Securities Department Seeks Steele Stephens Fine Payment

Securities Department Seeks Steele Stephens Fine Payment

The Arkansas Securities Department on Wednesday filed a complaint against former broker Steele Stephens in Pulaski County Circuit Court, claiming he has yet to pay a fine levied against him.

The $20,000 fine was the result of the department’s case against Stephens, whose cash payments to former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner led to an FBI investigation and her conviction on bribery charges.

The department filed its first complaint against Stephens in November. He faced a fine of up to $10,000 per violation in the complaint, which also included allegations of making unsuitable trades and providing false or misleading information to the treasurer’s office.

Department attorney Scott Freydl wrote in the complaint filed Wednesday that the department held a two-day hearing in April in Stephens’ case and that Hearing Officer Jack Pruniski entered an administrative order against Stephens on May 7.

The order revoked Stephens’ registration as a securities agent in the state and levied the fine to be paid within 10 days. A copy of the order was sent to Stephens’ attorney, John D. Van Kleef, of Russellville.

Van Kleef said Wednesday that he did not know about the new complaint. He referred questions about the balance of the fine to Stephens, who could not be reached for comment.

Stephens had been registered with the state but could not work as an agent because he was not registered with a firm. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority permanently barred Stephens from acting as a broker in November 2013 after he failed to respond to requests for information.

Freydl wrote that the department has not received a payment on the fine and asked the court for an injunction ordering Stephens to pay it and to change the status of the regulatory fine to a court judgment.