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Ex-BB&T rep suspended for secretly selling shares in pot-growing equipment maker

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A former BB&T broker who allegedly tried to make money on the side by selling shares in a marijuana-growing equipment manufacturer was suspended last week for eight months and fined $10,000, according to a settlement the broker reached with FINRA.

FINRA claimed that Mark Schklar, formerly with BB&T Securities in Richmond, Virginia, recommended and facilitated the sale of the shares without first notifying and getting approval from his firm, as required for all private securities transactions.
The rep allegedly sold eight million shares totaling $285,250 to four investors from February 2013 to January 2015.

FINRA also scolded Schklar for lending $80,000 to a customer, again without notifying or obtaining approval from BB&T, and for misrepresenting on his annual compliance questionnaire that he had not borrowed or lent money to a customer, when in fact he had.

"BB&T's policies and procedures prohibited registered representatives from lending money to firm customers except under narrow circumstances not present here," FINRA alleged in the settlement.

Schklar could not be reached. His attorney, Robert Bursky of Melville, New York, was unable to contact him in time to comment.

In his settlement with FINRA, Schklar neither admitted nor denied the charges but consented to an entry of the regulator's findings.

"BB&T Securities was not made aware of and did not give approval for the transactions outlined in this recent FINRA action," said Brian Davis, a spokesman for BB&T. "The best interest of our clients has always been, and continues to be, our No. 1 priority."

Schklar worked for BB&T Securities from January 2013 to January 2015, according to BrokerCheck records.

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