Peoples Securities Broker Caught Stealing From People
Tricia Denise Willis, a registered representative with People’s Securities, Inc., was permanently barred from association with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity after consenting to findings that she converted funds from a customer of her firm and forged a customer’s signature without authorization. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 20130392989 (Mar. 2, 2015). Public disclosure records reveal that People’s Securities, Inc., had discharged Willis on November 1, 2013, in connection with the aforementioned conduct.
According to the AWC, on May 13, 2013, at a time when Willis was acting in the capacity of teller and manager at People’s Bank, Willis had solicited a personal loan from a customer of her bank who was also Willis’ friend. Willis, according to the AWC, requested permission from her customer to take funds from a home equity line of credit that the customer had maintained at the bank. The AWC stated that while the customer had approved of lending $2,500.00 to Willis, there was no authorization for Willis to sign any documents in the customer’s name.
The AWC further indicated that from May 13, 2013 – July 3, 2013, Willis had withdrawn $2,500.00 from the home equity line of credit by forging the customer’s name on four withdraw slips and subsequently processing them at Willis’ teller window. The AWC noted that from May – October 2013, Willis had withdrawn an additional $17,400 from the customer’s home equity line of credit without the customer’s authorization utilizing the twenty eight withdraw slips. Willis reportedly signed at least twenty-four withdrawal slips without the customers’ authorization.
FINRA found that by signing the customers’ name on twenty eight withdraw slips without authorization from her customer, Willis engaged in forgery in violation of Rule 2010. FINRA also found that Willis’ conduct of withdrawing $17,400 from the customer without the customer’s authorization for personal use amounted to conversion, which violated Rule 2010 as well.
Firms and individuals, not surprisingly, are prohibited from unauthorized use of customer funds, borrowing of a customer’s securities or funds, forgery, non-disclosures or misstatements of material facts, and various deceptions and manipulations. Such conduct can also be found to violate criminal and other civil laws, and be subject to sanction from the federal and state government bodies.
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