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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
FINRA ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Expense Report Cheaters
by Howard Haykin
In January 2019, FINRA reported disciplinary actions against 2 associated persons who submitted false expense reports. Both were barred from the industry. Here are their details.
A GENERAL SECURITIES REP AND RESEARCH ANALYST WITH ODEON CAPITAL GROUP … converted $5,000 from her member firm by deliberately submitting false claims for business expense reimbursement. From January 2017 to August 2017, the Analyst submitted approximately 50 expense reports for reimbursement in which she deliberately mischaracterized various personal expenses - mostly meals - as business-related expenses involving customers or potential customers.
- In October 2017, the Analyst was U5’d for "failing to cooperate during an internal investigation of [her] expense report submissions."
- In May 2018, the Analyst pleaded guilty in the NYS Supreme Court to a misdemeanor charge of falsifying business records by submitting fraudulent expense reports and paid $5,000 in restitution to Odeon.
- [FINRA AWC #2017055921701]
A GENERAL SECURITIES SALES SUPERVISOR WITH MERRILL LYNCH PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH … converted $1,959.80 from his member firm by submitting false expense reports. From December 2014 to November 2016, the Sales Supervisor on multiple occasions intentionally overstated the mileage expenses he incurred when visiting various Firm branch offices. Specifically: (i) for November 2015, he claimed mileage expenses of $2,268, though at least $1,355 of those expenses were fictitious; and, (ii) for October 2016, he claimed mileage expenses of $604.80, though he never actually incurred those expenses.
- In November 2016, the Sales Supervisor voluntarily resigned, while he was the subject of an internal review..
- In December 2016, Merrill Lynch U5’d the Sales Supervisor after "[t]he Firm's review determined that [he] made improper submissions of personal expenses for reimbursement."
- [FINRA AWC #2016052411501]
FINANCIALISH TAKE AWAYS. About half the associated persons who are caught cheating on expense reports end up getting barred from the industry. The other half get $5,000 fines and long-term suspensions (6 to 12 months). As noted above, cheating on expense reports is a losing proposition. Need proof? Click on any of these recent Financialish postings.
MetLife Broker Takes the Knicks to the Bank (11/19/18)
These cases were reported in FINRA Disciplinary Actions for January 2019.
For details on either case, go to ... FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online, and refer to the Respective Case Number.