These are only allegations, these are only allegatons, there are only allegations.
FINRA filed a complaint in February, 2017, alleging that former Edward Jones broker Austin Morton of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, converted $36,000 from an elderly former client.
This tale of woe begins in November 2016, when the daughter of the client, with a power of attorney, complained to Edward Jones that Morton borrowed $22,000 from her father in October 2016.
Edward Jones quickly terminated Morton. Morton’s BrokerCheck report indicates that the client liquidated his IRA in September 2016. He then transferred $22,359 to his personal bank account. He then signed a blank check and gave it to Morton. Morton filled out the check, making it payable to himself in the amount of $22,000.
The FINRA complaint versus Morgan adds more color to this story. FINRA alleges that Morton actually stole $20,000 in cash from the client, shortly after the client, accompanied by Morgan, withdrew the cash from his local bank. They had gone to lunch together and the client left the cash in Morton’s car.
Morgan then later asked the client for a $6,000 loan for medical expenses (which actually didn’t exist). This is when the client signed a blank check and gave it to Morgan. Only, as recounted in the Edward Jones filing, Morgan wrote out the check for $22,000, not $6,000.
FINRA therefore alleges Morgan converted a total of $36,000 from the client (since the client agreed to a $6,000 loan).
Lastly, FINRA asserts that Morton engaged in an unapproved outside business activity. Without disclosing to Edward Jones, he accepted a $2,000 cash payment from the elderly client for helping him locate and surrender an annuity the client had purchased at another firm.
The FINRA complaint further alleged that Morton had racked up gambling losses of $130,000 on online horse race sites.
Morton replied to the Edward Jones filing by saying the client was a family friend and not a client at the time of the loan.
Morton had worked in the securities industry since 2011 at Edward Jones.
This case highlights the problem of elder abuse in the securities industry that occurs all too frequently. In this case, the only reason Morton’s actions came to light appears to be the daughter’s complaint to Edward Jones.
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