FINRA suspended former Morgan Stanley Smith Barney broker Lisa Ann Timmerman and fined her $5,000 for writing a series of checks against her personal brokerage account when the account had insufficient funds with which to cover the checks.
According to the investigation, Timmerman wrote checks totaling $78,908 over 156 separate occasions against a brokerage account that FINRA believes Timmerman knew or should have known had insufficient cash on hand to cover the checks.
Furthermore, investigators charged Timmerman with attempting to deposit $20,000 into this account via an automatic fund transfer from her personal bank account in order to cover several additional checks she wrote. This transfer, however also was apparently insufficiently funded at the time the drawn checks became due at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
As a result, Timmerman's bank reported the $20,000 must be rejected due to insufficient funds and the account then reflected a negative balance, triggering an automatic internal Morgan Stanley review of Timmerman's account activity.
It was this internal review that uncovered the scale of Timmerman's misconduct and led to her termination from the firm.
The alleged misconduct which occurred between August 2010 and July 2011 pertained to checks ranging from $3.95 to $3,000 and also correlated with an inaccurate statement on Timmerman's account that stated that there were either sufficient uncleared funds with which to pay the nearly $80,000-worth of checks or that Timmerman herself falsely indicated that she had deposited sufficient funds.
Because of this allegedly erroneous information, Morgan Stanley paid the checks that came due, even though Timmerman did not cover the checks drawn with funds until several business days later.
In consenting to the findings, Timmerman neither admitted nor denied the allegations, instead claiming she took "corrective action" by "immediately" calling the firm's operations department with information that she meant to transfer $2,000 and not $20,000. The firm nonetheless terminated Timmerman's employment for "executing transfers between personal accounts with insufficient funds."
If you have invested with Lisa Ann Timmerman, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney or any broker or firm whose personal financial issues have 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.