The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has suspended and fined former LPL broker, Mark Lamkin, for allegedly borrowing money from a longtime friend who was also an LPL customer whose account he serviced.
According to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent issued by FINRA, on three occasions between December 2011 and August 2017, Lamkin borrowed a total of nearly $1.3 million from the client while registered through LPL.
Lamkin was a contestant from Season 4 of The Apprentice, the former reality show hosted by President Donald Trump. In a statement made on his BrokerCheck profile during the initial allegations, Lamkin stated, “I deny all of the allegations made by LPL and will contest them vigorously. These allegations have been conjured up by LPL as a subterfuge, to justify its efforts to damage my reputation and, as a result, take my customers.”
FINRA claims that the first loan, in the amount of $740,000, was made via a promissory note and signed by Lamkin’s wife and secured by a mortgage identifying Lamkin and his wife as the borrowers and signed by both. That loan has purportedly been repaid in full.
The second loan, in the amount of $250,000, was negotiated between Lamkin and the customer and memorialized by a note signed by Lamkin’s wife. The third loan for $275,000 was made to a limited liability company of which Lamkin was a member and signed by Lamkin and his business partner in the LLC. While the second and third loans have not been repaid in full, they are currently in repayment, FINRA said.
LPL prohibits its representatives from borrowing money from a customer unless the customer is a family member. FINRA claims that Lamkin did not seek prior approval from the broker-dealer and lied on two annual compliance questionnaires by affirming that he had not borrowed funds from clients.
FINRA suspended Lamkin for three months and issued a $7,500 fine.
Lamkin, who signed the AWC letter without admitting or denying the allegations, registered with FINRA in 1991 and joined LPL in 2001. He is currently registered as a general securities representative and an investment company and variable contracts products representative through Calton & Associates, Inc.
He does not have any disciplinary history with the Securities and Exchange Commission, any state securities regulators, FINRA, or any other self-regulatory organization. However, he has one pending sanction brought by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in May 2019 accusing him of “receiving compensation for broker-dealer and advisory services that he was not entitled to receive [and] commission sharing.” Lamkin has requested a hearing on the matter.