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George Merhoff: FINRA Bars Klamath Falls Financial Advisor

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Klamath Falls, Oregon broker and investment advisor George Merhoff (CRD# 2918171) barred him after finding he failed to provide information connected with its review, among other things, of alleged undisclosed payments to customers. A former representative of Cetera Advisors, Merhoff was barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2018057331001) dated June 2019, FINRA sent George Merhoff a request on April 19, 2019 to provide documents and information connected to its review of his “issuance of consolidated account reports to customers and his making of undisclosed payments to customers.” FINRA requested a response by May 3, 2019, and states that Merhoff requested via counsel an extension until May 10, 2019, though he did not provide the requested documents and information by that date. According to the AWC letter, Merhoff indicated to FINRA through counsel that he would not respond to FINRA’s request. FINRA found this refusal to constitute violations of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, George Merhoff was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.

George Merhoff’s disclosure records also list 21 customer complaints against him that reached settlements and 12 customer complaints that remain pending.

A 2017 complaint alleged that as a representative of Cetera Advisors, George Merhoff acted negligently, breached his fiduciary duty, breached contract, and violated Oregon Securities law. The complaint reached a settlement of $155,000.

A 2016 complaint alleged that as a representative of Cetera Advisors, George Merhoff breached his fiduciary duty, acted negligently, and violated state securities law. The complaint reached a settlement in 2017 of $2.9 million.

A 2016 2016 complaint alleged that as a representative of Cetera Advisors, he recommended unsuitable investments that performed poorly. The complaint reached a settlement of $290,000.

George Merhoff is currently not registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes Cetera Advisors in Klamath Falls, Oregon; Pacific West Securities in Klamath Falls, Oregon; and AAG Securities in Cincinnati, Ohio. He currently holds zero state licenses and has passed six securities industry qualification examinations.

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