Jose A. Zapata of San Antonio, Texas, a stockbroker with formerly registered with Argentus Securites, LLC, was barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity after consenting to findings that he made misrepresentations to one of his customers in order to conceal information from a customer regarding her account balance. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2014039998801 (Dec. 30, 2015).
According to the AWC, a Mexican resident, SS, was one of Zapata’s customers since 2007. Given that SS had reportedly declined to have her account statements mailed to her home address due to security concerns, she would frequently contact Zapata by phone and ask him to provide her with an account balance.
The AWC reported that by September 2012, SS had begun to verbally express concerns to Zapata concerning the value of her account which had sustained investment losses. During a time in which Zapata was conversing with SS on the phone, and in order to prevent SS from filing a complaint, Zapata had intentionally lied to SS by telling her that her account was worth approximately $170,000, when the account was actually only worth $108,225.00.
The AWC subsequently stated that over the following months, Zapata would continue to falsely overstate the value of customer SS’s account by amounts which ranged from $15,000 – $60,000 during his telephone conversations with her. SS reportedly relied upon such conversations, which led her to purchase a car and a condominium based on artificially inflated account values. FINRA found that by making the misrepresentations concerning the customer’s account, Zapata had violated Rule 2010. He was barred as a result.
Public disclosure records reveal that Zapata is subject to a pending customer dispute from February 2, 2014, where the customer has requested $115,000.00 after alleging that the representative made misrepresentations to the customer by stating an inflated account value and mismanaged the customer’s account.
Firms and individuals, quite obviously, are prohibited from unauthorized use or borrowing of a customer’s funds or securities, forgery, non-disclosure or misstatement of material facts, and manipulations and various deceptions. These activities are also subject to the civil and criminal laws and sanctions of federal and state governments.
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