Monday, April 30, 2012
A FINRA hearing officer expelled Pinnacle Partners Financial, Corp., a broker-dealer based in San Antonio, TX, and barred its President, Brian Alfaro, for fraudulent sales of oil and gas private placements and unregistered securities. In addition, Brian Alfaro was found to have used customer funds for personal and business expenses. As restitution, Pinnacle and Alfaro are ordered to offer rescission to investors who were sold fraudulent offerings and refund all sales commissions to those customers who do not request rescission. The hearing officer issued a default decision because Alfaro failed to attend the hearing.
The hearing officer found that from August 2008 to March 2011, Alfaro and Pinnacle operated a boiler room in which approximately 10 brokers placed thousands of cold calls on a weekly basis to solicit investments in oil and gas drilling joint ventures Alfaro owned or controlled. Alfaro and Pinnacle raised over $10 million from more than 100 investors, and that Alfaro diverted some of the customer funds for unrelated business and personal expenses.
In April 2011, FINRA had suspended indefinitely Pinnacle and Alfaro for failure to comply with a FINRA Temporary Cease and Desist Order prohibiting their fraudulent misrepresentations.