More brokers in hot water over bad Covid-19 loans

Four more brokers have been penalized by Finra since October for incorrectly or inappropriately applying to federal loan programs for small businesses feeling economic pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. told InvestmentNews it was probing registered representatives who obtained coronavirus-relief loans for possible violations related to work they do outside their brokerage firms.

Finra has been focused on the matter throughout 2021. The four brokers recently penalized, Kenny Mejia, Latonya Anderson, Manuel Pinazo and Doli Kumar, were hit with penalties due to applications they submitted to the Small Business Administration to obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

As is customary with such settlements, none of the four brokers admitted to or denied the findings of the investigations in the process of the settlement. And none could be reached Friday for comment.

Mejia was “discharged,” meaning fired, in January by J.P. Morgan Securities for “applying for, and receiving, a small business administration loan without a legitimate business purpose,” according to his Finra BrokerCheck profile. On Thursday, he was suspended from the securities industry for seven months.

His attorney, Lisa Braganca, could not immediately comment on Friday.

Anderson, also formerly with J.P. Morgan Securities was suspended for nine months from the securities industry and fined $12,500. According to BrokerCheck, Anderson “made reckless misrepresentations in a loan application she submitted to the Small Business Administration to obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and willfully failed to timely amend” her industry registration, known as a Form U4, to disclose multiple financial events, including a state tax lien.

Anderson could not be reached for comment; her Finra settlement did not list an attorney working on her case.

Merrill Lynch fired Pinazo last year for “conduct involving improperly applying for and receiving an Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” according to BrokerCheck, and in October he was barred from the securities industry for not testifying in its investigation of the matter.

His attorney, Michelle Atlas, did not return a call for comment on Friday.

In October, Finra suspended Kumar for two months after “she made negligent misrepresentations in an application to the Small Business Administration” seeking a disaster loan, according to BrokerCheck.

Her attorney, Jon-Jorge Aras, declined to comment.

The post More brokers in hot water over bad Covid-19 loans appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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