Brokers Rob Elderly Widow, Barred from Industry
FINRA barred Fernando Arevalo and Jimmy Caballero from the industry for stealing $300,000 from an elderly widow with diminished mental capacity, and for failing to fully cooperate with agencys investigation.
Arevalo and Caballero, who were brokers at JPMorgan Chase Securities, could not be reached for comment. JPMorgan, which declined to comment, was not part of the enforcement action, according to FINRA. The agency also said JPMorgan reimbursed the elderly customer for the money.
The elderly customer kept accounts at JPMorgan and a related bank affiliate, according to FINRA. Between April and July this year, she deposited about $300,000 in proceeds from the sale of two annuities into a bank account that Arevalo had opened for her. The funds were then withdrawn by cashier's checks and subsequently deposited into a joint account that Caballero had opened in his name and the customer's name at a different bank.
When that bank required further confirmation, Arevalo drove the customer to the bank to confirm the source of the funds. Funds from the account were then depleted through numerous checks payable to Arevalo. He and Caballero used the account debit card for personal expenses including real estate loans, car loans and various retail purchases. The customer was unaware of any withdrawals or purchases against the joint account by Arevalo or Caballero, and did not authorize the transactions, according to FINRA.
In addition, Arevalo failed to provide testimony to FINRA. Caballero initially provided testimony to FINRA, but subsequently refused to provide additional relevant information, according to securities industry watchdog.
Susan Axelrod, Executive Vice President of Regulatory Operations, said, "One of FINRA's top priorities is to protect senior investors. We will continue to aggressively pursue and rid the industry of brazen brokers who take advantage of vulnerable customers."
In the settlements, Caballero and Arevalo neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.