FINRA Sanctions PFS Stockbroker For Forgery
Vitthal Mathurbmas Patel of Denville New Jersey a stockbroker formerly registered with PFS Investments Inc. has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended for six months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that Patel forged customer account documents. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018059723101 (Aug. 29, 2019).
According to the AWC, in 2018, during the time Patel was associated with PFS Investments Inc., he was made aware from the firm that some of the customers who held managed accounts with the firm would need to be transitioned into a different type of investment management arrangement. PFS Investments Inc. required that new account documentation be executed by the customers in order for them to be transitioned to the new management accounts.
The AWC stated that between January of 2018 and April of 2018, signatures of customers had been forged by Patel on twenty-six of the new account documents. FINRA revealed that one or more customers did not actually authorize transactions. The AWC indicated that customers’ signatures were also forged by Patel on other accounts documents including plan transfer forms and beneficiary change forms.
Patel was required by the firm to procure original customer signatures on documents to effect changes to their investment accounts. Nevertheless, he took steps to make it seem that the customers, not him, actually signed the documentation. The AWC stated that thirty PFS Investments Inc. customers were subject of Patel’s forgery or other misconduct. FINRA found Patel’s conduct violative of FINRA Rule 2010.
FINRA Public Disclosure additionally reveals that Patel is referenced in a customer initiated investment related arbitration complaint in which the customer requested $60,000.00 in damages founded on accusations that the customer was placed into mutual fund investments that were unsuitable given the customer’s tolerance for risk; and unwarranted losses were incurred from the products sold by Patel.
Patel was terminated from PFS Investments Inc. on August 27, 2018 based upon allegations of Patel forging customer signatures on documents to effect investment account transactions.