Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale announced Monday that his office had reached a settlement with a securities company over the actions of a former Missoula employee.
According to Rosendale’s office, FSC Securities Corp. began investigating complaints against one of its Missoula employees, Barry Hartman, in 2015. Hartman allegedly had been having clients invest in a company called Invizeon, which he also owned. In 2015, Invizeon closed and the clients lost their investments.
Hartman was fired by FSC the same year for “violation of firm policies'' for failing to disclose his participation in an outside business and other infractions.
Hartman was barred in 2015 from acting as a broker or having any dealings with a brokerage firm by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. According to the disciplinary letter FINRA issued, Hartman had not told FSC he was on the board of Invizeon when recommending to clients that they invest in the company.
Rosendale's office, in its investigation, found 12 clients who invested in Invizeon on Hartman’s recommendation, and 26 clients who were sold illiquid investments that weren’t suitable for their stated investment objectives. Another 16 clients were found to have been sold annuities that weren’t suitable for their objectives. The majority of these clients, according to Rosendale’s office, lived in Missoula.
Under the terms of the settlement, FSC will pay more than $1.3 million in restitution, which includes the initial investments plus interest. Another $1.3 million will be offered to clients who purchased the investments, and FSC will waive or refund any penalties for the purchases of the annuities.
The company also will pay a $100,000 fine, pay another $11,900 to the restitution assistance fund at Rosendale’s office, and pay for the cost of the office’s investigation.