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FINRA: Ex-Northwestern Mutual Rep Misused Funds Raised for Kids' Cancer Charity

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What You Need to Know

  • The ex-Northwestern Mutual rep allegedly converted $44,170 in charitable donations from a pediatric cancer charity.
  • The firm found out, ordered him to repay the money to the charity, and allowed him to resign.
  • FINRA barred him from associating with any FINRA member firms in any capacity.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred a former Northwestern Mutual Investment Services broker-advisor who allegedly converted $44,170 in charitable donations from fundraising events hosted by his branch office at NMIS by transmitting the funds to his personal bank account instead of the pediatric cancer charity they were intended for, according to FINRA.

Roderick Len Whited then “used the funds to pay for his own personal expenses,” the industry self-regulator alleged. It didn’t specify what he spent the money on.

Whited did eventually repay $35,150, after Northwestern Mutual realized what he did and ordered him to give the money to the charity, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Whited signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Monday, consenting to a bar from associating with any FINRA members in all capacities. FINRA also signed the letter on Monday.

In October 2013, Whited became registered as an investment company products/variable contracts principal through his association with NMIS, according to FINRA.

But on Feb. 6, 2020, NMIS filed a Form U5, reporting that Whited “was permitted to resign after the Firm discovered that he misused funds raised for a September 2017 charity event he organized,” according to the FINRA AWC letter.

Neither Northwestern Mutual nor Whited immediately responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Ordered to Repay

In 2017, while Whited was a managing director of the Gainesville, Florida, branch office of NMIS, the office hosted two fundraising events for a pediatric cancer charity, according to FINRA.

Some of the donations for the fundraisers were made via an electronic payment app, the FINRA AWC letter said. “From August 2017 through February 2018, Whited caused donations made through the electronic payment application, totaling $44,170, to be deposited into his personal bank account by linking the electronic payment application to his account,” FINRA alleged.

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Whited didn’t have the consent of the donors or charity to use the funds for his personal expenses, according to FINRA.

After NMIS discovered that Whited took the funds, it “directed him to make repayment,” the AWC letter said. In May 2018, Whited repaid the charity $35,150.

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

More Firms

From October 2020 until the present, Whited has been registered through an association with another FINRA member, FINRA said in the letter without naming it.

However, he has been registered as a broker with Intercarolina Financial Services since 2020 and as an investment advisor with NetWorth Asset Management since earlier this year, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

NetWorth’s securities and investment advisory services are offered through Intercarolina, but NetWorth is “not a subsidiary or affiliate of Intercarolina,” according to NetWorth’s website.

Whited was still listed at NetWorth’s site as an investment advisor representative on Wednesday. His LinkedIn profile, meanwhile, said Wednesday that he has been a financial representative with Legacy Wealth Partners in Gainesville from January 2020 through the present, but neither Intercarolina nor NetWorth is listed.

However, a Legacy spokeswoman told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday: “Roderick is not, nor has he ever been, an employee of Legacy Wealth Partners.” Noting that Legacy was not included as a company he was affiliated with on his BrokerCheck report, she added: “We will reach out to Roderick and/or LinkedIn and seek that this be rectified immediately.”

Intercarolina and NetWorth did not immediately respond to requests for comment.