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FINRA sanctions ex-SunTrust broker for allegedly faking scores of customer signatures

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FINRA has suspended a former SunTrust broker for three months for allegedly falsifying customer signatures on more than 70 forms, according to his recent settlement with the regulator.

Matthew Alan Morris cut and pasted or traced the signatures of 16 customers on brokerage and IRA account applications, life insurance and annuity replacement forms, and other documents, causing SunTrust to create and maintain inaccurate books and records, FINRA claimed.
He allegedly falsified the signatures to complete the sale of fixed and variable annuities and other transactions.

Although the transactions were all authorized, none of the customers had given Morris permission to cut and paste or trace their signatures onto the forms, FINRA said.

The signature falsifications occurred between 2015 and 2017.

Morris, who could not be reached for comment, agreed to the three-month suspension and a $5,000 fine without admitting or denying FINRA’s allegations. His attorney, James Cosby of Virginia law firm Vandeventer Black, did not respond to an email seeking comment on the sanctions.

Morris worked for SunTrust Investment Services in Atlanta from September 2014 to March 2017, when he was discharged for the alleged customer signature falsifications.

Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust, declined to comment on the matter.

Morris joins at least one other bank rep sanctioned in the past year for faking customer signatures. Sandra Jayne McCabe, a former Wells Fargo broker, was suspended last August for three months and fined $5,000 for allegedly photocopying, and in some cases altering, previously signed customer forms and then submitting them as original and authentic to her firm.

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