SEC Seeks Sanctions for Ex-Broker, Lawyer Over Razed Recordings

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By Jennifer Bennett

The SEC is seeking sanctions after a former J.D. Nicholas & Associates Inc. broker allegedly destroyed recordings of customer calls and his attorney failed to tell the agency.

Gregory T. Dean destroyed audio recordings of customer calls after the Securities and Exchange Commission requested he hand the material over, according to the agency’s Feb. 12 sanctions memo. Dean’s attorney, Liam O’Brien, managing partner at New York-based McCormick & O’Brien LLP, never asked Dean to turn over the original device and didn’t promptly inform the SEC of the destruction, according to the memo.

Dean and another former J.D. Nicholas broker allegedly persuaded customers to excessively buy and sell stocks, generating substantial commissions for the pair, according to the SEC’s January 2017 complaint to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Dean told the SEC in a deposition he didn’t have recordings of client calls, then later destroyed a device containing the calls, according to the SEC’s filing. He allegedly gave O’Brien a disk containing some, but not all, of the recordings. O’Brien didn’t ask Dean to turn over the original device, didn’t immediately turn the disk over to the SEC, and ultimately lost the disk, the memo said.

The SEC seeks sanctions against both Dean and O’Brien, including a jury instruction that Dean destroyed evidence that would’ve been favorable to the SEC.

O’Brien didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the motion for sanctions against him and his client.

The case is SEC v. Dean , S.D.N.Y., No. 1:17-cv-00139, filing 2/12/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at

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