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VALLEY FOCUS | Sherman Oaks

Financial Broker, Firm Barred Permanently

July 17, 1998|KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS

A Sherman Oaks-based securities broker has been barred from working as a broker and his firm expelled from the National Assn. of Securities Dealers after failing to respond to repeated inquiries from regulators about questionable oil and gas limited partnerships.

Sam E. Harris, most recently of Thousand Oaks, was censured, fined $20,000 and permanently barred from any association with an NASD member, according to a report on July disciplinary actions released this week by NASD Regulation Inc., which oversees all brokers and brokerage firms.

Harris' company, Questron Securities Inc., was also censured, fined $20,000 and expelled from the NASD.

Expulsion and barring are among the most severe penalties NASD Regulation can impose, and the Harris/Questron case was the only one among July disciplinary actions nationwide in which both the firm and the broker were permanently penalized.

Neither Harris, who did not appeal the sanctions, nor a representative of Questron could be reached for comment.

A hearing examiner in the case said Harris and the company failed to respond to four requests for information. The examiner's report said NASD enforcement staff "became concerned that the . . . limited partnership offerings underwritten by Questron may have been conducted improperly and the offering proceeds misused."

Securities regulators also filed a complaint against a Stevenson Ranch man who allegedly pocketed $35,000 of a client's money. Christopher John Plucinski, 23, whose phone number is no longer in service, allegedly took money that was to be invested in a growth and income fund and instead allegedly deposited it in his bank account and wrote checks on the funds, according to the complaint.

If true, such actions would not only violate NASD rules, but also constitute fraud, a spokeswoman with the Securities and Exchange Commission said. The SEC will not comment on whether it is investigating a broker or firm.

The incident allegedly took place in January 1997 while Plucinski was an independent contractor associated with H.D. Vest Investment Securities in Irving, Texas.

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