Enforcement Actions
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
NOTE: Stipulations of Fact and Consent to Penalty (SFC); Offers of Settlement (OS); and Letters of Acceptance Waiver, and Consent (AWC) are entered into by Respondents without admitting or denying the allegations, but consent is given to the described sanctions & to the entry of findings. Additionally, for AWCs, if FINRA has reason to believe a violation has occurred and the member or associated person does not dispute the violation, FINRA may prepare and request that the member or associated person execute a letter accepting a finding of violation, consenting to the imposition of sanctions, and agreeing to waive such member's or associated person's right to a hearing before a hearing panel, and any right of appeal to the National Adjudicatory Council, the SEC, and the courts, or to otherwise challenge the validity of the letter, if the letter is accepted. The letter shall describe the act or practice engaged in or omitted, the rule, regulation, or statutory provision violated, and the sanction or sanctions to be imposed.
December 2009
Anthony Brent Faithauer
AWC/2008016455601/December 2009
Faithauer misappropriated approximately $853,795 from customers for his own personal benefit. Faithauer misappropriated the funds by forging customersí signatures on checks, distribution forms and withdrawal slips without their knowledge or authorization and by converting insurance premiums and funds surrendered froma customerís fixed annuity.

Faithauer borrowed $90,000 from a customer contrary to his member firmís written procedures that prohibited registered representatives from borrowing money or securities from customers under any circumstances. Faithauer failed torespond to FINRA requests for information.
Anthony Brent Faithauer: Barred
Tags:  Borrowing    Forgery    Signature     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Judy Jo Patrick
AWC/2008013438901/December 2009
Patrick altered public customersí Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payment Forms (IRS Form W-4P) by affixing invalid copies of the customersí signatures. Patrick similarly altered her member firmís internal documents regarding public customers, thereby causing the firmís books and records to be inaccurate and not in compliance with Section 17(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of1934 and SEC Rule 17a-3. Patrick failed to respond to FINRA requests for information.
Judy Jo Patrick: Barred
Tags:  Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
As I've noted so often over the years, I am not a fan of regulatory double-speak -- which is that twisting of English into something that is bloated and obtuse but always sounds oh so precise.  For example, is it just me or what but doesn't this strike you as a classic:

[P]atrick altered public customersí Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payment Forms (IRS Form W-4P) by affixing invalid copies of the customersí signatures . . .

Apparently, all that this registered person did was "altered" an IRS form by "affixing invalid copies" of signatures.  Altered? Affixing?  Whatever happened to the old-fashioned  "fraud" or "forgery"? 

When I think of "altering" something, it means that I take something that exists and shorten/lenghten it.  For example, you alter a hemline. However, you are not altering someone's signature when you forge it or when you submit a prior iteration of that signature as if it were new and authorized.  That may be fraud or forgery but it sure as hell isn't a mere alteration -- nor is it simply affixing an invalid copy. 

I mean, seriously, if I make a copy of the Mona Lisa and sneak into the Louvre and remove the original and replace it with my forgery, would anyone suggest that all that I had done was altered the original and affixed an invalid copy onto the museum wall?
Lawrence Maxwell McCoy
AWC/2008013278101/December 2009
McCoy converted funds belonging to an elderly public customer totaling approximately $44,000 without her knowledge and consent by contacting the mutual fund company that held her funds and requesting numerous redemptions. McCoy converted additional funds belonging to the customer totaling $34,000, without her knowledge and consent, by forging her checks and making them payable to a company he controlled that was disclosed to his firm as an outside business activity.
Lawrence Maxwell McCoy: Barred
Tags:  Forgery    Checks    Elderly     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Elder fraud is a growing area of abuse on Wall Street and thankfully such contemptible misconduct is resulting in industry bars. Good riddance!
Patrick James Illies
AWC/2009017123401/December 2009
Illies forged customersí signatures on customer financial forms that he had forgotten to have the customers sign. The customersísignatures were forged on documents relating to transactions that the customers had requested and/or authorized. When his member firm inquired whether he had forged customer signatures, Illies denied doing so on several occasions.
Patrick James Illies: No Fined in light of financial status; Suspended 9 months in all capacities
Tags:  Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Sherolyn Rae Leeper
AWC/2009016624501/December 2009
Leeper misappropriated approximately $31,663.01 from customers by writing checks against their brokerage accounts and forging their signatures. Leeper deposited the checks into her personal bank account and converted the proceeds for her own use and benefit.
Leeper failed to respond to FINRA requests for information.
Sherolyn Rae Leeper: Barred
Tags:  Checks    Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Susan Jayne Nelson
AWC/2008014015401/December 2009
Nelson falsified account-related documents by whiting out information, taping over dollar amounts, writing dates and dollar amounts in pencil, tracing signatures, and cutting and pasting signatures. Nelson submitted the falsified documents to her member firm as authentic. Nelson failed to respond to a FINRA request to appear for an on-the-record interview.
Susan Jayne Nelson: Barred
Tags:  Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
White out? Tracing? Cut-and-Paste?  My -- ain't nostalgia grand?  And to think, a more modern scamster would have simply scanned the documents and made the changes through the computer.  Ya gotta love these old school cases.
November 2009
Jeffrey Robert Unruh
AWC/2008014322401/November 2009
Unruh forged a customerís signature on an acknowledgment form. After flagging the order for shares of a bond fund because they did not match the primary investment objective on the new customerís profile form, Unruhís member firm instructed him to obtain a signed letter from the customer acknowledging that she understood that the bond fund that Unruh recommended was contrary to her conservative risk and capital preservation investment objectives specified in her new account documents. Instead of obtaining the requested acknowledgement letter from his customer, Unruh drafted a letter, signed his customerís name and submitted it to his member firm. Unruh offered a false explanation in response to a FINRA request for information.
Jeffrey Robert Unruh: Fined $10,000; Suspended 18 months
Tags:  Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment

Sometimes a sanction that strikes me as less than called for given the allegations is the result of excellent lawyering -- and other times it's merely part of the game-playing by regulators to make their case seem far worse than it actually was.  Unfortunately for those of us trying to divine the signs, we rarely have sufficient information to decide which of the two situations resulted in the sanctions imposed.

In Unruh, I'm puzzled as to exactly what an RR has to do these days to warrant a multi-year suspension or bar.  Here we have an RR who fabricated a letter, forged his customer's name thereto, handed the falsified record to his firm, and then "offered a false explanation" to FINRA.  Frankly, silly me, but what the hell is the difference between offering a false explanation to a regulator and lying to a regulator?  And for all this subterfuge, the sanction is a lousy $10,000 and 18 months?  Wow, talk about regulatory inconsistency!

Enforcement Actions