Credit Card Charges Cancel Career On Wall Street

January 25, 2013

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, Susan R. Gibbs submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Susan R. Gibbs,Respondent (AWC, 2011029417901, January 18, 2013).

Gibbs entered the securities industry in May 2004 and first became registered in July 2004. In October 2009, she became associated with AXA Advisors, LLC and in December 2009, she became an employee of the firm until her termination in July 2011. Gibbs' Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Registration ("Form U5") dated July 26, 2011, indicates that her termination was based upon the elimination of her position.  According to the AWC, Gibbs had no prior disciplinary history in the securities industry.

During the relevant period between October 2009 and May 2011, the AWC alleges that Gibbs worked as a registered sales assistant to an AXA registered representative and independent contractor ("RR/IC"), who owned and operated an insurance agency. Apart from Gibb's responsibilities with AXA, she also performed administrative tasks for the RR/IC, and he provided Gibbs with a corporate credit card for the purpose of charging business-related expenses only.

The AWC alleges that during the relevant period, without RR/IC's permission, Gibbs improperly used the corporate card on 23 occasions to make personal purchases of clothing, groceries, restaurant meals and gasoline totaling $856.84. Gibbs purportedly knew at the time of each purchase that she was prohibited from using the card for non-business expenses. Only after RR/IC had confronted Gibbs about his detection of her unauthorized charges did she repay $237.69 of the $856.84 in challenged charges.

In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Gibbs a permanent bar from associating with any FINRA regulated broker-dealer in any capacity.

Bill Singers Comment

Over the years, I have frequently written about business expense cases.  They hit at every level ofWall Street - at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch,UBSMorgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo.  Sometimes it's a shlub who tried to get away with buying some Christmas presents while pretending they were business expenses. Sometimes it's a misguided hot-shot broker or trader who takes a few pals and clients to a strip joint. Sometimes it's a member of the C-suite who pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to decorate the office. Sometimes it's having the firm pay for your niece and nephew's iPods. And then, yeah, it can be something as mundane as a few tanks of gas, some burgers, and the week's groceries. Keep in mind that all it took to get Inspector Javert on Jean Valjean's case was a lousy loaf of bread to feed his sister's seven children (and, okay, he did lift the silver from the Bishop).