Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

FINRA Sanctions Two Brokers for Stealing from Widow's Charity

A FINRA Hearing Panel has barred John Edward Mullins, a former registered representative with Morgan Stanley DW, Inc., for misappropriating $11,156.47 from the charitable foundation of a 97-year old nursing home resident and widow who was his client for more that 20 years.  The panel also sanctioned Mullins' wife, Kathleen Maria Mullins, also a former registered representative with Morgan Stanley — giving her a nine-month suspension and a $20,000 fine for borrowing $100,000 from the same client without the approval of her brokerage firm. Kathleen Mullins also made material misstatements on compliance questionnaires concerning her official role in the charitable foundation and receipt of the loan. The hearing panel is also requiring Kathleen Mullins to re-qualify by examination before she can be registered in any capacity in the securities industry.

 The hearing panel noted that in early April 2006, just after the elderly widow fell ill and was under round-the-clock nursing care, John Mullins "embarked on his misuse and conversion of the foundation's funds." The hearing panel determined that within three months of the customer's illness, John Mullins misappropriated $4,000 to pay for his and his wife's vacation at the Four Seasons in London. The hearing panel also found that John Mullins misappropriated $5,500 to reduce his personal bill at Boyds of Philadelphia, an upscale Philadelphia clothing store, and $1,656.47 to buy 23 bottles of wine from Morton's Restaurant in Atlantic City, which he stored in his personal wine locker at the steakhouse.

 Unless the matter is appealed to FINRA's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC), or is called for review by the NAC, the hearing panel's decision becomes final after 45 days.

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