Merrill Lynch employee arrested for alleged drug possession, misconduct

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A Merrill Lynch employee was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct, drug use and disorderly conduct, according to police and court records.

Joseph Anthony Ornelas Jr. was arrested Aug. 17 in San Rafael, California, a suburb of San Francisco. Authorities charged Ornelas, 37, with three misdemeanors: alleged sexual battery/arousal, gratification or abuse; possession of a control substance; and disorderly conduct, according to information posted on the San Rafael Police Department website.

Ornelas works at Merrill Lynch's San Francisco office as client relationship manager, according to his LinkedIn profile. He's been registered with the firm since 2005, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records, which list him as having earned his Series 66 and Series 7.

Ornelas could not be reached for comment and did not respond to a message sent via social media.

A Merrill Lynch spokesman said he is currently on a leave of absence and declined to comment further on the matter.

A spokeswoman for the San Rafael Police Department declined to provide additional information beyond what was already posted on the department's public website.

Ornelas' court date is set for Sept. 7, according to the website of the Marin County Superior Court.

Ornelas has no disclosures on his FINRA BrokerCheck record.

Not all arrests are required to appear on FINRA's BrokerCheck website. The regulator says online that "arrests that did not result in a charge or conviction, and misdemeanor charges or convictions that are not investment-related or do not involve theft or a 'breach of trust,' including, for example, disorderly conduct or assault."

FINRA has previously been criticized for not including more information on its BrokerCheck website.

Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley let go a top broker, Douglas E. Greenberg, after The New York Times reported that managers at the brokerage firm had been aware of allegations that Greenberg had physically abused ex-wives and former girlfriends. Four women had obtained restraining orders against Greenberg, the Times reported. He had been registered with Morgan Stanley since 1994, per BrokerCheck.

None of the incidents reported by the Times appear on Greenberg's BrokerCheck record.

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