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Former Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Broker, Joseph Woitkoski, Suspended By FINRA For Thirty Days For Allegedly Exercising Discretion Without Written Authorization

Joseph Woitkoski (CRD #4172477) was a Financial Advisor at Raymond James & Associates, Inc. in Pitsfiled, MA, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated in Albany, NY and UBS Financial Services Inc. in Weehawken, NJ. Joseph Woitkoski was in the securities industry from 1998 to 2018.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on August 21, 2020, Joseph Woitkoski was sanctioned by FINRA, suspending him for thirty business days and fining him $7,500. According to the FINRA sanction:

“Without admitting or denying the findings, Woitkoski consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he exercised discretion without written authorization in accounts maintained by customers, some of whom were seniors. The findings stated that over the course of longstanding relationships, the customers gave authorization to Woitkoski to exercise discretion in their accounts. However, Woitkoski did not have written authority from the customers to exercise discretion in their accounts. Additionally, Woitkoski never requested or obtained approval from his member firm to exercise discretion in the customers’ accounts. Woitkoski also completed a compliance questionnaire in which he inaccurately stated that he did not exercise discretion in any non-fee based accounts. The findings also stated that Woitkoski caused the firm to maintain inaccurate books and records by mismarking order tickets for trades as unsolicited when the trades were his idea. Woitkoski had no communication with the customer for at least a week prior to entering the subject trade orders.”

For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click https://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/fda_documents/2018059808101%20Joseph%20P.%20Woitkoski%20CRD%203023301%20AWC%20va.pdf

In addition to the foregoing, in August 2018, Joseph Woitkoski was discharged from Raymond James & Associates, Inc. after “ADMITTING THAT HE EXECUTED UNAUTHORIZED TRADES IN MULTIPLE CLIENT ACCOUNTS.”

For a copy of Joseph Woitkoski’s CRD, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/3023301#disclosuresSection

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) defines unauthorized transactions as “trades that a broker makes for a customer without the customer’s permission or authorization.”

FINRA Rule 3260(b) provides that “[]no member or registered representative shall exercise any discretionary power in a customer’s account unless such customer has given prior written authorization to a stated individual or individuals and the account has been accepted by the member, as evidenced in writing by the member or the partner, officer or manager, duly designated by the member, in accordance with Rule 3110.”

Financial advisors also have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

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