Kirsten Flynn Hawkins, a registered representative with SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., was permanently barred by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to provide information and documentation in connection with an investigation into allegations that Hawkins stole funds from her firm’s customer. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 20149437894 (Mar. 23, 2015).

According to the AWC, on January 29, 2015, FINRA requested that Hawkins provide information and documentation in reference to the investigation into her misconduct, pursuant to Rule 8210. The AWC noted that Hawkins’ attorney responded to FINRA’s staff on February 3, 2015, indicated that while Hawkins’ received the request, she would not be providing any information and documentation to FINRA at any point. FINRA found that Hawkins’ conduct was violative of Rule 8210 and 2010, leading to her permanent bar.

FINRA registered representatives like Hawkins who do not cooperate with FINRA’s investigations often face a permanent bar from practicing in the securities industry as such lack of cooperation violates FINRA’s Rule 8210 – requiring that no member or person shall fail to provide information or testimony or permit an inspection and copying of books, records, or accounts pursuant to the rule. FINRA typically accompanies a Rule 8210 violation with a Rule 2010 violation when individuals, according to FINRA, do not appear to observe high standards for commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

Public disclosure records via FINRA’s BrokerCheck reveal that Hawkins has been subject to five disclosure incidents. On February 22, 2011, Hawkins was subject to a bankruptcy. On November 13, 2014, Hawkins settled a customer dispute for $500,802.15 after the customer alleged that Hawkins used a client’s funds for personal use.

On January 16, 2015, Hawkins pled guilty to three counts of felony wire fraud. On May 5, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia reported that Hawkins was sentenced to forty-one months of federal incarceration and ordered to pay $472,000 in restitution. The United States Attorney’s Office reported that Hawkins devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money through false promises and representations. Hawkins, from 2011 – 2014, reportedly caused money to be transferred from bank and investment accounts of the victim to Hawkins’ personal accounts. Hawkins, according to the United States Attorney’s Office, used the funds to pay for living expenses, travel, jewelry, clothing, etc.

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.

Guiliano Law Group

If you have been the victim of securities fraud and you have a complaint, you should consult with an attorney. The practice of Nicholas J. Guiliano, Esquire, and The Guiliano Law Group, P.C., 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 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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