Celebrity gets broker tangled in a FINRA investigation

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A financial broker who was sued six years ago by "Seinfeld" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is being investigated for lying on registration forms submitted to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to a regulatory disclosure.

Bambi Holzer, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based broker known for her frequent television appearances and the dozens of complaints against her by former clients, was informed of the inquiry on July 18, according to FINRA's website.

FINRA, the industry body that regulates brokers, initiated the probe, according to the disclosure. Holzer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Former clients have lodged as many as 50 complaints against Holzer over the past decade and have won more than a total of $11 million in fines and compensatory judgments against her, her broker registration shows.

Hollywood producer Ken Kragen successfully sued Holzer after she persuaded him to put his funds into what prosecutors charged was an oil-and-gas Ponzi scheme and into an insurance annuity from which his money could not be extracted until he died.

Louis-Dreyfus also sued when the broker talked her into putting money into the same type of annuity.

"She made you feel, 'Oh, I've finally found what people are doing with their money,' " Kragen said in an interview with Reuters.

The producer of the fund-raising song and album "We Are The World," Kragen said Holzer gave his family gifts, including fancy luggage, an espresso maker and a finely crafted wood box.

"The trappings were all there of this enormously successful lady," he said.

The investigation does not mean Holzer has been accused of a violation, only that it is possible FINRA will file formal charges. If it does, the broker will have the opportunity to rebut them.

Holzer is the chairman of the Wealth & Income Management Group, headquartered in Beverly Hills. According to her biography on the website, the group offers financial planning services to individual clients and "consults to corporations." It says she has appeared on NBC, CNN, CNBC, Fox and Bloomberg TV.

According to her registration record, Holzer is licensed to sell financial products to clients through Newport Coast Securities, which is based in New York.

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Newport CEO Donald A. Wojnowski Jr. said Holzer is an independent contractor. He declined to comment when asked whether she would continue her work for Newport.

A spokeswoman for Louis-Dreyfus did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The actress and Holzer eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

—By Reuters