DOB: Itradedirect.com - CD NOIR NOIF

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IN THE MATTER OF:

ITRADEDIRECT.COM CORP.

CRD No. 18281

("Respondent")



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ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE
REGISTRATION AS BROKER-DEALER

NOTICE OF INTENT TO FINE

AND

NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

DOCKET NO. RCF-10-7699-S

I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

1. The Banking Commissioner (“Commissioner”) is charged with the administration of Chapter 672a of the General Statutes of Connecticut, the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act (“Act”), and the regulations promulgated thereunder (Sections 36b-31-2 to 36b-31-33, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies) (“Regulations”).
2. Pursuant to Section 36b-26(a) of the Act, the Commissioner, through the Securities and Business Investments Division (“Division”) of the Department of Banking, has conducted an investigation into the activities of Respondent to determine if Respondent has violated, is violating or is about to violate provisions of the Act or Regulations (“Investigation”).
3.
As a result of the Investigation, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has violated certain provisions of the Act.
4. As a result of the Investigation, the Commissioner has the authority to issue a cease and desist order against Respondent pursuant to Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement to the General Statutes (“2010 Supplement”).
5.
As a result of the Investigation, the Commissioner brings this administrative action pursuant to Section 36b-15(a) of the 2010 Supplement and Section 4-182(c) of the General Statutes of Connecticut to revoke the broker-dealer registration of Respondent in Connecticut.
6.
As a result of the Investigation, the Commissioner has the authority to impose a fine against Respondent pursuant to Section 36b-27(d) of the 2010 Supplement.

II.  RESPONDENT

7.
Respondent is a North Carolina corporation with its principal place of business at 1600 NW Boca Raton Boulevard, Suite 22, Boca Raton, Florida 33432.

III.  STATEMENT OF FACTS

8. From at least August 30, 1999 to the present, Respondent has been registered in Connecticut under the Act as a broker-dealer.
9. On or about April 2008 and November 2009, as part of the Investigation, the Division conducted an examination of Respondent’s books and records at Respondent’s branch located at 701 Middle Country Road, Selden, New York.
10. Pursuant to the Investigation, Respondent provided the Division with a copy of Respondent’s written supervisory policies and procedures manual (“WSP”).
11. Section 91 of the WSP “Communication with the Public:  Telemarketing Scripts” required, inter alia, that scripts may not be used unless they received prior written approval from Respondent’s compliance department, and that utilization of an unapproved script may result in sanctions.  The WSP also required designated supervising principals to be responsible for monitoring any scripts utilized by individuals directly under their supervision to ensure that the scripts were in compliance and that no scripts were utilized without the appropriate procedures being followed.
12. During the Investigation, the Division discovered sales scripts that were utilized by agents that had not been previously approved by Respondent.  These unapproved sales scripts violated Respondent’s prohibition in the WSP regarding such sales materials.
13. Notwithstanding the WSP’s requirements, Respondent’s supervisory principals failed to monitor the scripts utilized by individuals under their supervision and ensure that no unapproved scripts were being utilized.
14. During the Investigation, the Division also discovered that from at least July 2005 through February 2008, Respondent employed at least five agents who, on behalf of Respondent and without registration in Connecticut under the Act as agents of Respondent, effected trades in securities for the accounts of persons located in Connecticut.
15. During the Investigation, the Division further discovered that Respondent charged a “Handling Fee” of Sixty-five Dollars ($65) per transaction to each Connecticut customer, as well as a commission and “settlement fee”.  However, Respondent failed to disclose to its Connecticut customers that the “Handling Fee” included a profit to Respondent, and that the fee was not based on the costs of handling a particular transaction.  Respondent’s omission was material to investors, and Respondent’s failure to disclose the nature of these charges made Respondent’s limited explanation misleading.
16.
On January 5, 2009, March 16, 2009 and May 27, 2009, the Commissioner gave Respondent written notice pursuant to Section 4-182(c) of the General Statutes of Connecticut that Respondent may have engaged in conduct which, if proven, would constitute a basis for the suspension or revocation of Respondent’s broker-dealer registration in Connecticut, and gave Respondent the opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of its registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut.

