The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred former Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. broker John L. Gathright for allegedly misappropriating $717,000 from 10 investors and attempting to misappropriate funds from one additional customer between July 2010 and September 2011.
According to the findings, Gathright effected the misappropriations by having customers sign incomplete Variable Annuity (VA) Surrender Request forms, which are used to by customers to surrender some or all of their annuity and request the proceeds be paid to them by check .
FINRA found that Gathright, without his customers' knowledge or consent, completed the VA Surrender Request forms by filling in his work address at Merrill Lynch or a relative's residential address, thus causing the VA companies to mail the customers' annuity checks to the addresses Gathright had provided.
According to FINRA'S investigation, Gathright then deposited these annuity checks into personal bank accounts or other accounts he controlled, withdrawing funds for his own benefit and misappropriating an aggregate of $717,000.
Though many forms in the securities and investment fields may seem lengthy and cumbersome, the information requested oftentimes can have a significant impact on how funds are invested, managed and eventually retrieved. If you have invested with John L. Gathright or suspect that your broker or firm has misled or otherwise provided incorrect information on forms such as the VA Surrender Request form, and this misconduct has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.