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Michael Lessard: FINRA Bars Former Southeast Investments, Dempsey Lord Smith Advisor

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Rock Hill, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina broker and investment advisor Michael Lessard (CRD# 5968857) barred him over allegations he borrowed money from clients without approval. A former representative of Southeast Investments and Dempsey Lord Smith, Lessard was indefinitely barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm as a result of these findings.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2018058520801) signed in April 2019, Michael Lessard borrowed funds totaling $82,750 from two clients, including one senior citizen and one whom he did not repay. FINRA’s findings state that this conduct, which took place in December 2016 and April 2018, constituted violations of FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010.

FINRA’s findings state specifically that Michael Lessard took a loan of $60,000 from a senior investor at Southeast Investments, to whom he was not related, in December 2016. This loan was not documented, according to FINRA, and Lessard repaid a portion of it in December 2016 and January 2017, then repaid the balance after the customer and her accountant “confronted him in April 2018.” FINRA states that he neither notified the firm about the arrangement nor sought the firm’s approval.

The second loan, according to FINRA, took place on or around April 2018, when Lessard was a representative of Dempsey Lord Smith. FINRA states that he borrowed a sum of $22,750 from a customer to whom he was not related, through an entity under his ownership and control, Palmetto Premier Advisors. FINRA’s findings state that Lessard “signed a promissory note… that required monthly payments of $2,000 from June 1, 2018 until July 1, 2019, with a total payment of principal and interest of $24,001” However, according to FINRA, Lessard later closed the entity through which he took the loan, which he did not repay. FINRA states that he also did not notify Dempsey Lord Smith of the loan, nor receive its approval of the arrangement. According to FINRA’s findings, these activities constituted violations of FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010. As a result of the foregoing conduct, Michael Lessard was barred from association with any FINRA member firm in all capacities.

Michael Lessard is currently not registered as a broker. His employment history includes Dempsey Lord Smith in Rock Hill, South Carolina; Southeast Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina; MetLife Securities; and Northwestern Mutual Investment Services. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed four securities industry qualification examinations.

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