Jorge Gonzalez, of Closter, New Jersey, a stockbroker with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and branch-manager for Wells Fargo Advisor’s affiliate banking company, was permanently barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity after consenting to findings that he converted customer funds. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2014042222101 (Mar. 30, 2016).
According to the AWC, in June 2014, Gonzalez stole funds belonging to a customer of Wells Fargo Advisors’ affiliate banking company. Apparently, a firm employee that Gonzalez was in charge of acted upon Gonzalez’s instructions to open a banking account for a customer, notwithstanding such conduct violating the firm’s policies because the customer was not actually present.
The AWC stated that the employee was instructed by Gonzalez to document in the banking company’s systems that such employee actually met the customer, despite that not being the case. Apparently, the employee never saw Gonzalez meeting with the client, nor had the employee ever met the customer herself.
The AWC indicated that the employee followed Gonzalez’s instructions, opening up the bank account with a check from the IRS amounting to $5,668.00. Apparently, such monies were derived from a tax return that was subsequently deemed fraudulent.
Gonzalez reportedly approved of the established and funded bank account, and supervised such account in the capacity of branch manager. FINRA indicated that by Gonzalez working in the capacity of branch manager, he circumvented red flags pertaining to the opening of the account that may have been detected by other supervisors at the branch.
Gonzalez reportedly proceeded to violate the bank’s policies again when he made a withdrawal of $5,000.00 from such account. According to the AWC, Gonzalez eventually effected a withdraw for the funds that remained in the banking account a couple weeks after his $5,000.00 initial withdrawal – again without the clients’ presence. The banking company reportedly incurred a loss estimated at $5,668.00 after the check was returned as unpaid.
An investigation followed, according to the AWC, which prompted Gonzalez to falsely state that the customer (which opened the bank account) was present when the withdrawals occurred. However, the banking company’s surveillance systems did not show the presence of such customer during such withdrawals; discrediting Gonzalez’s claim.
Public disclosure records reveal that Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC terminated Gonzalez on July 31, 2014. FINRA found that Gonzalez violated FINRA Rule 2010 via engaging in conversion of customer funds, leading to his permanent bar.
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