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Barred Fidelity Broker Risked License for $3,700 Computer Reimbursement

By Rita Raagas De Ramos February 8, 2019

Self-regulator Finra has barred a former broker at Fidelity Brokerage Services who allegedly risked his license when he gamed the firm’s computer reimbursement program to pocket $3,700.

According to a February 7 disciplinary action from Finra, Kitwana Thomas has consented to being barred and understands the consequences, without admitting or denying the findings.

Thomas first became registered with Finra in September 2012 as a general securities representative at Fidelity Brokerage Services, which is owned by Fidelity Global Brokerage Group, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FMR LLC.

Fidelity Brokerage filed a Form U5 – the Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration – on Feb. 13, 2017, disclosing that Thomas voluntarily terminated his employment with the firm.

Finra consequently found that Thomas violated Rule 2010, which “requires members and associated persons to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

According to Finra, Fidelity Brokerage has a Computer Equipment Purchase Assistance Program, which reimburses employees for personal computer equipment purchases. Through the program, Fidelity Brokerage reimburses its employees up to 20% of the purchase price for certain personal computer equipment, up to a maximum reimbursement of $2,000, once every three years, according to Finra.

After obtaining the maximum reimbursement allotted to an employee under the program between August and November 2016, Finra says Thomas obtained additional reimbursements of $3,700 to which he was not entitled by using the online login and password information of three other Fidelity employees.

Finra says Thomas purchased computer equipment, submitted purchase receipts using the other employees’ online accounts, and then canceled the orders or returned the equipment. The three other employees provided Thomas with their online login and password information, according to Finra.

On three separate occasions Thomas purchased more than $10,000 in computer equipment, accessed the employees’ online accounts through the login and password information each provided to him, and submitted the purchase receipt for reimbursement through the employees’ accounts, according to Finra. Thomas then canceled the order or returned the computer equipment and the three employees each received $2,000 in reimbursements, Finra says. The three employees then paid Thomas a total of $3,700 from the reimbursements they received, Finra adds.

FA-IQ reached out to Finra to find out if the three other Fidelity Brokerage employees have also received some form of disciplinary action. A Finra spokeswoman declines to confirm whether there has been any disciplinary action or investigation of the three other employees.