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Merrill Lynch Broker Accused of Improper Use of Customer’s Funds

Tammy C. Petersen, a former Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith Inc. (Merrill Lynch) representative, submitted an Acceptance Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to settle the alleged Rule violations, without admitting or denying the allegations made against her for improper use of a customer’s funds. Pursuant to the settlement, Ms. Petersen was permanently banned from associating with any FINRA firm.

In March 2000, Tammy C. Petersen first entered the securities industry with a National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) member firm. In July 2000, Ms. Petersen became an investment company/ variable contracts products limited representative with American Funds Distributers until May 2003. Thereafter, she became registered with Wells Fargo Advisors. In October 2010, Ms. Petersen became registered with Merrill Lynch.

In the AWC, FINRA alleged that Ms. Petersen, without the Merrill Lynch customer’s knowledge or consent, transferred approximately $48,689 from the customer’s investment account to another account that she controlled for her benefit. FINRA further alleged that Ms. Petersen facilitated a transfer of $5,000 from another Merrill Lynch customer’s account into her own bank account. According to FINRA, another transfer of $5,000 was made from a Merrill Lynch customer’s account and placed into Ms. Petersen’s account. Finally, FINRA found that Ms. Petersen facilitated another wire transfer of $48,689 from the Merrill Lynch customer’s firm account and put it into her account.

According to FINRA, all of those transactions were in violation of FINRA Rule 2150(a) which states that “no member or person associated with a member shall make improper use of a securities or funds,” and also FINRA Rule 2010, which provides that “a member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

Stockbrokers have been known to engage in many types of practices which violate industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures. In order to protect customers from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require broker-dealers like Merrill Lynch to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system. The implementation of the rules require supervisors to monitor employees to ensure they comply with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the firm, such as Merrill Lynch’s, own policies and procedures. If broker dealers and/or their supervisors do not establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages which flow from the misconduct. As a result, investors who have suffered losses because of their stockbroker’s unlawful or prohibited conduct can file a claim to recover damages against broker dealers like Merrill Lynch, which should consistently oversee its employees in order to prevent stockbroker misconduct.

Have you suffered losses in your Merrill Lynch investment account due to your stockbroker’s misconduct? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation. Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against stockbrokers for unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentations, and/or other unauthorized and illegal conduct.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed! This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 33 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities, and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, send Mr. Pearce an email at pearce@rwpearce.com, and/or visit our website at www.secatty.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.