FINRA Bars Another Advisor In COVID Relief Loan Investigation

Posted on November 4th, 2021 at 1:44 PM
FINRA Bars Another Advisor In COVID Relief Loan Investigation

From the Desk of Jim Eccleston at Eccleston Law:

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred yet another Merrill Lynch advisor who improperly applied for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and subsequently failed to cooperate with FINRA’s investigation. 

Manuel Pinazo consented to the bar without admitting or denying any of FINRA’s findings. By comparison, FINRA suspended Latonya Anderson for nine months and issued a $12,500 fine after the former J.P. Morgan advisor also improperly applied to the EIDL program. However, Anderson cooperated with FINRA’s investigation, unlike Pinazo. 

The two disciplinary matters underscore the importance of cooperating with FINRA and, of course, retaining competent and experienced securities legal counsel for representation. 

According to FINRA, Anderson submitted an EIDL application in June 2020 through her cellphone and failed to refer to any documentation. FINRA alleges that Anderson falsely claimed to be the owner of a small real estate business with ten employees. Meanwhile, Merrill reported that Pinazo was terminated for his “conduct involving improperly applying for and receiving” the loan, according to a Form 5 Uniform Termination Notice. Neither Pinazo nor Anderson is currently associated with any FINRA member firms, according to BrokerCheck. 

Eccleston Law LLC represents investors and financial advisors nationwide in securities, employment, regulatory and disciplinary matters.

Tags: eccleston, eccleston law, finra, covid

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