Broker suspended, fined for impersonating rival with online sex ads
Cyberbullying has officially hit Wall Street.
When Edward Jones broker Paul Betenbaugh in California wanted to exact revenge on a rival, he went too far. He impersonated the competitor and posted ads on the Internet that solicited men for sexual encounters, according to his settlement with FINRA. The ads included the other broker’s business cell phone number, resulting in a number of unwanted calls and text messages, the regulator said.
While Betenbaugh’s alleged conduct didn’t involve the sale of securities, FINRA sanctioned him for violating a rule that states brokers must act ethically. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Betenbaugh agreed to pay a $7,500 fine and serve a three-month suspension from associating with any FINRA-registered firm.
According to The Sacramento Bee, Betenbaugh placed the ads because he thought the rival broker had stolen a client.
Betenbaugh's attorney, Christopher Aguilar of Aguilar Legal and Business Consulting Group, did not return email and voice messages seeking comment.
The alleged misconduct, which occurred in September and October of 2015, resulted in his termination from his firm, FINRA said. While the settlement does not name his employer at the time, BrokerCheck records show that he worked at Edward Jones from September 2006 to February 2016.
John Boul, a spokesman for Edward Jones, declined to comment on the matter due to pending litigation.