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FINRA Bars Ex-PFS Broker Albert Harkless: Conversion Allegations

Former Temple Hills, Maryland broker Albert Harkless (CRD# 2782039) was recently sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in connection to allegations he converted customer funds and made misrepresentations. Formerly associated with PFS Investments, he was barred from associating with FINRA broker-dealer firms.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2018060290901) dated April 2020, Albert Harkless was associated with PFS Investments from 1996 until his termination in October 2018 in connection to allegations a customer wrote him a personal check so he would purchase stock for the customer, and then “stated he does not have the stocks to deliver.” FINRA’s findings go on to state that in April 2010, Harkless solicited a customer to purchase 406 shares in a company’s IPO, for $6,100, which the customer provided to Harkless. Instead of making the investment, FINRA states, he purchased 150 shares of the company “in the aftermarket for $2,980 and converted the remaining $3,120 for personal use.” He did so without the customer’s awareness or authorization, FINRA states, and went on to erroneously tell the customer that the company’s shares were only available to employees affiliated with it, and further that “there was a five-year sale restriction on purchases” of the company’s shares, even though they were “available for purchase by the public, and freely tradeable.” FINRA states that as a result of these statements, the customer gave Harkless the $6,100 to purchase the shares and hold them in his account “for her benefit until the expiration of the purported five year holding period.” Later, in September 2018, he allegedly misrepresented to the customer that the shares in the company “could not be transferred back to her” as she was not an affiliated employee of the company, which FINRA states was false. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, which FINRA states constituted violations of FINRA Rule 2010, Harkless was barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.

Albert Harkless is currently not registered as a broker. His previous registrations include PFS Investments in Temple Hills, Maryland and Duluth, Georgia. He has passed three securities industry qualifying examinations and his BrokerCheck report lists zero state securities licenses. (Information current as of June 3, 2020.)

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