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Ex-Merrill Rep Barred for Keeping $100 Found at ATM: FINRA

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A former Merrill Lynch representative who was accused of keeping at least $100 in cash that a customer mistakenly left behind while using an ATM at a branch of the firm’s affiliated bank has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Michael Nagy signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Jan. 20 in which he agreed to be barred from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities. FINRA accepted the letter Wednesday.

On Dec. 20, 2019, “Merrill Lynch filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) explaining that Nagy had been discharged” for his alleged actions, according to the letter.

Merrill declined to comment on Friday, and Nagy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Nov. 8, 2019, while on a lunch break at a branch of Merrill’s affiliated bank, where Nagy was dually employed by Merrill and the bank, a customer “gave Nagy at least $100 in cash that a previous customer using the bank’s drive-up ATM had left behind, and the customer asked Nagy to return the money to the rightful owner,” according to the AWC letter.

Nagy “failed to return the cash to the bank or report the incident, despite being asked about it by the bank’s manager later that same day,” FINRA alleged. “Nagy ultimately decided instead to keep the money for himself.”

When Nagy returned to the bank after lunch, the bank manager asked Nagy about the money left behind in the ATM, “but Nagy disclaimed any knowledge of the missing funds,” according to FINRA.

“The following week, Nagy found the cash in his suit jacket pocket and decided to keep the cash indefinitely rather than report it at that time,” according to the AWC letter.

As a result of his actions, Nagy violated FINRA Rule 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade), FINRA alleged.

Nagy had been a rep for Merrill since 2017, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, which also says he is no longer a registered broker or advisor.