Citing a "pattern of impropriety" in sales of real estate investment trusts, a Massachusetts regulator has ordered restitution from five independent broker-dealers totaling $6.1 million and has imposed a fine of $975,000. The firms involved are Ameriprise Financial Services, Commonwealth Financial Network, Lincoln Financial Advisors, Royal Alliance Associates and Securities America. The action comes after customers complained and should be seen as a warning as REIT sales draw more regulatory attention, analysts say.

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