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Dallas, Texas 05/30/2014 (FINANCIALSTRENDS) – A long-time Bay Area broker who had resigned from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) Advisors in 2014 January after it had launched an probe into some suspicious activity in a certain customer account has now been barred from the brokerage- industry for life. The FINRA- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, that regulates brokers & brokerage firms, has now imposed the harshest sanction on Michael Frew from Hillsborough. He had given misleading information & also refused to cooperate with the investigation that had begun in February, into whether he had accepted any loans from customers or had converted some customer funds for his personal use, said the authority.

The issue

Frew had agreed to disbarment without actually admitting/denying that he had violated the FINRA’s rules. Neither the authority nor the company would provide any details of this investigation. But the investors and the attorney who was representing them have alleged that the 66 year old Frew, had solicited literally millions of dollars from different friends, and family as well as clients that he had said would be utilized used by a real-estate developer to rehabilitate the properties in the areas that had been hit by the natural disasters.

Some also said that he had promised them interest-payments that were in the range of 10-14% per year & some had received such payments and in one case, it had been for 15 years.

The connection

However when the investors had stopped receiving the payments at different times in 2014, & had tried to contact Frew, they all were not able reach him. Cary Lapidus, a San Francisco attorney said that they are currently investigating, however, they still believe that this seems like a Ponzi scheme and there might not have been any investment in the distressed properties. Around two-thirds of the 30 people who had approached the lawyer, had accounts with Wells Advisors, which is a non- bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC).