Former LPL Financial Corp. stockbroker Amrita Holden has been permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for wrongfully converting about $187,000 in customer funds to her own use.

While employed by LPL, Holden forged the signature of an elderly customer on distribution request forms for the customer’s Individual Retirement Account (IRA). These forms authorized the transfer of the funds to an outside bank account that Holden controlled.

Amrita Holden Reimbursed Stolen Funds & Barred

Holden has reimbursed the customer’s stolen funds, and has been permanently barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity, including clerical or administrative functions. She submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to settle the matter on the condition that FINRA would not bring any future actions against her based on the same factual findings. Holden neither admitted nor denied the findings, but they were entered into the record and FINRA accepted the AWC on Jan. 10.

According to the AWC

From April 2009 through February 2010, Holden stole $187,000 from a customer identified in the AWC only as RB. Holden forged RB’s signature on a total of nine IRA distribution request forms that transferred funds from RB’s account with LPL to Holden’s outside bank account.

Neither RB nor RB’s designated power of attorney had given Holden permission or authority to withdraw these funds. Ultimately, Holden used RB’s funds for her own personal benefit.

This behavior violated National Association of Securities Dealers Rule 2330 and FINRA Rules 2150 and 2010, according to the AWC. These rules provide that no person associated with a FINRA member shall make improper use of a customer’s securities or funds.

She also violated FINRA Rule 2010 by forging RB’s signature on the IRA distribution request forms, the AWC said. This rule requires members and brokers to observe “high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

Holden entered the securities business in August 1989, when she started working for A.G. Edwards Inc., a FINRA regulated broker-dealer, where she stayed until March 1991. She did not work in the securities industry again until February 1999, when she took a job with Prudential Securities.

In September 2002, Holden joined Citigroup Global Markets Inc., where she worked until October 2006. She then took her job with LPL, which is also FINRA regulated broker-dealer. Holden was fired by LPL in March 2010, shortly after her wrongful conversion of customer funds.

Although Holden was never previously subject to a FINRA regulatory action, public disclosure records indicated that she was involved in one customer dispute that settled and is involve in two pending customer disputes.

In 2004, when she worked for Citigroup, a customer accused Holden of the authorized sale of securities. The matter settled for about $5,000. The positions were reinstated and the total loss was credited.

Two Pending Disputes & Several Charges Against Holden

The two pending disputes were both filed last year and involve real estate transactions. The customers are alleging that Holden violated California laws, breached her fiduciary duty, and committed common law fraud and conversion, among other charges. A complaint filed in April 2011 is alleging damages of $150,000. A complaint filed in July 2011 is alleging damages of $400,000.

Guiliano Law Group

Investors suffering losses or damages from such conduct may be able to recover their investment losses. Our practice is limited to the representation of investors in claims, for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

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