Publicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) indicate that broker/adviser Tonya Nicole Smoake (CRD # 4985049) was recently suspended from the securities industry by FINRA’s Department of Enforcement. The sanction occurred as a result of an investigation into her participation in private securities transactions without her member firms knowledge or approval.
The Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Ms. Smoake.
Registration Background for Tonya Smoake
Ms. Smoake first became registered in the securities industry in 2007. She was most recently registered with Franklin, Lakes, NJ based Bhargava Capital (CRD # 131817) from May 2019 to September 2020. Her prior registrations include Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments (CRD # 35747) from March 2017 to May 2019, and Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD # 7691) from June 2007 to March 2017.
FINRA’s Allegations Against Tonya Smoake
According to FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) dated March 16, 2021, Ms. Smoake consented to, without either admitting to or denying, the following findings by FINRA’s Department of Enforcement:
- “Between April 2017 and January 2019, [Ms. Smoake] participated in private securities transactions involving approximately $1.6 million in total sales, without [her member] firm’s knowledge or approval”;
- “[Ms. Smoake] facilitated approximately $850,000 in investments from four investors in a registered investment advisor (the RIA), which raised capital through a securities offering pursuant to Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933”;
- “[F]rom September 2018 to January 2019, [Ms. Smoake] facilitated approximately $780,000 in investments from eight investors in the RIA’s holding company, which also raised capital through a securities offering pursuant to Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933”;
- “To facilitate the investments, [Ms. Smoake] distributed offering documents to the investors, gathered signed documents from investors, answered investor questions, and coordinated investor payments”;
- “None of the investors were [Bhargava Capital] customers”;
- “In March 2017, [Ms. Smoake] disclosed her role at the RIA to [Bhargava Capital]. However, she did not provide prior written notice to the firm of her participation in the securities offerings”;
- “In addition, in November 2017 and November 2018, [Ms. Smoake] inaccurately certified on the firm’s annual compliance questionnaires that she was not involved in any private securities transaction that had not been previously disclosed to [Bhargava Capital]”; and
- By virtue of her actions, Ms. Smoake violated FINRA Rule 3280, regarding outside business activities and FINRA Rule 2010, regarding standards of commercial honor and principles of trade.
FINRA Sanctions Tonya Smoake
As a result of such violations and in addition to the above described findings and conclusions, FINRA’s March 16, 2021 AWC also indicates that Ms. Smoake consented to the following sanction(s):
- A 12-month suspension from association with any FINRA member in all capacities; and
- A fine in the amount of $5,000.00.
Tonya Smoake Does Not Have A History of Customer Complaints
In addition to the findings of FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, FINRA BrokerCheck for Ms. Smoake reveals that she does not have a history of customer complaints and/or customer initiated arbitrations.
If you or someone you know has or had a brokerage account with Tonya Nicole Smoake and have concerns regarding losses in your investments or possible sales practice violations including fraud, you may be entitled to recover lost funds. The Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. has an extensive securities law practice and over 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Call today at (646) 792-2156 for a free consultation. The time to file your claim may be limited so you should call today to avoid delay.