The Investor’s Watchdog

The Investor's Watchdog

John Ernst Consents to FINRA Sanctions to Resolve Allegations of Engaging in Undisclosed Woodbridge Private Securities Transactions

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

On March 3, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement approved a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) submitted by former Foresters Equity Services, Inc. (Foresters) Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative John Ernst to resolve allegations of engaging in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions.

According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Ernst was associated with Foresters in San Diego, California from January 2011 to March 2018. He was discharged from the firm after allegations arose that he violated the firm’s policies and procedures by engaging in undisclosed private securities transactions without approval and failed to inform the firm that he was contacted by the State of Wisconsin by letter pursuant to the State’s investigation of the Woodbridge Group of Companies Group, LLC.

FINRA alleges in the AWC that, between October 2015 and November 2017, Ernst engaged in undisclosed and unapproved private securities transactions involving Woodbridge Group of Companies Group, LLC, a purported real estate investment fund. These transactions totaled approximately $509,000 and Ernst received $35,252 in commissions.  FINRA further claims that Ernst falsely stated that he had not participated in any private securities transactions without prior approval from the firm in the 2015, 2016, and 2017 annual compliance questionnaires.

Based on the foregoing, Ernst violated FINRA Rules 3280 and 2010. Without admitting or denying the allegations made against him, John Ernst consented to a nine-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity and a $5,000 fine. He also agreed to disgorge $22,752 plus interest of commissions received through the Woodbridge transactions.

The attorneys at ChapmanAlbin LLC presently represent investors against brokers and brokerage firms that sold Woodbridge promissory notes. If you lost money while investing with John Ernst and you suspect wrongdoing, you may be able to recover from him or his brokerage firm, Foresters Equity Services, Inc. Call us (1-877-410-8172) for a free, no obligation consultation. Since 1998, we have been fighting for victims of broker misconduct and investment fraud.


Author: Jason T. Albin

Jason Albin is an Attorney and Partner at ChapmanAlbin, the investor rights law firm. He has represented hundreds of investors who have lost money due to broker misconduct, unsuitable investment advice and fraud.​ Jason also represents individuals in “whistleblower” suits filed against unscrupulous companies that try to defraud the US federal and state governments.

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