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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
Office Manager Rifles Through Her Family’s Brokerage Accounts
by Howard Haykin
Between January 2016 and August 2017, an office manager with Horace Mann Investors, Inc., converted nearly $74,000 from the brokerage accounts of 2 family members who were out of the country. She took advantage of their absence by withdrawing the money from 2 deferred variable annuities policies through a series of 20 transactions.
Over the 20 or so months, the office manager forged her relatives’ signatures on Annuity Surrender/Withdrawal Request forms that directed Horace Mann to mail withdrawal checks to an address where the office manager had access. The office manager then retrieved and deposited the checks in a joint bank account she owned with both relatives, and later withdrew the funds for her own personal use. In order to cash the checks, she forged the endorsement signatures of both relatives.
INVESTOR TAKE AWAY. The couple in this case study were foolish or naïve to provide their relative, the office manager, with relatively unfettered access to their brokerage accounts, bank account, and incoming mail. Access to all three enabled the office manager to literally and figuratively 'take her relatives to the bank'.
[For further details, click on … FINRA Case #2019064265601.]