In September, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced that registered representative Emily Pena of San Antonio, Texas and formerly associated with New York Life Securities in San Antonio submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which she was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Without admitting or denying the findings, Emily Pena consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she converted funds from an affiliate of her member firm.
The findings stated that although firm policy prohibited payment of life-insurance premiums by its registered representatives for non-family members, Pena used approximately $7,868 in personal funds to pay premiums for customers unrelated to her. The policies had originally been sold to the customers by agents whom Emily Pena had recruited.
By paying the premiums for the customers, Pena kept the policies in place and artificially increased the recruiting overrides paid to her on policies she sold. Because none of the customers had authorized Pena to make premium payments, she created electronic fund transfer forms that falsely reflected customer authorization. As a result of these actions, Pena received approximately $4,734 in additional compensation to which she was not otherwise entitled.
The findings also stated that Pena provided a firm customer with a credit reimbursement letter that she fabricated, wherein she guaranteed the customer against losses incurred due to surrender fees. In the letter, Emily Pena falsely indicated that the customer would receive a $2,173 credit to his variable annuity account as a replacement of surrender fees. Pena did not have any authorization from the firm to credit the customer’s account or send the letter.
Emily Pena’s registration and disciplinary history
In order to lawfully sell investments to the public, one must either be registered or exempt from registration.
Emily Pena was registered with:
According to FINRA’s CRD disclosure report, Emily Pena has been the subject of one customer complaint and one regulatory investigation.
The Law Office of David Liebrader practices exclusively in the field of investment loss recovery. For the past 23 years, we have dedicated our law practice to assisting investors who have been victims of investment fraud via fraudulent and unsuitable investment transactions. During that time we have recovered money for over one thousand individuals, pension plans, trusts and companies. The recoveries we have obtained via judgments, awards and settlements on behalf of our clients exceed $40,000,000.
When investors contact our firm they can expect prompt attention, and a detailed analysis of their issues. Typical claims that we are asked to review involve “unsuitability (where a financial advisor makes investment recommendations that are inconsistent with a customer’s investment objectives), claims for “churning” (where a broker enters into an excessive number of trades for the purpose of generating commissions), claims involving illiquid investments such as private placements (I.e., real estate investment trusts, limited partnerships, equipment leasing and oil and gas drilling programs) as well as claims for violations of state securities laws, which often provide investors remedies like attorney’s fees and interest, if they are successful on the claim.
Since a Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s, most investment related disputes between brokerage firms and their customers have been filed in an arbitration forum hosted by FINRA Dispute Resolution. FINRA, along with the SEC, serves as a securities industry “watchdog” and regulator. Most brokerage firms require their clients to sign binding arbitration agreements, mandating that any disputes between them be arbitrated at FINRA.
Investors pursuing claims at FINRA typically advance claims related to suitability. FINRA rules require that all registered representatives make suitable investment recommendations to their clients. Other claims are based on negligence or breach of fiduciary duty, while another category includes claims based on misrepresentations and fraud. Most claims filed with FINRA are resolved within 15 months, and oftentimes, the cases are resolved via settlement or mediation in under a year.
FINRA’s rules require that all investment recommendations made by licensed financial advisors be suitable in light of a customer’s needs, objectives and risk tolerance. In addition, all registered representatives are required to be properly supervised, with periodic inspections and reviews by qualified supervisors, whose job it is to vigorously investigate suspicions of wrongdoing (red flags).
If you suspect that you have been the victim of investment fraud, or had a financial advisor recommend unsuitable investments to you, call us today for a free, confidential consultation at (702) 380-3131.