FINRA barred former Wedbush Securities Inc. representative Karen Ann Mendez of Southern California for misappropriation of funds which occurred over the March 2008 through April 2012 period. The investigation states Mendez misappropriated the funds by submitting false expense reports and altering similar financial documents.
According to the investigation, while working at Wedbush's Solana Beach office, Mendez was tasked with marketing and advertising duties for the branch, including the placement of advertising in radio and print media.
Associated with these duties, investigators allege Mendez sought 25 individual reimbursements for fictitious expenses totaling $8,218.86; of this padded amount, Wedbush paid $6,022.50.
FINRA charged Mendez with submitting 74 false documents to support the 25 bogus reimbursement requests, including a series of invoices and program materials that mischaracterized items ineligible for advertising or marketing expenses—for instance, investigators found that Mendez used white-out to remove item descriptions from an actual invoice and instead applied the phrase "program advertising" as the description, even though the original expense may have been unrelated to "program advertising."
Investigators also found that Mendez altered invoices by padding the numbers—for instance, requesting a $9,000 reimbursement when actual expenses were just $5,000—and fabricated or altered invoices to include expenses that Mendez never actually experienced, such as program sponsor "fees" that did not exist.
By submitting such inaccurate and false information, including 32 false payment records, an altered credit card statement and duplicate requests for reimbursement for the same expense that had already been paid, Mendez created inaccurate books and records, which Wedbush invariably maintained.
If you have invested with Karen Ann Mendez, Wedbush Securities or with any broker or firm whose misappropriation of funds or falsification of any documents—from expenses and billing, commissions and fees, due diligence reports, prospectuses, trade records, or brokerage account statements—has resulted in a financial loss or otherwise proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.