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Rochelle Park Broker Thomas Grbelja Suspended, Fined

Former Cetera Financial Specialists broker Thomas Grbelja (CRD# 1966191) has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in connection to allegations he participated in an undisclosed outside business activity. Previously a representative at the firm’s branch office in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, Grbelja was issued a 45-day suspension and a fine of $5,000.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2019062879601) dated December 2019, Thomas Grbelja was associated with Cetera Financial Specialists as an Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Representative from October 2005 until June 2019, when the firm disclosed that he had been permitted to resign in connection to allegations he “failed to obtain pre-approval from member firm prior to participating in an Outside Business Activity.” FINRA’s findings state specifically that in February 2018, he “became an independent director of a publicly traded” company, for which he received “5,666,667 shares of the company’s stock between February 2018 and March 2019.” FINRA states that he did not disclose his participation in the company to his firm until May 29, 2018, when he submitted an outside business disclosure form that listed the start date of his involvement with the company as June 1, 2018. He additionally disclosed to the firm “that he had been granted stock, and would continue to receive stock” for a period of five years. The firm denied him permission to engage in the outside activity on June 22, 2018, according to FINRA, which states that he “nonetheless continued to serve as a director.” When the firm learned of his continued involvement in June 2019, according to FINRA, he resigned from the firm. FINRA found that these activities constituted violations of FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, he was issued a 45-day suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Thomas Grbelja is currently not registered as a broker. His previous registrations include Cetera Financial Specialists and CJM Planning Corporation. He has passed two securities industry qualifying examinations and his BrokerCheck report lists zero state securities licenses. (Information current as of May 13, 2020.)

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