he Securities and Exchange Commission announced that a federal judge in Massachusetts entered a final judgment on March 14, 2012 ordering defendant James J. Konaxis, formerly a registered representative of Beverly-based broker-dealer Sentinel Securities, Inc., to disgorge more than $483,000 in commissions earned over a two-year period by defrauding a former customer who was left widowed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Together with prejudgment interested and a civil penalty, Konaxis has been ordered to pay a total of $514,954. In granting the Commission’s motion for monetary remedies, Judge Denise L. Casper found that Konaxis was liable in the amount of all commissions earned from three of the victim’s accounts over a two-year period because he “misled the victim into thinking her investments were safe, while churning (e.g., excessively trading) her funds in a manner contrary to her interests[.]”
According to the Commission’s complaint, Konaxis violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder by excessively trading his customer’s funds while knowingly or recklessly disregarding her interests. During a two-year period, the Commission alleges that the value of his customer’s accounts (funded by payments made to the victim and her family by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund) decreased from approximately $3.7 million to approximately $1.6 million, much of which was due to Konaxis’s investments and the resulting commissions paid to Konaxis.