A former U.S. Bank broker was suspended from the industry for 30 days and fined $5,000 for impersonating an elderly customer in an attempt to move the customer's retirement account from another institution, according to the broker's settlement with FINRA.
Ryan Sanford Lawson allegedly made two calls to the rival firm, pretending to be the customer. He placed the calls a day after a meeting in which the customer and his wife expressed an interest in transferring the nearly $70,000 they held in their retirement accounts at the other firm, FINRA charged in the settlement.
The regulator rebuked Lawson for the alleged deception. While the elderly couple said they intended to transfer their funds, "they were not aware of and did not authorize Lawson to impersonate them in order to effectuate the transfer," FINRA said.
Lawson also asked a U.S. Bank employee to impersonate the customer's wife, according to the regulator.
Lawson, who worked for U.S. Bancorp Investments in Scottsville, Kentucky, could not be reached for comment. In his settlement with FINRA, Lawson neither admitted nor denied the charges but consented to an entry of FINRA's finding.
Lawson worked for U.S. Bancorp Investments from February 2016 to August 2016, when he voluntarily resigned while under internal investigation for the purported behavior, according to BrokerCheck records. He started in the industry in May 2005, first working for Source Capital Group and later Edward Jones, BB&T Investment Services and LPL Financial.
Robin Francis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Bank, said the bank moved quickly to end Lawson's employment after investigating the allegations against him. "The trust and confidence of our clients is of critical importance to U.S. Bank," she noted.
Lawson is the second former U.S. Bank adviser to be sanctioned by FINRA this year. Katherine Ann White, an ex-bank rep in Minneapolis, was suspended in June for six months and fined $10,000 for borrowing $10,000 from a 69-year-old customer.