Pennsylvania Broker Targeting Police, Firefighters And Retirees Fined $200,000

A Doylestown-based investment broker has been fined $200,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. That broker, Austin Dutton, has received the largest fine ever handed down to an individual broker. Dutton has been accused of being “engaged in dishonest or unethical practices” while selling investments that were not suitable for the customer.

Dutton has signed a consent agreement agreeing to pay the state “in lieu of litigation”. In return, he will not be forced to admit guilt. During the time of the alleged actions, Dutton was working with Bridge Valley Financial Services, which was previously affiliated with the Boca Raton, Florida firm, Newbridge Securities. Just last month, Pennsylvania fined Newbridge $499,000 for failing to record investment sales for its operations in the state.

At the time, the fine was the largest the Department of Banking and Securities had ever handed down to a securities firm for a single offense. After the fine was handed down, Newbridge and Dutton parted ways with Bridge Valley Financial Services. According to Finra, Dutton has now entered into affiliation with Center Street Securities of Nashville, Tennessee.

In Finra’s record of the allegations, Dutton is accused of recommending the purchase of a security to at least one customer without reasonable groups to believe that the transaction was suitable for the customer. Despite the fine, Dutton will still be allowed to sell investments. He primarily targets Philadelphia city employees and retirees.

Dutton is known to hold promotional events for FOP and IAFF members. He also frequently runs advertisements in the state’s police union magazine. Between the years 2014 and 2016, Dutton served as the vice president of the Alternative and Direct Investment and Securities Association. Among his investment picks, Dutton has been known to invest in real estate funds associated with Nicholas Schorsch.

After Schorsch’s American Realty Capital Partners confessed to exaggerating profits 2 years ago, Nicholas has removed himself from leadership roles for several public and private entities.