Jacob Lerman of Souderton, Pennsylvania, a registered representative of Univest Investments, Inc., was permanently barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity after consenting to findings that he had failed to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into allegations that Lerman had committed forgery on customer documents. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2014042671201 (Nov. 4, 2015).
According to the AWC, Lerman had been terminated by Univest for forging a customer’s signature on an application to open an individual retirement account. Upon being informed of this information, FINRA had acted pursuant to Rule 8210, requesting on October 15, 2014, that Lerman provide a written explanation for the alleged forgery. The AWC indicated that Lerman had provided a written response to FINRA on October 21, 2014, where he admitted to the forgery but had claimed that the customer had authorized Lerman to sign her name on the application.
The AWC further stated that when Lerman had provided his on-the-record testimony in July 2015, Lerman admitted that his prior response regarding the customer’s alleged approval of Lerman’s forgery was inaccurate and that the customer had not actually authorized him to sign the application. FINRA found that Lerman had violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010 as a result, leading to his permanent bar.
FINRA registered representatives like Lerman who do not cooperate with FINRA’s investigations often face a permanent bar from practicing in the securities industry as such lack of cooperation violates FINRA’s Rule 8210 – requiring that no member or person shall fail to provide information or testimony or permit an inspection and copying of books, records, or accounts pursuant to the rule. FINRA typically accompanies a Rule 8210 violation with a Rule 2010 violation when individuals, according to FINRA, do not appear to observe high standards for commercial honor and just and just and equitable principles of trade.
This is not the first time that Lerman was subject to discipline for forgery. On May 8, 2012, Lerman had entered into a Consent Order with the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission, where Lerman admitted to forging customer signatures on insurance policies. Lerman was ordered to cease and desist, pay a civil penalty of $3,000, and disgorge the commissions he received on the forged policies.
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.
Guiliano Law Group
If you have been the victim of securities fraud and you have a complaint, you should consult with an attorney. The practice of Nicholas J. Guiliano, Esquire, and The Guiliano Law Group, P.C., is limited to the representation of investors in claims for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.