The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged broker-dealer Alpine Securities Corporation, its former chief executive officer Christopher Doubek, and its current chief operations officer Joseph Walsh with engaging in a series of unauthorized securities transactions.
According to the SEC’s complaint, in May and June 2019, Alpine reportedly “seized” its retail customers’ securities without authorization or notice in an improper attempt to force customers to close their brokerage accounts. The unauthorized transactions were orchestrated by Doubek and Walsh, the regulator said.
Specifically, Doubek and Walsh allegedly caused Alpine to sell approximately $268,000 in customer securities without notice or customer approval on the basis that Alpine deemed securities valued $400 to $1500 as “worthless.”
The complaint also alleges that without authorization, the two executives caused Alpine to declare 545 customer accounts “abandoned” and transferred approximately $54 million worth of securities out of these accounts and into accounts that Alpine controlled.
Alpine eventually returned these securities to its customers, but not until it received numerous customer complaints and inquiries from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the SEC alleges.
The SEC’s complaint charges Alpine, Doubek, and Walsh with violating the antifraud provisions of various federal securities laws and seeks injunctive relief, a penny stock bar, and civil penalties.
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Alpine Securities Corporation has been registered with the SEC since 1984.