Bryon Martinsen (Bryon Edwin Martinsen CRD# 1621649) is a currently registered broker and investment advisor employed with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (CRD #30833) of Kings Park, NY. Martinsen previously worked for AXA Advisors, LLC and The Equitable Life Assurance Society Of The United States, in New York, NY. He has worked in the industry since 1987.
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Bryon Martinsen Alleged To Have Sold The Parking REIT
One of the investments Martinsen and other Centaurus Financial brokers are alleged to have sold clients is The Parking REIT. The Parking REIT was created in 2017 with the merger of MVP REIT and MVP REIT II. The investment is illiquid, but attractive because of the dividend it paid. In 2018, the REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) stopped paying dividends, and its value has gone down significantly.
Many brokers have been accused of selling REITS without disclosing all of the risks. Untraded REITS are particularly risky, and often only suitable for sophisticated investors seeking such risks. However, REITS often pay the brokerage firms and brokers high dividends, which can incentivize them to misrepresent the risks and sell an unsuitable investment.
Multiple customer disputes against Martinsen allege unsuitable investments and/or misrepresentation. Brokers are required by FINRA to have a reasonable basis to believe that an investment is suitable for their customer based on knowledge of the investor. Investors with losses due to unsuitability and misrepresentation may be able to recover losses through FINRA arbitration.
His most recent disclosure was filed on 8/19/2022, A FINRA disciplinary action which includes a 15-month suspension and a $10,000 fine. That suspension ends on 12/18/2023. At issue are private securities transactions, or PST, related to his recommendations to clients for alternative investments. These investments were primarily REITS.
Not only did Martinsen sell the illiquid investments, but he also worked to assist customers who wanted to sell their REITs. Martinsen introduced the sellers with customers who were interested in buying the alternative investments as well as purchasing them himself. He also assisted with the paperwork to facilitate the transactions. However, Martinsen received no commissions or other forms of compensation for these sales even though they totaled $1,100,000.
From August 2014 through February 2021, Martinsen paid 38 of his payments totaling $400,000. These payments were to personally compensate his customers for their losses related to Martinsen’s investment recommendations. Martinsen was then sharing in his customers’ losses, which is prohibited by FINRA Rules 2150(c) and 2010.
These private transactions were outside of his scope of employment at Centaurus Financial, and he never mentioned any of these transactions to the firm. He also failed to disclose these transactions on his yearly compliance questionnaire.
Bryon Martinsen’s Other Disclosures
Martinsen’s publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report lists 14 disclosures, which also includes 11 customer disputes, 1 judgement/lien, and 1 employment separation after allegations:
December, 2021: a customer alleged Martinsen “overconcentrated” the customer’s account in illiquid investments.
October, 2020: a customer alleges that from November 2007 through October 2020, Martinsen invested their account in “unsuitable, high-risk, illiquid investments.” The customer is requesting damages of $3 million. This case is listed as “pending.”
April, 2020: a customer alleged that from 2013 through April 2020, Martinsen concentrated their accounts into investments that were unsuitable. The client requested damages of $5 million, and the case was settled for $985,000.00.
April, 2019: A customer alleged that Martinsen recommended unsuitable investments and other allegations from 2009 through 2018. $1,700,000 in damages are requested, and the claim was settled for $217,818.19.
February, 2019: A customer alleged that Martinsen recommended unsuitable investments and other allegations from 2009 through 2015. $127,000 in damages were requested, and the case settled for $25,000.
June, 2018: A customer alleged “unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and omission of material risks, in connection with the sale of various investments.” $231,244 in damages were requested, and the case settled for $10,000.
July, 2016: A customer alleged that the “firm allowed products to be sold that were both unsuitable and not fully reviewed during the due diligence process.” $1,787,000 in damages were requested, but the claim was withdrawn.
September, 2014: A customer’s allegations included “breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, omissions of material information, self-dealing and selling away pertaining to the investments purchased from 2005 to 2007.” $10,000 in damages were requested, and the claim was closed with no action.
September, 2014: A customer’s allegations included “breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, negligence, misrepresentation/omissions, and negligence/breach of industry rules pertaining to the purchases of non-traded real estate investment trusts, the leasing equipment funds and private placements purchased between 2005 and 2009.” $87,500 in damages were requested, and the claim was settled.
Martinsen denies wrongdoing in all the customer disputes.
June, 2009: A $26,823 judgment appears on Martinsen’s record related to an automobile that Martinsen says was “voluntarily repossessed.”
June, 2007: A customer alleged they were sold “unsuitable variable annuities and mutual funds products, that were not fully explained.” The case was settled for $7,227.
September, 2005: A customer alleged that Martinsen helped her research and decide to purchase a viatical settlement that caused losses. $120,428 in damages were requested, and the case was settled for $50,000.
September, 1999: Martinsen was discharged from AXA Advisors for allegedly engaging in outside business activities that he had previously been advised to cease and desist.
Recovering Centaurus, Bryon Martinsen, Or REIT Losses
Customers of FINRA-registered firms, such as Centaurus Financial, are required to resolve disputes through FINRA’s arbitration and mediation forum. Arbitration panels can award anything a court can, and awards are not easily overturned.
If you or someone you know has investment losses with Bryon Martinsen, Centaurus, or The Parking REIT, contact Silver Law Group for a no-cost consultation. Our lawyers represent investors in securities and investment fraud cases, and are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide. Most cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t any pay legal fees unless we recover money for you. Call us toll free at 800-975-4345, or use our online contact form.