The Investor’s Watchdog

The Investor's Watchdog

South Dakota Broker Consents to FINRA Sanctions for Undisclosed Sale of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC Promissory Notes

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement recently approved a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) against general securities representative Kirk Bertsch for allegedly violating FINRA Rules by engaging in private securities transactions involving Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC (Woodbridge) without obtaining approval from his member firm.

According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Bertsch was associated with Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC in Spearfish, South Dakota from September 2000 to August 2018. The firm discharged Bertsch for allegedly failing to obtain prior written approval to participate in private securities transactions where he sold $50,000 in unregistered Woodbridge-related promissory notes, engaging in undisclosed outside business activities and failing to report that he was contacted by a regulator for securities matters.

According to the AWC, Bertsch solicited an investor to purchase a $50,000 promissory note relating to Woodbridge, a purported real estate investment fund that is now a well-known Ponzi scheme involving thousands of investors and billions of dollars. Bertsch received $1,500 in commissions in connection with this sale and personally invested $240,000 in Woodbridge promissory notes.

By failing to seek approval for the private securities transactions and outside business activities, FINRA asserts that Bertsch violated FINRA Rules 3280 and 2010. Without admitting or denying the allegations made against him, Kirk Bertsch consented to a one-month suspension from associating with all FINRA member firms in all capacities and disgorgement of commissions received.

If a broker was not properly supervised while registered at a brokerage firm, the firm can be held liable for the broker’s misconduct. Did your broker cost you money? If so, you may be able to recover from your broker or the brokerage firm where he or she was registered. Since 1998, our attorneys have been representing victims of investment fraud and broker misconduct. Call us (1-877-410-8172) today for a free, no obligation consultation.

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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