October 11, 2012

SEC banishes convicted Danbury stock broker

A Danbury stock broker who last month pleaded guilty to defrauding clients -- some of them fellow churchgoers -- out of at least $600,000 has been barred from the securities industry, authorities say.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday that Stephen B. Blankenship is no longer licensed to buy, sell or trade securities on customers' behalf, or any company or organization engaged in offering financial advice or services.

According to the SEC, Blankenship,63, pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to two criminal counts in connection with the alleged scheme involving his Danbury firm, Deer Hill Financial Group. His sentencing is set for Dec. 5.

Authorities say Blankenship used much of the proceeds stolen from about a dozen victims, including retirees he met at church, to pay his mortgage and other personal and business expenses.

Meantime, authorities say the Connecticut Banking Department's Securities Division has revoked licenses for both to do business in the state.

According to investigators, starting around 2002 Blankenship began persuading customers to withdraw money from brokerage accounts he managed at other securities firms and invest directly with him.

Blankenship could not be immediately reached Thursday for comment.

A phone listing for Deer Hill Financial was disconnected.

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