October 10, 2013
At times, about all you can do is shake your head. Not so much in anger or disgust as in mere puzzlement. You'd like to think that the older you get, the less in life surprises you -- but that's just not the case. In today's BrokeAndBroker blog, we witness the unraveling of a promising Wall Street career for what amounts to chump change. And even though some of us understand what likely motivated the theft at issue, it is still unsettling to acknowledge that such circumstances exist. But they do. This is a true story about modern-day reality.
For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), without admitting or denying the findings, prior to a regulatory hearing, and without an adjudication of any issue, Shane Crown submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Shane Crown, Respondent (AWC 2012035327201, October 1, 2013).
Crown first associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("MLPFS") in 2005 and subsequently became registered in 2008.
Crown worked as a Senior Operations Manager with the Online Risk Management Team ("ORMT") in MLPFS' Banking Initiatives/Fraud & Six Sigma department. Crown co-led the daily online surveillance operations of ORMT, which was responsible for reviewing suspicious login and trading activity on MLPFS brokerage sites and safeguarding client accounts should an online compromise be detected.
Around July 2012, Crown was appointed the Treasurer of his department's Associate Satisfaction Committee ("ASAT"), which would raise money through fundraisers to pay for team building events. As Treasurer, Crown was responsible for the safekeeping of cash funds raised.
While planning its holiday party around December 4, 2012, it was discovered that funds were missing. When confronted, Crown acknowledged converting $850. In an e-mail dated December 5, 2012, from Crown to a Fraud Investigations Group associated with MLPFS' parent, he asserted that he had taken the funds from a money box between August and October 2012 because he was having financial difficulties.
Online FINRA records as of October 10, 2013, disclose that MLPFS "Discharged" Crown on December 7, 2012 based upon allegations that he had engaged in:
CONDUCT INVOLVING THEFT FROM AN INTERNAL DEPARTMENT CASH FUND. THIS CONDUCT DI D NOT INVOLVE CUSTOMERS OR CUSTOMER ACCOUNTS OF MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH, INC.
An additional online FINRA document as of October 10, 2013, asserts that on October 16, 2012, Crown was charged in New Jersey with "THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING," and the status of that matter is still pending.
In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Crown a Bar from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.