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Difference between sealed/expunged record in MA

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Mar 9, 2010 9:41 pm

Has anyone had any experience with having a court record sealed and/or expunged, then having FINRA update BrokerCheck in-turn?

I have recently separated from a non-client BD but would like to get into sales/biz development and naturally, my record is preventing me from any registered sales job prospects.  My disclosure stems from a charge, not a conviction, that was dismissed and was to have come off my record a year from Dec. '08 involving a dissident group of church parishioners who called the police on, and cornered me, staging a hoax of a "trespassing-assault&battery-larceny" (larceny of _church bulletins_, from my own church.) 

It seems like a silly incident, and it is, but obviously if I walk into a church to take bulletins out, then I might start a Ponzi scheme at a hiring wirehouse.  Needless to say, all that can be done in Massachusetts is to seal court records but after reading & I realize that this might only make a prospective employer more suspicious.  Does anyone know if it would update my FINRA BrokerCheck information at all? It looks as though it can be done, esp. since this was a misdemeanor and not a felony, not to mention I never pled guilty as here:  I am wondering, though, if a letter from the court stating the case was sealed counts the same as meaning it is erased or expunged, at least in FINRA's eyes. 


Mar 9, 2010 9:43 pm

I can't give you any good advice till you tell me EXACTLY what happened with the church.

Mar 10, 2010 7:07 pm

Dear Wet Blanket,

Thanks for replying - I was there to remove some church bulletins (which I was entitled to, seeing as I am registered as a parishioner myself) which contained libel concerning my mother's former employment.  The pastor at the time did not exactly follow generally-accepted HR practices; besides firing her w/o cause, he continued to verbally malign her and other ex-employees as having stolen money from the church (referring to their awarded damages of 1-year's salary.) 

It was after all masses for Sunday were over, and I was let in the church and later surrounded/instigated by the aforementioned group.  The police, apparently going by the numbers and not my side of the story, wrote me up for larceny, not petty larceny.  Trespassing (it was going to be breaking and entering,) and assault and battery, despite noting in their report that I had passed out from their knocking me to the ground. 
The claim was not pressed by the church, but by the state, on the part of the "wronged" parishioners.

Mar 10, 2010 7:22 pm

Dear rrbd lawyer,

Thanks also for responding - my reason for posing the question in this public forum to fellow Registered Reps and those with more experience in disclosures was because I feel as though my attorney/counsel did not have an adequate enough background in securities knowledge to deflect the problem I am currently facing. 

Indeed, although my record has been 'wiped' now since Dec. '09 [the +1 year's time] my BrokerCheck contains the information, as I was required to disclose it during my last association with a firm.  Unfortunately, I was told by a FINRA Director if I had a court order expunging a conviction, I could send it along to amend the online information.  As it happens, Boston court does not furnish such letters or maybe I am not articulating myself accurately enough to produce a letter (other than my documents explaining the pre-trial diversion condition of the arrest and arraignment going away following (the) year of no other incidents.) 

My apologies on the aside, concerning Ponzi schemes.  This was a reference to the replies given to username 'Anxious' from the first link I posted, about FINRA has in the public interest a right to disclose everything, in the hypothetical case of a crooked broker once having performed an act like, say, shoplifting a candybar as a kid. 

In any event, besides my explanation at the end (including mention of the charge disappearing after one year's time) my BrokerCheck entry makes mention of the three glaring charges of trespassing, larceny and assault & battery.  Would you be able to recommend securities industry lawyers in the metro Boston area or perhaps a website with recommended professionals?

Thank you

Mar 11, 2010 5:53 pm

Dear rrbd lawyer,

Good point on using the internet for all; well-taken.  Also thanks for suggesting the local bar association.  My apologies for my continued non-legal terminology, that was not on the part of my attorney/counsel, rather, due to my own inexperience.

The Ombudsman link is certainly helpful, as well, though.  I am sure anyone else reading this thread or who has had such an issue as in this instance wouldn't think to contact them. 

Since the information on my current BrokerCheck information was entered during the pre-trial diversion period (of one year,) you have brought up a point I had not thought of.  I did pass along the official disposition to the broker-dealer to file (once they brought up the issue during my screening, I assume) but potentially it was not communicated to the appropriate parties. 

Sincere thanks for the offer and the helpful tips.