On-Air Advisor Dawn Bennett Stands Up SEC “On Principle”
Dawn Bennett, an independent broker and advisor for almost 30 years, is boycotting an SEC administrative proceeding accusing her of fraud, saying the process is unconstitutional.
The Washington, DC-based RIA and independent broker failed to appear before an SEC administrative law judge on Monday to explain why she flaunted herself as a mega-advisor managing $2 billion of assets when she actually had AUM of around $400 million. An SEC complaint also said she falsely characterized her Bennett Financial Group’s investment return as among the “top 1% in the world.”
Bennett, who has denied the allegations, wrote in a press release that she “affirmatively declined on principle to attend or participate in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s unconstitutional administrative proceeding” because administrative law judges are not appointed by the SEC’s commissioners.
“She has not done anything wrong,” Bennett’s attorney, Gregory Morvillo, said. “She’s just taking a stand at this point because she believes the process is unfair and the SEC has over-reached again and again and again, and someone needs to step up.”
Her argument aligns with that of other controversial financiers, such as Lynn Tilton, who has succeeded in getting the influential Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to freeze her case.
Bennett, who has achieved a modicum of renown in the DC area for hosting a radio show called “Financial Myth Busting,” has not made much progress. A U.S. District Court judge ruled against her request to bypass the administrative action, as did the administrative law judge overseeing her case and the SEC’s enforcement division. She still still has an appeal pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The SEC is proceeding with its argument before the judge, and no default judgment has been pressed against Bennett because of her absence, Morvillo said. Any decision reached in the ALJ proceedings will be appealed to the SEC, he added.