Businessman hiding cash in his jacket pocket. (Photo: Thinkstock)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says it has barred a registered senior client associate who was terminated from her job at Merrill Lynch’s Seattle office after she allegedly took $24,044 from a co-worker’s brokerage account and improperly used the funds for her own expenses.

Julie Ann Mineard submitted a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent to FINRA Nov. 13 in which she agreed to be barred from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer in any capacity. She agreed to the letter without admitting or denying the findings. The letter was accepted by FINRA Nov. 15.

Mineard started working at the Merrill Lynch division in 1999 and became registered with the firm as a general securities representative in 2001. But it was discovered that, from July to September 2017, she “converted and improperly used approximately $24,044 that she obtained from a co-worker’s brokerage account held” at the firm, in violation of FINRA Rules 2150 and 2010, according to the letter.

The firm filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Registration (Form U5) terminating Mineard’s registration Dec. 6, 2017, for, among other things, “loss of management’s confidence related to Mineard’s inaccurate characterization of disbursements from an employee’s account,” according to the letter.

More Details

Starting in 2004, Mineard was employed at the Seattle branch office as a registered senior client associate. Her job included opening new accounts, transferring accounts from other firms, and processing disbursements from customer accounts, according to FINRA.

In late 2006, Mineard was assigned to work with “IH,” a firm general securities representative. She “routinely assisted IH in paying his personal bills by making check requests for disbursements” from IH’s firm brokerage account, according to FINRA.

All was apparently fine until, on three dates during the period from July to September 2017, Mineard submitted four check requests for the disbursement of funds from one of IH’s brokerage accounts at the firm, according to the letter. Mineard entered requests into the firm’s online check request system to direct disbursements totaling about $24,044 from the IH account to Mineard’s personal bank accounts.

Those check requests “were made without IH’s prior knowledge or authorization,” according to FINRA. As a result of those check requests, funds were disbursed from the IH account in the amounts of $4,744.02, $2,500, $3,800, and $13,000, and deposited to bank accounts belonging to Mineard, the letter said, adding: “Mineard subsequently used these funds for her personal expenses.”

Mineard has no previous disclosures in her 16-year broker registration history, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Mineard’s attorney, Mark Davis of Dethlefs Sparwasser Reich Dickerson in Edmonds, Washington, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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