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FINRA Fines Former Wells Fargo Rep Who Lied About Outside Accounts

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What You Need to Know

  • Wells Fargo terminated the ex-broker after he failed to close three outside brokerage accounts after being asked to do so multiple times.
  • He then failed to disclose two more outside accounts he opened and continued trading in the accounts.
  • FINRA imposed a $2,500 fine and three-month suspension, but he is no longer a registered broker or advisor.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined and suspended an ex-Wells Fargo broker who was terminated by the wirehouse for failing to close three outside brokerage accounts despite being told to do so numerous times by the firm, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Jacob Popek signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Aug. 31 in which he consented to the imposition of a $2,500 fine and a three-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities.

Popek is no longer registered as a broker or advisor, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, so the only way the suspension will take effect is if he registers again. FINRA signed the AWC letter Thursday.

Wells Fargo declined to comment on Monday. Popek did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Rep’s Admission

In November 2018, Popek registered as a general securities representative through an association with FINRA member Wells Fargo Clearing Services, according to FINRA.

On May 20, 2020, the firm filed a Form U5 Uniform Termination Notice stating that Popek was discharged on April 21, 2020, after he “acknowledged providing inaccurate information to his manager and Wells Fargo … regarding the status of a personal outside brokerage account.”

Between November 2018 and April 2020, while associated with Wells Fargo, Popek maintained outside brokerage accounts without the firm’s written consent, according to FINRA.

In October 2018, Popek informed the firm that he maintained three outside brokerage accounts at two other member firms, FINRA said. Wells Fargo directed Popek to close those accounts. But despite receiving that instruction and multiple subsequent instructions from the firm to close the accounts in 2019, he “maintained each of these accounts until July 2019, December 2019, and April 2020, respectively,” according to FINRA.

Popek “effected multiple trades in one of those outside accounts in 2019 and 2020,” FINRA alleged. Also, from November 2018 until his termination, without the firm’s consent, he “maintained two additional outside brokerage accounts that he failed to disclose to the firm,” according to FINRA.

In December 2019, Popek went on to falsely attest on a Wells Fargo compliance questionnaire that he had no outside brokerage accounts, although he continued to maintain three of his outside accounts at that time, FINRA alleged.

As a result of his actions, Popek violated FINRA Rules 3210 (governing accounts at other broker-dealers) and 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade).

(Photo: Shutterstock)