WASHINGTON -- The National Association of Securities Dealers announced yesterday that it has suspended Utah municipal dealer Bagley Securities Inc. for six months and fined two top officials of the firm $123,000 for charging excessive markups on municipal bonds.
Edward Bagley and Thomas Holloway sold municipal securities to retail customers at markups ranging from 5.8% to 46.6% over prevailing market prices and then failed to inform buyers, the NASD board of governors said. The board was ruling on an appeal of a decision by one of its districts.
The board fined Mr. Holloway $98,000 and barred him from associating with any member of the NASD in any capacity. It fined Mr. Bagley $25,000 and barred him from acting as an official of any NASD member. Neither Mr. Holloway nor Mr. Bagley could be reached for comment yesterday.
In other actions, the NASD announced a settlement with Mississippi broker Horace Burford of charges that Mr. Burford conducted a scheme of "adjusted trading" in municipal bonds.
Under such a scheme, a broker sells bonds at an inflated price to a friend in another firm with the understanding that the friend will sell them back after the quarter ends. "It's a fancy way of cooking the books," said one industry observer, who asked not to be identified.
Mr. Burford, who neither admit nor denied the allegations of adjusted trading with a bank and two securities firms, was fined $10,000 and suspended from the business for three weeks. He was unavailable for comment.
The NASD also fined Louisiana broker John Griffith $50,000 and barred him indefinitely from associating with any NASD member in connection with a variety of alleged improprieties, some in government securities trading. The association said Mr. Griffith inaccurately represented to customers the yields and maturities of securities he sold to them and sent them false statements about those trades.
The association also charged that Sacks Investment Co. in Novato, Calif., sold municipal securities without having first registered with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and without having a municipal securities "principal" -- an official who passes a qualifying exam developed by the MSRB and administered by the NASD.
The NASD said the firm, acting through official Richard Sacks, also sold securities with excessive markups ranging from 17% to 220%. The group's board of governors fined the firm and Mr. Sacks roughtly $170,000 and barred Mr. Sacks from associating with any NASD member idefinitely.
Georgia broker Michael Bagnulo was fined $7,500 and suspended from associating with any NASD member for 10 business days for allegedly recommending unsuitable municipal bonds and bond funds to a customer. Mr. Bagnulo did not admit or deny the allegations, as part of the settlement with the NASD.
Mr. Bagnulo said in a telephone interview that he had no comment on the NASD action.