A former registered rep with HSBC Securities was ejected from the industry last week for failing to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that she stole money from a retail bank customer, according to a FINRA filing.

Emily S. Pao, who worked for HSBC in San Gabriel, Calif., was discharged from the firm in June 2015 for allegedly taking a check that was mailed to the customer, signing it, and depositing it into her own account with the intent of providing the funds to the customer. The funds, however, were never returned.

FINRA did not disclose how much money was at issue.

According to Pao's BrokerCheck report, the internal investigation by HSBC was triggered when the customer raised questions regarding a business banking account. The investigation revealed that the bank closed the account for inactivity and mailed the funds to the customer.  BrokerCheck noted that Pao had access to the customer's mail.

Pao joined HSBC in September 2012. She had worked in the securities industry since 1996, according to FINRA.

Pao refused FINRA's request to appear for the on-the-record testimony, a violation that automatically leads to getting barred.   

Pao did not respond to an email sent to her via BrightScope Advisor Pages, an online directory of financial advisors. She could not otherwise be reached for comment.  In her settlement with FINRA, Pao neither admitted nor denied the allegations, but consented to an entry of FINRA's findings.

Rob Sherman, a spokesperson for HSBC in New York, declined to comment.

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