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Mikey Tanha: California Advisor Suspended by FINRA

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Beverly Hills, California broker and investment advisor Mikey Tanha (CRD# 6022108) suspended him over allegations that he participated in outside business activities without properly notifying his member firm, Merrill Lynch. Tanha was fined $15,000 and suspended from acting as a broker for 10 months as a result of these findings.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2017054650301) signed in May 2019, Mikey Tanha participated in “five outside business activities” between January 2015 and May 2017 for which he neglected to notify his member firm in advance and in writing, and additionally engaged in two private securities transactions constituting a total sale of $500,000, for which he neither provided his member firm with advance written notice nor received approval from the firm.

FINRA’s findings allege specifically that Mr. Tanha co-founded a company in April 2015 that allowed “its clients to communicate with celebrities on social media for a fee.” FINRA states that he served as the company’s treasurer, served as a board member, and “received 18%” of its stock between April 2015 and December 2016. His “responsibilities included marketing, capital raising, and working with lawyers and accountants” to incorporate the company and to pay its taxes, according to FINRA. He allegedly did not give Merrill Lynch prior written notice concerning his involvement with the company until late December 2015, when he requested the firm’s permission to engage in the activity; his request was denied, following which Mr. Tanha resigned from his treasurer position but allegedly “continued to sit on its board, hold its stock, and perform the same substantive work for it” throughout 2016 despite telling Merrill Lynch he had ceased working for the company, according to FINRA.

FINRA’s findings state further that in August 2016 Mr. Tanha co-founded another company “to facilitate the creation of a fitness center.” For a period of time he and his cofounder “jointly held a majority interest” in the company, and he participated in activities involving marketing and capital raising, allegedly without providing prior written notice to Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Tanha’s alleged outside business activities also include the sale of a life insurance policy to a friend, for which he received a commission fee of $40,000; the referral of a friend to a real estate agent, for which he received a fee of $16,000; and the introduction of a vendor to two companies involved in the production of music festivals, for which he received a fee of $12,000. According to FINRA’s findings, he did not provide prior written notice to his firm for any of these three activities or the fees he received for them. He also allegedly failed to “accurately disclose” the activities on two annual compliance forms. Mr. Tanha’s alleged private securities transactions include the solicitation of investments in the company he formed from “at least three investors, two of whom” were Merrill Lynch customers. According to FINRA, one investor bought $250,000 in the company’s stock; another bought $100,000 in its convertible debt, which were convertible into stock. He allegedly did not provide his firm with prior written notice of these activities or receive its approval. As a result of these findings, Mr. Tanha was issued a 10-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity, and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.

Mikey Tanha is not currently registered as a broker. His employment history includes Merrill Lynch in Beverly Hills, California and Northwestern Mutual Investment Services in Las Vegas, Nevada. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed five securities industry qualification examinations.

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