For the purpose of settling alleged rules violations and without admitting or denying the findings, General Securities Representative Nathaniel Aaron Finkin submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC") to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") that the self-regulatory organization accepted. In the Matter of Nathaniel Aaron Finkin, Respondent (AWC/2009020132901, September 12, 2011).
Finkin first became registered in 2008, and during the relevant time in this matter, he was associated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney ("MSSB") until September 17, 2009. He had no prior FINRA disciplinary history.
The AWC alleged that around August 2009, one of Finkin's customers submitted to MSSB an application for a mortgage, term loan and line of credit. MSSB retained an outside law firm to negotiate terms of the loans with the customer's counsel.
According to the AWC, on August 28, 2009, Finkin sent two e-mails to various individuals involved in the negotiations, including the customer's counsel. On September 8, 2009, Finkin sent a third e-mail to various individuals involved with the application, again including the customer's counsel.
Each of the three emails were sent from Finkin's personal Hotmail account and instructed the recipients to contact Finkin with any questions or concerns. However, Finkin disguised the true source and nature of the emails and created the false appearance to the recipients that the emails were sent by the outside law firm's paralegal.
To those so duped by Finkin, these fabricated emails gave the false impression that the outside law firm's paralegal was ostensibly forwarding an e-mail she had received from her firm's attorney, who had been assigned to negotiate the terms of the loans. In fact, the paralegal and lawyer had nothing to do with these e-mails.
During its investigation of Finkin's conduct, FINRA sent three demands for production of a document that he had referenced during his On-The-Record interview. Finkin's response to the first two demands was that he was unsure if he would provide the document. He did not respond to the third demand.
The AWC alleged that the transmission of the three fabricated e-mails constituted violations FINRA Rule 2010: Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade. Further, by failing to respond to the document demands, Finkin violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.
Pursuant to the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Finkin a Bar from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.
SIDE BAR: If you think that impersonations of customers and/or third parties by stockbrokers is a very rare occurrence, think again. Take a look at these impersonation cases reported for 2011: READ. Similarly, regulatory violations involving emails and electronic communications continue to plague Wall Street.