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Ex-Merrill Lynch Broker Suspended Over Allegedly Posing as a Client

By Alex Padalka September 14, 2018

Self-regulator Finra has suspended a former Merrill Lynch advisor for allegedly impersonating a client, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent published by the industry body.

Luke Eddy was allegedly approached by someone identified by Finra as “KB” to open an individual retirement account for KB’s mother, identified as “DR,” an elderly woman who suffered from dementia, according to the regulator.

KB allegedly provided a copy of her power of attorney over DR to Eddy but Merrill Lynch allegedly never received it, Finra says. Instead, the wirehouse allegedly received only a new account form where KB signed DR’s name without noting the power of attorney, but Merrill Lynch allegedly did open the IRA in DR’s name, according to the letter of consent.

In April 2017, KB allegedly told Eddy her mother immediately needed the IRA funds to cover healthcare expenses, Finra says. On April 10, 2017, during a call with Merrill Lynch over transferring the client’s IRA to her bank account, Eddy allegedly impersonated her, Finra says. After the firm rejected the request, Eddy allegedly forged the client’s signature on an IRA distribution form, according to the letter of consent.

Eddy began his securities industry career at Merrill Lynch in August 2014, and the firm terminated his registration in June 2017 due to “posing as a client during a telephone conversation with internal firm personnel and signing a client’s name on a firm document in an effort to service the client account,” Finra says.

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He is no longer registered with a Finra-member firm, according to the regulator.

Eddy agreed to a three-month suspension, as well as a $5,000 fine, without admitting or denying any findings, according to the letter of consent.