FINRA Gives Rep the Business Over Personal Expenses

November 17, 2020

You got personal expenses. You got business expenses. If you work for a company, they tend to reimburse your business expenses. The personal expenses -- well, you know, that's on you. Except for some folks, that normally bright line between what's personal and what's business gets blurred. If you're lucky, the company reimburses you for your personal expenses and no one's any the wiser. If you're not so lucky, you could lose your job, get charged with a crime, and you come off looking like a crook. Of course there are times when certain expenses are debatable. I know it. You know it. On the other hand, c'mon, let's not blow smoke up our respective you know whats. If you're going to try and scam your employer, don't complain if you get caught. 

Case In Point

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, Matthew B. Nekuza submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of  Matthew B. Nekuza, Respondent (FINRA AWC2018060308502 / November 6, 2020)

The AWC asserts that Matthew Nekuza was first registered in December 2014 with TD Ameritrade. The AWC asserts that Hildebrand "does not have any relevant disciplinary history. As set forth in FINRA's online BrokerCheck disclosures as of November 17, 2020, Nekuza was employed in the following capacities with the following firms:
  • May 2014 to September 2018: New Client Sales Consultant with TD Ameritrade
  • September 2018 to Present: Senior Specialist, Investor Development with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
  • September 2018 to Present: Dual Employee with Charles Schwab Bank
As set forth in FINRA's online BrokerCheck disclosures as of November 12, 2020, Nekuza was registered in the following capacities with the following firms:
  • June 2014 to September 2018: TD Ameritrade Inc.
  • September 2018 to April 2019: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Getting Personal . . . Or Not

As alleged in part in the AWC:

In August and September 2018, Nekuza used his firm-issued credit card to pay for 27 personal expenses, which were unrelated to TD Ameritrade's business, totaling approximately $20,846. At the time that he incurred the charges, Nekuza knew that the personal expenses were not reimbursable under any TD Ameritrade policy. 

In September 2018, while associated with another FINRA member, Nekuza falsely reported to the credit card company that his card had been fraudulently used by an individual other than himself to make the charges. In addition, Nekuza falsely stated to TD Ameritrade that each of the 27 charges was fraudulent. 

In total, from August to September 2018, Nekuza obtained approximately $20,846 in goods and services which were personal expenses he charged to his firm-issued credit card. 

Let's Just Call It "Conversion"

As set forth in the AWC, FINRA characterizes "conversion" as constituting:

an intentional and unauthorized taking of and/or exercise of ownership over property by one who neither owns the property nor is entitled to possess it . . .

Moreover, FINRA deems that "conversion" constitutes a violation of FINRA Rule 2010, as the act does not comport with as associated person's obligation to "observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade." Accordingly, FINRA alleged that Nekuza's conversion constituted a violation of FINRA Rule 2020.

Would You Believe?

Compounding Nekuza's problems with FINRA, in response to FINRA Rule 8210 demands for information and testimony, the AWC asserts in part that:

In both Nekuza's written response and during his sworn testimony, Nekuza claimed that he did not make the charges and that he was not in possession of the firm-issued credit card at the time the charges were made. Nekuza's claims were false in that he did make the charges and in that he was in possession of the firm-issued credit card at the time the charges were made. Nekuza knew his claims to be false at the time he made them in his response letter to FINRA on May 21, 2019, and during his sworn testimony on June 5, 2019. 

FINRA deemed Nekuza's alleged provision of false information and his false testimony to constitute violations of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.


In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Nekuza a Bar from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity.

Bill Singer's Comment

I mean, geez, at least come up with something a tad more clever than I didn't make the charges and I was not in possession of the firm-issued credit card at the time the charges were made. It's not elementary school. It's Wall Street. If you're gonna fib, ya need sumthin' more nuanced than the dog ate my homework.

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