Melissa Ann Niederhauser of Smithfield, Utah submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which she was barred for allegedly forging account statements and other documents in violation of FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010.
In August 2014, Melissa Ann Niederhauser joined Horace Mann Investors, Inc. in which she was licensed to sell insurance and perform as an office manager and administrative assistant for the firm. According to FINRA findings, between 2016 and 2017 Ms. Niederhauser withdrew $73,618.41 from two family members’ accounts who were also customers of her firm. The FINRA findings stated, Ms. Niederhauser made 13 withdrawals from one customer’s variable annuity that totaled out to $47,618.37 and 7 separate withdrawals from another customer’s variable annuity totaling $30,368.04. Ms. Niederhauser allegedly forged those customers’ signatures on the Horace Mann Annuity Surrender Withdrawal Request forms and then had the checks mailed to an address in which she could acquire them without the two customer’s knowledge. In addition, FINRA alleged that Melissa Ann Niederhauser would allegedly deposit the checks into a joint bank account with the customers and withdraw the funds for her personal use without their acknowledgment or authorization.
FINRA Rule 2150(a) provides that “[n] member of person associated with a member shall make improper use of a customer’s securities of funds.” FINRA Rule 2010 requires that associated persons, in the conduct of their business, “shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.” Conversion is an intentional and unauthorized taking of and/or exercise of ownership cover property by one who neither owns the property nor is entitled to possess it. Conversion of customer funds is a violation of FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010.
Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Melissa Ann Niederhauser was barred from association with any FINRA member firm.
Stockbrokers have been known to engage in many practices that may violate industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures. In order to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a supervisory system. The implementation of these industry rules requires supervisors to monitor their employees to ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures. If broker-dealers and/or their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages which flow from the broker’s misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses stemming from forged account statements and/or other misconduct by their broker can file claims to recover damages against broker-dealers, like Horace Mann Investors which should consistently oversee its brokers’ activities in order to prevent the above-described misconduct.
Have you suffered losses in your Horace Mann account due to forged account statements and documents by your broker? Was Melissa Ann Niederhauser your stockbroker? 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 Horace Mann stockbrokers who may have engaged in broker 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 40 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 email@example.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.