Paul Betenbaugh, a California broker for the investment company Edward Jones, has been fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for posing as a competitor and posting internet ads soliciting men for sex, Bloomberg News reports.
The man targeted, Dalas Gundersen, 52, claims the ads, posted on Craigslist in 2015, were part of a campaign to “harass, intimidate, and defame” him by a rival financial planner. The ads included Gundersen’s cell phone and led to unwanted calls and explicit text messages.
This news comes as legislators are considering new laws to address cyberbullying and the related issue of revenge porn. However, most stories of cyberbullying have centered on the experiences of women and teens, and reports of these incidents are unusual in professional contexts.
“The harassment was not coming from college kids,” Gundersen’s lawyer John Garner told the Sacramento Bee. “These were seasoned professionals.”
Betenbaugh was fired by Edward Jones in February 2016. And according to reports, Gundersen has spent the last several years embroiled in lawsuits to clear his name.
“The only thing I have is my reputation — my whole business is predicated on the idea that people can trust me,” Gundersen told the Sacramento Bee. “To have this professional pall cast over me — it’s been a real fight.”
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