Beverly Hills securities broker target of Wall Street complaint

Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:34pm EDT
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By Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) - A Beverly Hills securities broker, whose clients included Hollywood stars, is being accused by Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog of lying to regulators and selling worthless securities to unsuspecting customers, including a divorced mother of three.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority filed a civil enforcement complaint against broker Bambi Holzer for selling seven investors privately issued securities that later turned out to be fraudulent and for lying to FINRA in regulatory documents.

FINRA has been investigating Holzer since at least July. The complaint, dated October 18, was posted to FINRA's disciplinary database this week.

In September, the Wall Street watchdog, in a separate move, suspended Holzer for not paying money she owed to an investor who had won an arbitration case against her, according to a disclosure report.

Holzer, now chairman of Wealth & Income Management Group in Beverly Hills, California, did not know that the securities she recommended to clients would later be deemed fraudulent, said Rex Beaber, Holzer's Los Angeles-based lawyer. Holzer is not to blame for the false regulatory documents, which her former firm prepared, Beaber said.

The action comes after years of criticism from lawyers for investors that FINRA allowed Holzer to continue working in the securities business, despite 64 complaints against her by one-time clients who alleged sales practice violations.

A FINRA spokeswoman declined comment, citing pending litigation.

Holzer has worked in the securities business since 1981, often switching firms every few years, according to regulatory documents.   Continued...