The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") has filed a complaint against New York-based John Thomas Financial ("JTF") and its CEO Anastasios "Tommy" Belesis. FINRA alleges that JTF and Belesis committed fraud in connection with the sale of America West Resources, Inc. common stock. FINRA also alleges that JTF and Belesis intimidated registered representatives, failed to provide the best execution for its customers' orders, and committed other securities violations.
According to FINRA, JTF and many of its customers held thinly traded pink-sheet stock in America West. On February 23, 2012, FINRA claims that, when the price of America West spiked by over 600%, JTF sold the majority of its proprietary position in America West for a profit of over $1 million. FINRA claims that JTF sold its proprietary shares, rather than execute approximately 15 customer sell orders, to the detriment of its customers. America West subsequently sought bankruptcy protection and its shares are now virtually worthless.
FINRA's Complaint asserts that JTF and Belesis made material misrepresentations to its customers and employees concerning the reasons the customers' sell orders were not placed on February 23, 2012. Allegedly, Belesis and JTF made false statements that there was a problem with the clearing firm's trading system, there was insufficient volume to fulfill the orders, and that the shares were restricted from sale by the Securities Act of 1933.
A copy of FINRA's Complaint can be viewed here.