January 29, 2013

FINRA Fines, Suspends St. Pete Beach, Florida Registered Principal Chip Mason, and Oceanside, California Registered Representative Darren Duane Gibson

Charles Tuttle Mason aka Chip Mason (CRD #2206257, Registered Principal, St. Pete
Beach, Florida) and Darren Duane Gibson (CRD #2311950, Registered Representative, Oceanside, California) submitted an Offer of Settlement in which they were each fined
$5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for
three months. See FINRA Case #2011026598101. Mason's suspension is in effect from November 19, 2012, through February 18, 2013. Gibson's suspension is in effect from November 19, 2012, through February 18, 2013.

Mason was employed by and registered with Newport Coast Securities, Inc., from February 2012 through August 2012. Mason previously was employed by First Star Securities Corp. and Provident Asset Management. Gibson was employed by and registered with Newport Coast Securities, Inc., from July 2011 through December 2011. Gibson previously was employed by Empire Securities Corp., and Provident Asset Management.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Mason and Gibson consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that while employed as wholesalers at their member firm, they were responsible for promoting a non-registered entity's offerings to retail broker-dealers, through sales presentations and providing marketing materials to registered representatives. The findings stated that Gibson, through his wholesaling efforts related to the entity's offerings, secured selling agreements from retail broker-dealers, who in turn raised more than $300 million from investors and earned $2,930,000. The findings also stated that Mason, through his wholesaling efforts related to the entity's offerings, secured selling agreements from broker-dealers, who in turn raised more than $132 million from investors and earned approximately $1,500,000.

The findings also included that Mason and Gibson assisted the retail broker-dealers with product training by providing sales and marketing materials designed to encourage individual investors to purchase the offerings. Mason and Gibson read most of the third-party due diligence reports regarding the offerings. Several of the reports raised concerns about the accounting of inter-offering transactions and the ability of the offerings to generate sufficient revenue from oil and gas investments. Mason and Gibson, though aware of the concerns raised in the due diligence reports, continued to market the offerings without having adequately investigated the subject concerns and determining for themselves whether the offerings were appropriate to be recommended to investors.

If you were a victim of this scheme, please contact Sonn|Erez to explore your legal options. Sonn|Erez is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies. To learn more, please call us at 866-372-8311 or complete our "contact form."