Every month we cull the public records made available by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). And each month we learn how ingenious stockbrokers have figured out news ways to rip off clients. This month is no exception. FINRA just published a notice that Wells Fargo had been sanctioned $150,000 for failing to properly supervise and monitor one of their brokers, Patricia Rodriguez.
According to records from FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, Patricia Rodriguez siphoned and embezzled $258,000 from the accounts of two customers. She did this by forging letters of authorization which directed Wells Fargo to wire transfer money into Rodriquez’s own bank account.
FINRA says that Wells Fargo should have become suspicious of the 28 wire transfer requests. These alleged requests came from two unrelated customers yet both directed the money be sent to the same account. As a broker and employee at Wells Fargo, Rodriguez also had her own personal account. The firm’s fraud detection procedures should have been able to electronically link all 3 accounts and immediately detect that customer funds were being wired to a broker’s personal account.
For her part in the scam, Patricia Rodriguez was permanently barred from the securities industry last year. We do not know if she was also criminally prosecuted. Luckily for the two investors, Wells Fargo reimbursed them for their losses.
We have found that people who cheat and steal once often do so multiple times. As a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor, I can’t count the many times a thief would swear it was their “first” time. It never was.
We wonder if Rodriguez has committed other types of fraud against her former clients. Common types of investment fraud include churning and selling unsuitable investments solely to generate higher commissions. Prior to working at Wells Fargo, Rodriquez worked at UBS and Paine Webber. Certainly an impressive resume and plenty of opportunity to deceive customers.
The stockbroker fraud lawyers at Mahany & Ertl represent victims of all types of financial fraud. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries answered within 24 hours and are protected by the attorney – client privilege. Cases accepted in many jurisdictions.
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Tagged: investment fraud, stockbroker fraud, failure to supervise, Wells Fargo fraud, unsuitable investments, Patricia Rodriguez
(Note: There are approximately 1 dozen registered professionals in the securities industry with the name Patricia Rodriguez. It is a common name. Always check FINRA’s BrokerCheck system for information about your broker. The system is free and offers immediate results.)