FINRA barred Jane Elizabeth O'Brien after she allegedly borrowed $3 million from clients without permission from and without the knowledge of either of her two employing firms, Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (1990-2007) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (2007-2011). The investigation states O'Brien documented some of these loans through signed promissory notes.
O'Brien was also charged with improperly converting funds for personal use, a case that has also found its way into the federal court system.
FINRA discovered that O'Brien borrowed approximately $3 million from six clients on nine separate occasions from 2004 through 2011 and furthermore, recommended that one elderly customer invest in a private placement to the tune of $240,000.
The findings state that instead of investing the funds in a private placement, O'Brien converted them for her own personal use, which allegedly included mortgage payments and to settle legal fees in a dispute with another client.
Specifically, FINRA charged O'Brien with "engaging in securities fraud and conversion." Federal prosecutors have filed a case against O'Brien in connection with the alleged $240,000 fraud, which remains pending in U.S. District Court.
FINRA's Department of Enforcement noted that to date, the majority of O'Brien's loans have not been repaid and that O'Brien's failure to provide testimony factored into the Authority's decision to formally banish her from the securities industry.
If you have invested with Jane Elizabeth O'Brien or any other broker or financial professional whom you suspect of fraudulent activity that 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.