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John Thomas Founder Belesis Probed by Finra on Stock Sale

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Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Thomas Belesis, the founder of brokerage John Thomas Financial Inc., was warned by industry regulators that he may face disciplinary action over the timing of some of his company’s stock sales.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-funded watchdog, told Belesis last month it was looking into whether he sold stock owned by his firm while failing to properly execute customer orders to sell the same security, records on Finra’s website show. The regulator, which didn’t disclose the stock that was sold, fined John Thomas $275,000 in 2011 for mischaracterizing commissions as handling fees.

“If a proceeding is brought, JTF intends to vigorously contest and defend the matter,” David Pitts, a spokesman for the New York-based firm, said in an e-mailed statement.

Finra accused Belesis of using “manipulative, deceptive and/or fraudulent means to artificially inflate the price of the stock” and alleged that his firm failed to preserve records of the orders.

Belesis, who is also the brokerage’s chief executive officer, is a frequent guest on business television shows and appeared in the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” InvestmentNews reported Finra’s investigation earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zeke Faux in New York at zfaux@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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