Staten Island Registered Representative Consents to Bar to Resolve Allegations of Misusing Customer Investment FundsFriday, March 13, 2020
Former registered representative, Louis Cook, recently submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement to resolve allegations of violating securities industry rules and regulations.
Louis Cook was most recently associated with Securities Service Network, LLC (SSN) in Knoxville, Tennessee from November 2017 to March 2018. SSN filed a Form U5 with FINRA reporting that Cook was “terminated at the conclusion of an internal investigation of Mr. Cook’s fee debiting of client variable annuities.” Prior to that, he was associated with National Planning Corporation (NPC) in Staten Island, New York from November 2009 to November 2017. On July 6, 2018, after SSN had already terminated Cook, NPC submitted an Amended Form U5 disclosing a customer complaint alleging “fees were debited from variable annuity without proper disclosure.”
FINRA claims in the AWC that between August and December 2016, when he was associated with NPC, Cook asked at least eleven NPC customers to sign a Third Party Authorization Form, which would permit Cook to make changes and/or withdraw funds from the policy value of their variable annuity to pay advisory fees. FINRA alleges that Cook made several misrepresentations in the letters that made this request, including that the forms were needed for him to continue to service the customers’ variable annuity policies and that the forms were triggered by the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule.” Upon signing these forms, Cook withdrew over $150,000 from these customers variable annuity accounts. He then allegedly used the funds for his personal use. According to the AWC, Cook knew these clients from an approved outside business activity, a company that purportedly specialized in financial planning for parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs and advised them on Medicaid eligibility and long-term care.
As a result, Cook violated FINRA Rules 2150(a) and 2010. Without admitting or denying the allegations made against him, Louis Cook consented to a bar from associating with any FINRA member firm in all capacities.
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