IV.  STATUTORY AND REGULATORY BASIS FOR ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST,
REVOCATION OF REGISTRATION AS BROKER-DEALER
AND ORDER IMPOSING FINE

a.  Violation of Section 36b-4(a) of the Act –
Fraud in Connection with the Offer and Sale of any Security

17. Paragraphs 1 through 16, inclusive, are incorporated and made a part hereof as if more fully set forth herein.
18.
The conduct of Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 15, constitutes, in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of any security, employing a device, scheme or artifice to defraud, making an untrue statement of a material fact or omitting to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading, or engaging in an act, practice or course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any person.  Such conduct constitutes a wilful violation of Section 36b-4(a) of the 2010 Supplement, which forms a basis for an order to cease and desist to be issued against Respondent under Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement, the revocation of Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut pursuant to Section 36b-15(a)(2)(B) of the 2010 Supplement, and for the imposition of a fine against Respondent under Section 36b-27(d) of the 2010 Supplement.

b.  Violation of Section 36b-4(b) of the Act –
Dishonest and Unethical Practices in Connection with the Offer and Sale of any Security

19. Paragraphs 1 through 18, inclusive, are incorporated and made a part hereof as if more fully set forth herein.
20.
The conduct of Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 15, constitutes, in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly engaging in a dishonest or unethical practice.  Such conduct constitutes a wilful violation of Section 36b-4(b) of the 2010 Supplement, which forms a basis for an order to cease and desist to be issued against Respondent under Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement, the revocation of Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut pursuant to Sections 36b-15(a)(2)(B) and 36b-15(a)(2)(H) of the 2010 Supplement, and for the imposition of a fine against Respondent under Section 36b-27(d) of the 2010 Supplement.

c.  Dishonest and Unethical Practices - Violation of FINRA Conduct Rules

21. Paragraphs 1 through 20, inclusive, are incorporated and made a part hereof as if more fully set forth herein.
22.
The conduct of Respondent, as more fully described in paragraph 15, is conduct proscribed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (formerly NASD) Conduct Rules 2210 and 2440.  Such conduct constitutes a dishonest or unethical practice in the securities business within the meaning of Section 36b-31-15a(b) of the Regulations, which forms a basis for an order to cease and desist to be issued against Respondent under Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement, and for the revocation of Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut pursuant to Section 36b-15(a)(2)(H) of the 2010 Supplement.

d.  Wilful Violation of Section 36b-6(b) of the Act –
Employment of Unregistered Agents by a Broker-dealer

23. Paragraphs 1 through 22, inclusive, are incorporated and made a part hereof as if more fully set forth herein.
24.
Respondent’s employment of at least five unregistered agents, as more fully described in paragraph 14, constitutes a wilful violation of Section 36b-6(b) of the Act, which forms a basis for an order to cease and desist to be issued against Respondent pursuant to Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement, the revocation of Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut pursuant to Section 36b-15(a)(2)(B) of the 2010 Supplement, and for the imposition of a fine against Respondent under Section 36b-27(d) of the 2010 Supplement.

e. Wilful Violation of Section 36b-31-6f of the Regulations –
Failure to Enforce and Maintain Adequate Supervisory Procedures

25. Paragraphs 1 through 24, inclusive, are incorporated and made a part hereof as if more fully set forth herein.
26.
Respondent’s failure to monitor the use of scripts by individuals directly under its supervision
to ensure that they were in compliance with all regulatory requirements, and that no scripts were utilized contrary to the requirements of the WSP, as more fully described in paragraphs 10 through 13, inclusive, constitutes a wilful violation of Section 36b-31-6f of the Regulations, which forms a basis for an order to cease and desist to be issued against Respondent pursuant to Section 36b-27(a) of the 2010 Supplement, the revocation of Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut pursuant to Sections 36b-15(a)(2)(B) and 36b-15(a)(2)(K) of the 2010 Supplement, and for the imposition of a fine against Respondent pursuant to Section 36b 27(d) of the 2010 Supplement.


