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Ralph Von Lutzow: FINRA Bars Former Oberweis Advisor; Loan Allegations

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Sarasota, Florida broker Ralph Von Lutzow (CRD# 455680) barred him over allegations accepted unapproved loans from a firm customer and participated in private securities transactions. A former representative of Oberweis Securities, Von Lutzow 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. 2017055306401) dated December 2018, Ralph Von Lutzow was associated with Oberweis Securities when, between October 2012 and January 2014, he took six loans totaling $32,000 from “a senior investor and Oberweis customer” for which he did not receive the firm’s prior written approval. FINRA’s findings state specifically that the customer was 81-years-old in October 2012, and that the firm at the time lacked written procedures “allowing the borrowing and lending of money between its registered representatives and its customers.” The findings go on to state that Von Lutzow did not acknowledge on three annual firm compliance questionnaires that he borrowed money from a customer.

According to FINRA, Ralph Von Lutzow also participated in private securities transactions between July 2013 and April 2014 in which he facilitated the investments of a customer—the same customer from whom he allegedly took the loans—in one million shares of stock in Reven Pharmaceuticals, as well as 4.2 million in the company’s convertible notes and $1.25 million in Reven stock options valued at $2.55 million. FINRA’s findings state that he received selling compensation connected with these investments totaling 1,155,000 shares in the company and $12,500 in cash.

FINRA notes that Oberweis Securities “did not offer Reven shares, Reven stock options, or Reven convertible notes.” It states as well that Von Lutzow did not provide the firm with prior written notice detailing the customer’s “proposed investments in Reven, [his] proposed role in the transactions, and that he received or might receive selling compensation.” Nor did he receive the firm’s approval to engage in the private securities transactions, according to FINRA.

As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, Ralph Von Lutzow was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities.

Ralph Von Lutzow is not currently registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes Oberweis Securities in Sarasota, Florida, Rosenthal Collins Securities, Dean Witter Reynolds, Smith Barney, Lehman Brothers, Prudential Securities, Dean Witter & Company, McCormick & Company, and EF Hutton & Company. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed nine securities industry qualification examinations.

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