FINRA found that in 2012, Hudson Valley, acting through Gillis, used the firm's Average Price Account to improperly day trade millions of dollars of stock. Gillis then manipulated the share prices of these stocks and withdrew the proceeds of his day trading through accounts he controlled. When Gillis' fraudulent trading caused significant losses in the firm's account, he covered those losses by making unauthorized trades involving customer accounts. Gillis purchased thousands of shares of securities in the open market in the firm's account and allocated these shares to customers at markups between 177% and 280%. Gillis also converted a customer's funds to pay for an unauthorized stock purchase and caused another customer to sustain a loss of approximately $400,000. When confronted about unauthorized trades that occurred in their accounts, Gillis lied to two customers about the transactions to hide his misconduct, and lied to FINRA staff during sworn testimony.
Cameron Funkhouser, Executive Vice President of FINRA's Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence, said, 'FINRA strives to quickly address egregious broker misconduct. In this instance, FINRA fully investigated Mr. Gillis and Hudson Valley Capital Management within weeks of Gillis perpetrating his fraudulent scheme, and obtained evidence that led to the disciplinary action announced today'.
Hudson Valley failed to supervise Gillis' trading activities at the firm; thus, Gillis was able to conduct his fraudulent trading scheme without restriction. Gillis' scheme caused a net capital deficiency for Hudson Valley in excess of $350,000.