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Merrill Lynch Broker Fined and Suspended for Fraudulent Wire Transfers

John Joseph Arnold, a broker formerly employed by Newport Beach, California-based Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., submitted an Offer of Settlement in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the described sanctions and the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he falsely represented that he had verbally confirmed wire requests which turned out to be fraudulent requests from a customer’s hacked email account.

John Arnold, of San Clemente, California, falsely represented to a sales assistant and his member firm that two wire requests were verbally confirmed with the customer, when in fact, he had not spoken with the customer.  Further, and in contravention of his firm’s rules, Mr. Arnold split the wire into two separate transfers over two consecutive days to avoid obtaining a Letter of Authorization from the customer, which was required for wire requests exceeding $50,000. 

FINRA found that Mr. Arnold received another email the next day requesting a wire transfer of $170,000.  This time, Mr. Arnold called the customer to verbally verify the request.  He found out that the customer’s email account had been hacked and that none of the wire requests had come from the customer.  FINRA assessed a deferred fine of $15,000 and suspended John Arnold from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 60 days.  The suspension is in effect from July 18, 2016 through September 15, 2016.

FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from the risks associated with investing. The implementation of the rules requires supervisors to monitor their employees to ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, as well as the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures. If broker-dealers and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be held liable to account holders for investment losses which stem from their employees’ misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses due to a brokerage firm’s failure to supervise its representatives can bring forth claims to recover damages against firms, like Merrill Lynch, which have a duty to supervise employees in order to protect their customers’ interests.

Have you suffered losses in your Merrill Lynch account due to any broker 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 Merrill Lynch stockbrokers who may have engaged in misconduct and caused investors losses.

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 35 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 visit our website, www.secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at pearce@rwpearce.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.