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NFL players hit Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley with $1.8M arbitration claims

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Two NFL players have hit Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley with $1.8 million in claims, accusing the firms of not properly supervising Aaron Parthemer, a former broker and Miami Beach nightclub owner.

Although FINRA barred Parthemer from the industry in 2015, cases related to his time in wealth management continue to make their way through the regulator's arbitration system.

While employed as an adviser at Morgan Stanley and then Wells Fargo, he served as a financial adviser to NFL and NBA star athletes, several of whom have since accused him in arbitration of mismanaging their finances.

Parthemer, who is not named in the most recent cases brought by Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea and former New York Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes, has been previously accused of investing clients in his nightclub without his employer's approval, according to regulatory filings.

So far, three client claims related to Parthemer's investment recommendations have ended in awards or settlements totaling approximately $2 million while four additional complaints for $9.6 million are pending, according to his FINRA BrokerCheck record.

In the most recent filing, Arizona Cardinals’ Bethea alleges that Parthemer solicited him to allocate funds to unsuitable investments starting in 2009, according to a note contained within Parthemer's CRD file. Bethea, who filed arbitration claims in April, is seeking $1.6 million in damages from Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley.

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Matthew Johnson, an attorney at Denver law firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell who is representing Bethea, declined to comment.

Former Jets linebacker Barnes, also filed a claim for $205,000 against Morgan Stanley late last year, alleging Parthemer solicited him for investments not approved by his firm.

Chase Carlson, a Miami-based attorney representing Barnes, declined to comment, citing the ongoing arbitration case.

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo declined to comment while a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman could not be reached for immediate comment.

These claims mirror reasons FINRA gave for barring Parthemer from the industry in April 2015. The regulator accused Parthemer of engaging in several outside businesses without approval from his employer; loaning about $400,000 to clients without permission from his firm; investing approximately $3 million of client funds in an undisclosed private security and providing false information in response to FINRA inquiries.

Parthemer consented to the FINRA sanction without admitting or denying the findings, according to a FINRA disciplinary report.

He declined to comment for this article.

As a wirehouse adviser, Parthemer served star NFL and NBA athletes, whom he allegedly solicited to invest in his nightclub, which he owned from 2009 to 2012, according to FINRA's disciplinary report. Parthemer also promoted a brand of tequila. From 2011 to 2013, Parthemer sent complimentary gift baskets of the Mexican liquor to several NFL and NBA teams.

During this time, he was working at the two wirehouses; Morgan Stanley and predecessor firm Smith Barney from 2006 to 2011, and Wells Fargo from 2011 to 2015, according to BrokerCheck records.

Of the pending arbitration cases, the largest was brought by former NFL cornerback Asante Samuel and Mega Millions lottery winner James Groves. They are jointly seeking $7.8 million in damages against Morgan Stanley related to investment recommendations made by Parthemer, according to regulatory filings.

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