In early June 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.’s (“FINRA”) Southern Regional Director, Mitchell C. Atkins, resigned to pursue other interests. David Evansen, a former registered representative and self-proclaimed whistleblower, has taken credit for exposing Atkins’s criminal history, which supposedly lead to his resignation from FINRA. According to reports, in the spring of 2013, Evansen wrote a letter to FINRA’s Chief Executive, Richard Kethcum, and FINRA’s Executive Vice President, Susan Axelrod, claiming that Atkins was indicted in Louisiana in 1993 for using money raised in bingo games for non-charitable purposes. Moreover, it is reported that Atkins was indicted on a felony and misdemeanor charge in March 1993, and although the felony charge was dismissed, Atkins pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge. Further, upon information and belief, Atkins was sentenced in 1994 to conditional probation, 100 hours of community service, a $500 charitable contribution and a $500 fine. Although FINRA claims that Atkins resigned to pursue other interests, the timing of Evansen’s letter and the resignation are certainly interesting. According to reports, Evansen may have been motivated to send this letter to FINRA’s executives since he believed Atkins may have been mounting a huge enforcement action against him. Indeed, in August 2012, a FINRA Enforcement Hearing Panel barred Evansen from the industry for failing to respond to questions regarding customer complaints he received while registered with the broker dealer, Newbridge Securities. Evansen is appealing the bar as he claims he had not been properly notified of the inquiry and had responded to all FINRA questions in 2011. According to Evansen’s FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Evansen received seven customer complaints, of which four settled for approximately $465,000. Evansen left the industry in 2010 to work in logistical consulting.
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