Lawrence Merl, Broker with David Lerner Associates, Facing Customer Dispute Alleging Recommendation of Unsuitable Investments

INVESTORS: David Lerner Associates broker Lawrence Merl was named in a customer dispute alleging he made unsuitable investment recommendations.

Lawrence Merl (CRD#: 2443190) is registered as a broker with David Lerner Associates, where he’s been employed since 1994. Merl does not have any other securities industry experience.

Merl has three disclosures on his BrokerCheck report. 

November 2021 Customer Dispute

Status: Pending

Allegations: Unsuitability, omissions

Damage Amount Requested: $100,000.00

Broker Comment: Lawrence Merl was not a named party to the action. The allegations do not include misappropriation, forgery, theft or conversion of funds or securities. Mr. Merl’s name did not appear in the body of the SOC however, DLA made a best efforts attempt and confirmed that he was the IC who sold the investments at issue in the SOC.

October 2020 Customer Dispute

Status: Settled

Allegations: unsuitability, misrepresentation in connection with Energy 11

Damage Amount Requested: $999,999.00

Settlement Amount: $750,000.00

April 2004 Regulatory Judgment

Status: Final

Initiated By: NASD

Allegations: NASD Rules 2110, 2310(A) – Respondent disregarded the investment objectives of public customers and improperly leveraged the customers’ accounts by making margin purchases and investing them in illiquid real estate investment trust (REIT) securities without reasonable grounds for believing that the REIT investments and the use of margin were suitable for the customers’ investment objectives and financial situations.

Resolution: Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC)

Sanctions: Civil and Administrative Penalty(ies)/Fine(s)

Sanctions: Suspension

Regulator Statement: Without admitting or denying the allegations, Merl consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings, therefore, he is fined $52,000, of which $42,000 represents disgorgement of commissions, and suspended from association with any NASD member in any capacity for five months. Suspension effective June 7, 2004 to close of business November 6, 2004. Fines paid on July 27, 2007.

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