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Regulatory Sanctions

FINRA Suspends Untrustworthy Broker Who Deserved to be Banned

May 24, 2017

By issuing a 6-month suspension in this case, FINRA risked letting a lying, untrustworthy broker re-enter the business. That makes no sense.


William Olsen agreed to a $10K fine and a 6-month suspension to settle FINRA charges that he provided false information to an affiliate of his member firm during the course of an internal investigation concerning his claim that certain charges on his credit card were fraudulent.


BACKGROUND.    Olsen, who resides in Newbury Park, CA, entered the securities industry in 2010. He was registered as a general securities rep with JPMorgan Securities (JPMS) from October 2012 until December 2015, at which time the firm U5’d filed a Form U5 terminating his registration. Olsen was also an employee of JPMS's bank affiliate. Olsen has not been associated with any FINRA member firm since that termination.


FINRA FINDINGS.    On or about 8/17/15, Olsen reported that several recent charges on one of his credit cards, which had been issued by a JPMS affiliate, were fraudulent because he had lost his wallet during the timeframe when the charges were incurred.


  • On or about 10/7/15, during a telephone conversation with the security division of the card issuer, Olsen claimed he had never been at the location where the charges were incurred. When informed that the credit card receipt at issue matched that of his bank signature card, Olsen claimed that someone must have forged his signature.


  • JPMS's parent company suspected that Olsen’s fraud claims were false, and so an internal investigation was initiated.


  • On or about 11/5/15, when interviewed by an investigator, Olsen changed his story and now claimed that someone must have drugged him before the disputed charges were incurred - because he had no memory of the 15-hour period during which the charges were incurred. Therefore, Olsen claimed, he could neither confirm nor deny that he made any of the disputed charges.


  • Olsen had no plausible basis for claiming that someone had drugged him. Moreover, Olsen knew that he had been at the location where the charges were incurred and that he, in fact, had authorized the charges at issue.


  • JPMS and its bank affiliate terminated Olsen in early December 2015 after concluding that both his initial fraud claim and his subsequent alternative explanations during the internal investigation were false.


FINANCIALISH TAKE-AWAYS.    Olsen comes across as a totally untrustworthy individual, and yet FINRA hit him with just a 6-month. Olsen should have been banned from the business. And the fact that he has not hooked up with another firm since JPMorgan Securities U5’d him in December 2015, is indication that he should never again work in securities.


FINRA should be taken to task for meting out such a lenient suspension. Frankly, the regulator is fortunate that Olsen isn’t for another broker-dealer. How can he ever be trusted around customers’ financial assets?


This case was reported in FINRA Disciplinary Actions for May 2017.

For details on this case, go to ...  FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online, and refer to Case #2015048316801.