FINRA accuses broker of inappropriate trades, charging retiree $376,000

August 19, 2016 5:20 PM EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority accused a New York broker of unfairly charging a 72-year-old retiree $376,000 in fees and commissions after he made repeated unauthorized trades of her blue-chip Colgate-Palmolive Co stock.

Craig Dima, a broker at K.C. Ward Financial on Long Island, was hit with civil charges on Thursday of making unauthorized and unsuitable trades from 2010 to 2015, including selling and soon after repurchasing nearly all of the client's dividend-paying stock 11 times.

The client, whose name was withheld for privacy, had a 28-year-long career at Colgate, and held more than 7,500 shares of the company's stock. A share of Colgate stock was priced at $74.49 when the market closed on Friday.

Dima's inappropriate trades cost the client a further $127,000 in lost dividend payments she would have earned if the broker had held her stocks as she requested, and $72,000 in losses from three unauthorized trades where Dima sold her Colgate stock and repurchased it at a higher price, according to the complaint.

Dima did not respond to requests for comment.

The client's account was the largest Dima managed, and he made roughly 80 percent of his annual commissions from trades on her account, according to the complaint.

When she inquired about the unauthorized trades, Dima told her it was the result of computer glitches and human error, the complaint said.

The complaint did not charge Dima with churning, a practice in which a broker excessively buys and sells securities in a client's account to inflate commissions he or she earns.

FINRA spokeswoman Michelle Ong declined to comment on the specific charges in the complaint because the matter is in litigation.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)



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