot of harm by generating a lot of commissions for the broker. In this case, the churning almost completely depleted the client’s account. Our office forced the company to provide full restitution to the client, plus interest, and another $15,000 in fines. In addition, the Woodstock employee who we’ve had problems with in the past has been permanently banned from the securities industry nationally.”

Murnane was also involved in the Alexander Capital case that Rosendale highlighted in December. Murnane was suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in February 2018 for failing to respond to its requests. The suspension is now permanent, meaning Murnane is barred from working in the securities industry in any U.S. state.


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