FINRA ejected a former J.P. Morgan Securities registered rep from the industry this month for allegedly forging a customer's signature on bank withdrawal slips, a move that allowed the customer's sister to steal $3,900 from the customer's account.
According to FINRA's filing, Jamal Romero forged the bank customer's signature on at least three occasions between February and April of 2012. As a result of the forgeries, the customer's sister was able to misappropriate the money, FINRA said.
Romero was dismissed from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, where he was employed as a personal banker, in September of 2013. According to BrokerCheck, Romero admitted to "allowing [an] unauthorized third party to be added to a bank customer's account, which allowed the third party to make unauthorized withdrawals."
Romero did not respond to an email sent to him via BrightScope Advisor Pages, an online directory for financial advisors, seeking comment. In his settlement with FINRA, Romero neither admitted nor denied the charges but consented to an entry of the regulator's findings.
BUSINESS VENTURE LEADS TO SUSPENSION
In addition to banning Romero, FINRA suspended and fined two other registered reps this month for relatively minor infractions. Nnamdi Ejiogu, a former Los Angeles rep who resigned from J.P. Morgan Securities in October of 2013, was suspended from the industry for one month and fined $5,000 for launching a business without securing J.P. Morgan Securities' approval.
According to FINRA, Ejiogu and two other reps formed a company in June of 2013 to develop a mobile phone application that would create a social network for live entertainment events. As chief operating officer and part owner of the venture, Ejiogu violated a rule prohibiting reps from engaging in outside business activity without prior written notice to the firm, FINRA said.
In launching the business, Ejiogu and the two other reps allegedly raised about $40,000 from friends and family and deposited these funds into a bank account. They did not hit up firm customers for money, FINRA said.
According to BrokerCheck, Ejiogu resigned "while under review for participation and investment in 'other business' venture that was not appropriately disclosed to or approved by the firm."
SANCTION FOR FALSIFICATION OF SIGNATURE CARD
The other rep suspended was Allen Maddox, a former personal banker at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in Elmwood Park, N.J. Like Ejiogu, Maddox was suspended for one month and fined $5,000. He allegedly assisted a customer's girlfriend to falsify a bank signature card.
According to FINRA, the customer asked Maddox on or around August of 2013 to help him add his girlfriend to his Chase Bank account. When she visited the branch to be added to the account, Maddox gave her a blank signature card, telling her to sign on one line for the customer and the other line for herself. Since she didn't know what her boyfriend's signature looked like, Maddox showed her his signature card so that she could replicate his signature.
FINRA claims that Maddox neither made an indication on the signature card that his customer's girlfriend had signed his customer's name on the card nor instructed the customer's girlfriend to make such a notation, breaking bank policies prohibiting reps from signing for customers or allowing someone other than the customer to sign for the customer.
Maddox was discharged from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in February of 2014. According to BrokerCheck, he became associated with Allstate Financial Services from May to August of 2014.
Neither Ejiogu nor Maddox responded to an email sent to them via BrightScope Advisor Pages. In their settlements with FINRA, neither admitted nor denied the allegations but consented to an entry of FINRA findings.
Michael Fusco, a spokesperson for Chase Wealth Management, declined to comment on Ejiogu and Maddox, as well as Romero, who was barred.
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