Department of Financial Institutions
Broker-Dealer Pleads Guilty to Criminal Intent
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 11, 2008) – A securities broker-dealer in Lexington is no longer allowed to sell investments after pleading guilty Tuesday to criminal intent involving forged documents.
Michael Ray Ecton pleaded guilty in Fayette District Court to a misdemeanor criminal intent charge, downgraded from four second-degree forgery charges. The agreed order was signed by Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Commissioner Cordell Lawrence on Thursday.
In May, DFI’s Securities Division began investigating Ecton based on the firm’s reports to the registration database used by DFI. In an interview, Ecton admitted that he forged signatures on at least seven clients’ insurance documents. Detective Wayne Thornton of the Lexington police department’s Financial Crimes Unit assisted DFI’s investigation.
In the agreed order, Ecton waived his right to a hearing and to judicial review. His 12-month sentence was probated, and his registration as a broker-dealer agent in Kentucky is permanently revoked. The insurance company covered the customers’ losses, and Ecton made restitution to the insurance companies.
“It is satisfying to get this matter resolved swiftly in order to protect Kentucky investors,” Lawrence said. “Those who suspect wrongdoing on the part of their broker or adviser should not hesitate to submit a complaint to our department.”
Investors may file a complaint online at www.kfi.ky.gov/scomplaint.htm or by calling the Securities Enforcement Branch at 800-223-2579. These same resources may be used to verify if investment opportunities, and the people selling them, are registered.
DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve the public through effective and efficient regulation that promotes consumer confidence and economic growth.