SEC Judge Bars Investment Advisor from Industry

Sherwin Brown, who is currently appealing a ruling in federal court that required he and his company to pay civil penalties, has been banned from working in the securities industry by an SEC judge.

An order from a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) judge on Monday bars investment advisor Sherwin Brown from the industry and revokes the registration of his company, Jamerica Financial, Inc.

The order, which was issued by an SEC administrative law judge, states that Brown is president and majority owner of Jamerica Financial. He grew up in “dire poverty” in Jamaica and became a U.S. citizen in 1988, at which time he entered the securities business. Brown was a resident of St. Paul during the matters involved in the proceedings, but currently resides in Florida.

The SEC filed a suit against Brown in 2006, alleging that his wrongdoing commenced in 2004, when he started private investment firm Brawta Ventures, LLC.

Between 2004 and 2006, about 53 people invested $1.62 million in Brawta-and approximately $870,000 was transferred out of the account for non-investment purchases such as payments to a lawn-care service, electronics stores, and a personal loan to Brown, according to the SEC.

Brown is currently appealing a federal ruling from May, which enjoined him from violating antifraud and recordkeeping securities laws. He and his company were required to pay $480,000 in civil penalties, as well as hand over $869,633 in ill-gotten funds plus $226,380 in interest.

Brown has argued that the depletion of his funds hampered his defense in the case against the SEC, and he alleges that the SEC used “dirty tricks” in its prosecution, according to court documents. He asserts that he was singled out as a black, small-business owner, and the proceedings should be dismissed.

SEC Judge Carol Fox Foelak's order described Brown's actions as “egregious and recurrent,” and states that his wrongdoing continued for two years-concluding only when the SEC commenced its investigation and sued him.

Brown has been enjoined from engaging in any conduct connected with the purchase or sale of securities and has been barred from acting as an investment advisor.