FINRA has initiated a disciplinary proceeding against a former JP Morgan registered rep who the regulator claims tried to bilk bank customers.
In a formal complaint filed last month, FINRA's Enforcement Department alleges that Jonathan A. Francis issued ATM cards for seven bank customer accounts without the customers' knowledge or consent. Indeed, six of the seven customers were dead, FINRA said.
According to FINRA's complaint, the cards were used by unknown individuals to withdraw approximately $210,000 from the accounts in which the cards were issued. FINRA alleges that Francis issued and distributed the cards as part of a scheme to steal customer funds.
The ATM cards were issued between August 2012 and September 2013, FINRA said.
Francis could not be reached for comment. He did not respond to an email sent to him via BrightScope Advisor Pages, an online directory for financial advisors.
Francis worked for JP Morgan Chase Bank as a relationship banker and was registered with JP Morgan Securities in Brooklyn, N.Y. He resigned from JP Morgan in October of 2013 shortly after the bank began an investigation into his conduct, according to FINRA's complaint.
Francis failed to cooperate fully with the regulator's investigation, refusing to provide all the documents and information FINRA requested. He also failed to appear for a follow-up to his initial sworn testimony on March 11, 2014.
Since FINRA was unable to complete its investigation, the case will go before a FINRA hearing panel to determine whether Francis personally converted bank customer funds. A date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled, Michelle Ong, a spokesperson for FINRA said.
Francis could face a number of monetary and other sanctions, including being barred from the brokerage industry.
Mike Fusco, a spokesperson for Chase Private Client, the banking unit of JP Morgan Chase where Francis worked, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
FINRA's complaint is the latest in a series of actions against representatives registered with JP Morgan Securities who misused their authority to issue ATM cards. Earlier this month the regulator barred James M. Katayanagi for allegedly withdrawing more than $14,000 from eight bank customers. In August, it banned Nancy Sue Hogan for using ATM and credit cards to withdraw money in an undisclosed amount from customer accounts. In June, Anthony Clive Lazarus, a rep registered with Chase Investment Services, got the boot for making unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling more than $9,000 from an elderly customer's account, among other misdeeds. And in May, it barred Kirk Eric Archibald and Michael Lingfeng Zheng for using debit and unauthorized ATM cards to steal money from customers.
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