Four months after filing a complaint with its hearing officers, FINRA finally threw the book at a former J.P. Morgan registered rep who it claims issued unauthorized ATM cards as part of scheme to loot money from customer bank accounts.
On Jan. 28, FINRA axed Jonathan A. Francis from the brokerage industry for allegedly issuing seven ATM cards in the accounts of seven customers, six of them deceased. According to FINRA, the ATM cards were then used by unknown individuals to withdraw approximately $210,000 from the accounts.
"By issuing ATM cards without authorization as part of a scheme to convert bank customer funds, Francis engaged in business-related, unethical conduct," FINRA writes in the disciplinary proceeding.
Francis did not respond to a request for comment submitted through BrightScope Advisor Pages, an online directory for financial advisors. He could not otherwise be reached for comment.
According to FINRA and BrokerCheck, Francis worked for J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was registered first through Chase Investment Services Corp. and then J.P. Morgan Securities. He allegedly issued the ATM cards between August 2012 and August 2013, FINRA said.
As previously reported in Bank Investment Consultant, FINRA's Department of Enforcement filed the complaint with the regulator's Office of Hearing Officers in September of 2014, following Francis' failure to cooperate fully with FINRA's investigation. He continued to ignore FINRA's requests for additional documents and information and failed to appear for a follow-up to his initial sworn testimony in March of 2014, factors that contributed to his being barred from the industry.
According to his BrokerCheck report, Francis resigned from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in October of 2013, while under review for issuing the unauthorized ATM cards. His alleged misconduct was uncovered when one of the seven customers in whose names the ATM cards were issuedthe only customer who was actually alivecomplained of an unauthorized withdrawal from his account. It also states that J.P. Morgan Chase Bank determined that he sold bank customer information to unauthorized third parties and added them as power of attorney to bank customer accounts, without customer authorization.
Michael Fusco, a spokesperson for Chase Private Client, the banking unit of J.P. Morgan Chase where Francis worked, declined to comment on the matter.