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Joseph Crespi: Stifel Fined $2.5mm over Alleged “Predatory” Sales
The Massachusetts Secretary of State recently announced a $2.5 million fine against broker-dealer Stifel Nicolaus & Company in connection with findings that the firm overlooked red flags of “predatory sales practices” by former Taunton, Massachusetts representative Joseph Crespi. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that Crespi (CRD# 1110919) is not currently registered as a broker or an investment advisor, having voluntarily resigned from Ameriprise Financial Services in November 2022.
According to a news release by Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin’s office, Crespi “subjected many of his clients to predatory sales practices over several years, leading to higher commission sales for himself and his employer.” His alleged conduct included making transactions that his clients may not have authorized, “including at least one instance that involved a trade made in a deceased client’s account,” and alleged efforts to conceal his actions. The alleged targets of his practices included “elderly Massachusetts residents, non-profit organizations, and churches,” per the news release. As for Stifel, the Secretary of State’s office alleged that the firm was aware of Crespi’s conduct for several year, ignoring “repeated warnings by Crespi’s own branch manager” and failing to “discipline Crespi or take any meaningful actions to correct his behavior.” The firm was issued a fine of $2.5 million and ordered to pay restitution of more than $700,000.
Mr. Crespi’s FINRA-maintained BrokerCheck report discloses several denied customer complaints against him, as well as his 2022 departure from Ameriprise Financial Services. The disclosure states that he voluntarily resigned from the firm “after notification that he was suspended pending an internal review of his conduct related to acting outside the scope of his duties.”
The most recent investor complaint, filed in 2015, alleged that as a representative of Merrill Lynch, he engaged in unauthorized trading from May 2013 until October 2015. The complaint alleged unspecified damages and was denied by the firm. An earlier complaint, filed in 2001, alleged that the customer “had not agreed” to a stock purchase. This complaint also alleged unspecified damages and was denied by the firm, AdVest. A third complaint, filed in 2001, alleged that the investments in the account “were not keeping with her wishes” and was also denied by AdVest.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Joseph Crespi holds 39 years of securities industry experience. Most recently based in Taunton, Massachusetts, he was registered as a broker with Ameriprise Financial Services from 2018 until 2022. His registration history includes Stifel Nicolaus & Company (Taunton, Massachusetts; 2018-2022), Merrill Lynch (Taunton, Massachusetts; 2006-2018), AdVest (1985-2006), and Burgess & Leith (1983-1985). His credentials include the passage of seven securities industry qualifying exams: the General Securities Sales Supervisor Examination (Options Module & General Module), or Series 8; the General Securities Sales Supervisor – Options Module Examination, or Series 9; the Registered Options Principal Examination, or Series 4; the General Securities Sales Supervisor – General Module Examination, or Series 10; the General Securities Representative Examination, or Series 7; the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, or SIE; and the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, or Series 63. He is currently not licensed with any state or firm. (Information current as of May 2, 2023.)
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