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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > FINRA

FINRA Bars Ex-Ameriprise Rep Who Took $42,000 From a Client

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An ex-Ameriprise representative who allegedly converted more than $42,000 of an elderly client’s funds for his own use has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority member firm in any capacity, according to an order filed Thursday by the FINRA Department of Enforcement.

Related: FINRA Fines Ex-Merrill Rep Who Hid Apartment Rental Business

On Tuesday, Sean Michael Refsnider submitted an Offer of Settlement in which he consented, without admitting or denying the allegations made by FINRA in an April 28 complaint, to FINRA’s sanction.

“The advisor’s conduct was wholly inconsistent with our values and in direct violation of our clear policies and procedures,” Ameriprise said Friday, repeating what it said in a statement provided April 30. “We quickly detected and stopped the activity, ensured the client was fully reimbursed, terminated the advisor and notified the proper authorities.”

Refsnider, who is no longer registered as a broker or RIA, was a representative at Ameriprise from 2012 until Aug. 20, 2019, when he was terminated by the firm after it concluded that the client’s funds were misappropriated, according to a disclosure on his report at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

On Jan. 21, FINRA made a preliminary determination to recommend that disciplinary action be brought against Refsnider for the conversion of funds, as well as his failure to respond to FINRA’s requests for documents and information while the regulator was investigating his actions, according to BrokerCheck.

In the complaint, FINRA’s Department of Enforcement alleged that, from July through August 2019, while associated with Ameriprise, Refsnider converted the funds of his customer, identified only as “Customer A,” while his own “finances were in disarray.”

Refsnider allegedly “procured a check from Customer A in the amount of $20,000 and he then used the funds to pay his mortgage and other personal expenses,” according to the complaint.

Without Customer A’s authorization, Refsnider also had Ameriprise issue a debit card linked to the client’s account with the firm, and then used the debit card to make about 60 separate purchases totaling about $17,317, and to make $4,300 in cash withdrawals, the complaint said.

Refsnider also transferred an additional $475 in cash from Customer A’s Ameriprise Account to himself via PayPal and Venmo, according to the complaint.

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