By Emily Flitter
NEW YORK, June 14 A regional director for the
securities industry's self-regulatory agency resigned several
weeks after the organization received a letter revealing the
official had pleaded guilty two decades ago to charitable bingo
The letter, which was reviewed by Reuters, was sent on May
21 by former securities broker David Evansen to Richard Ketchum,
the chief executive officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority and Susan Axelrod, FINRA's executive vice president of
The four-page letter said Mitchell C. Atkins, who up until
this week was a regional director and head of FINRA's District
7, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida, was indicted in 1993
in Louisiana "for felony theft and charitable bingo fraud."
The indictment by the 19th Judicial District in East Baton
Rouge Parish was confirmed by the clerk's office for the East
Baton Rouge Parish court.
Atkins pleaded guilty in December 1993 to one charge of
charitable bingo fraud, according to a copy of court records
reviewed by Reuters.
Court records reviewed by Reuters state that Atkins was
sentenced in January 1994 to a year of probation, 100 hours of
community service and $1,000 in fines for the bingo fraud.
Atkins, 42, who resigned from FINRA earlier this week, could
not be reached for comment and FINRA declined to provide a
forwarding contact phone number for him.
Nancy Condon, a spokeswoman for FINRA, said: "Mitch Atkins
resigned to pursue other interests." She declined to comment on
Atkins' office oversees the work of brokers and brokerages
working in southern states from Florida to Texas.
FINRA oversees securities brokers and investment advisers,
maintaining a database of their registration and disciplinary
statuses and handling customer disputes. It shares regulatory
duties with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has
the power to ban brokers and registered investment advisers from
Evansen said he had been banned from the brokerage business
by FINRA. His publicly available broker's record indicated the
ban was enacted in June, 2011 after Evansen failed to respond to
a request for information. The record did not specify the nature
of the request. Evansen said he is appealing the ban.
In his letter to the FINRA executives, Evansen described a
whistleblower complaint he had filed with the SEC alleging fraud
in a Texas-based financial clearinghouse.
"It was for no small purpose, that Mr. Atkins and FINRA,
went to such lengths, to prevent the sunlight from illuminating
the truth," Evansen wrote in his letter.