V.  ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST, NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE REGISTRATION AS BROKER-DEALER, NOTICE OF INTENT TO FINE AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO HEARING

WHEREAS, as a result of the Investigation, the Commissioner finds that, with respect to the activity described herein, Respondent has committed at least one violation of Section 36b-4(a) of the 2010 Supplement, at least one violation of Section 36b-4(b) of the 2010 Supplement, at least five violations of Section 36b-6(b) of the Act, and at least one violation of Section 36b-31-6f of the Regulations;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner has reason to believe that Respondent has engaged in acts or conduct that, pursuant to Section 36b-15 of the 2010 Supplement, constitute grounds for revoking Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner further finds that the issuance of this Order to Cease and Desist, the issuance of an order revoking Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut, and the imposition of a fine against Respondent is necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors and consistent with the purposes fairly intended by the policies and provisions of the Act;

WHEREAS, notice is hereby given to Respondent that its registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut shall be revoked, subject to Respondent’s right to request a hearing on the allegations set forth above;

WHEREAS, notice is hereby given to Respondent that the Commissioner intends to impose a maximum fine not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) per violation;

WHEREAS, the Commissioner ORDERS that Respondent CEASE AND DESIST from directly or indirectly violating the provisions of the Act and Regulations, including without limitation, (1) in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of any security, employing a device, scheme or artifice to defraud, making an untrue statement of a material fact or omitting to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading, or engaging in an act, practice or course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any person, (2) engaging in dishonest or unethical business practices, (3) employing agents absent registration under the Act, and (4) failing to maintain and enforce adequate supervisory procedures;

AND WHEREAS, pursuant to Sections 36b-15(f) and 36b-27 of the 2010 Supplement, Respondent will be afforded an opportunity for a hearing on the allegations set forth above.

THE COMMISSIONER FURTHER ORDERS that a hearing will be granted to Respondent if a written request for a hearing is received by the Department of Banking, Securities Division, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut 06103-1800 within fourteen (14) days following Respondent’s receipt of this Order.  The enclosed Appearance and Request for Hearing Form must be completed and mailed to the above address.  If Respondent will not be represented by an attorney at the hearing, please complete the Appearance and Request for Hearing Form as “pro se”.  Once a written request for a hearing is received, the Commissioner may issue a notification of hearing and designation of hearing officer that acknowledges receipt of a request for a hearing, designates a presiding officer and sets the date of the hearing in accordance with Section 4-177 of the General Statutes of Connecticut and Section 36a-1-21 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.  If a hearing is requested, the hearing will be held on July 20, 2010, at 10 a.m., at the Department of Banking, 260 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut.

The hearing will be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 54 of the General Statutes of Connecticut.  At such hearing, Respondent will have the right to appear and present evidence, rebuttal evidence and argument on all issues of fact and law to be considered by the Commissioner.

This Order to Cease and Desist shall remain in effect and become permanent against Respondent if Respondent fails to request a hearing within the prescribed time period or fails to appear at any such hearing.

The Commissioner shall issue an order revoking Respondent’s registration as a broker-dealer in Connecticut if Respondent fails to request a hearing within the prescribed time period or fails to appear at any such hearing.

The Commissioner may order that the maximum fine be imposed upon Respondent if Respondent fails to request a hearing within the prescribed time period or fails to appear at any such hearing.

Dated at Hartford, Connecticut,       ________/s/________ 
this 3rd day of June 2010.   Howard F. Pitkin 
    Banking Commissioner 



CERTIFICATION

I hereby certify that on this 3rd day of June 2010, the foregoing Order to Cease and Desist, Notice of Intent to Revoke Registration as Broker-dealer, Notice of Intent to Fine and Notice of Right to Hearing was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Itradedirect.com Corp., 1600 NW Boca Raton Boulevard, Suite 22, Boca Raton, Florida 33432, certified mail no. 7008 1140 0002 4974 3541.


                                                    _______/s/_________
                                                    Paul A. Bobruff
                                                    Prosecuting Attorney


 


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