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Ex-brokers sanctioned by FINRA over improper COVID loan applications

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2021 | FINRA Compliance

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority took disciplinary action against two former brokers over improprieties involving pandemic relief loans, according to ThinkAdvisor.

Manuel Pinazo, a former broker for Merrill Lynch, signed a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with FINRA in which he consented to being barred but did not admit or deny the authority’s findings.

Pinazo was fired by Merrill Lynch in 2020 over allegations that he had improperly applied for and received a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan. He then allegedly declined to cooperate with FINRA’s investigation into his conduct. The authority said that Pinazo refused to appear for on the record testimony regarding the circumstances of his termination.

In another case, FINRA imposed sanctions on Latonya L. Anderson, a former J.P. Morgan representative who improperly applied for and received a COVID-19 loan. FINRA said she “made reckless misrepresentations in a loan application she submitted to the Small Business Administration” to obtain the loan. This was in violation of FINRA Rule 2010 requiring high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

According to the AWC letter, Anderson did not admit or deny the findings, but was suspended from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities for nine months and was fined $12,500.

The BrokerCheck reports for Pinazo and Anderson indicated they were no longer registered brokers and were not associated with any FINRA firms.

The disaster relief loans were offered by the Small Business Administration in 2020 to help small businesses who were struggling during the pandemic.

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