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Financial Advisor, Michael Garris, Terminated By Wells Fargo, And Suspended By FINRA For One Year

Michael Garris (CRD 1540384) is a former Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo in Los Angeles, CA.  Michael Garris (CRD 1540384) has been in the securities industry since 1987 and previously worked at Morgan Stanleyu and Citigroup. 

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in June 2018, Michael Garris (CRD 1540384) was “discharged” by Wells Fargo “after a review concluded he placed trades in a customer’s accounts without sufficient authorization.”  This termination ultimately prompted FINRA to initiate an investigation and ultimately take disciplinary action against Michael Garris (CRD 1540384), suspending him for a period of one year.

In the letter of acceptance, waiver and consent entered into between FINRA and Michael Garris (CRD 1540384), FINRA stated:

In June 2014, Respondent began providing brokerage services to a customer who maintained two accounts with the Firm (the “Accounts”). In February 2017, the customer passed away. In March 2017, Respondent’s assistant notified Respondent that she had received a telephone call from an individual informing her that the customer had passed away. Subsequently, during March 2017, Respondent exchanged emails and had a telephone call with the customer’s nephew, in which the customer’s nephew confirmed that the customer had passed away. The Firm’s written procedures for associates stated that registered representatives must notify the Firm upon receiving notice of a customer’s death. However, Respondent did not report the customer’s death to the Firm. Six months later, in October and November, 2017, Respondent executed 26 unauthorized transactions, involving an aggregate amount of $381,452.98, in the Accounts. Those unauthorized transactions generated $9,313.07 in commissions. The Firm subsequently reversed the 26 unauthorized transactions, returning the Accounts to their positions prior to the customer’s death and refunding all associated commissions. 

For a copy of FINRA sanction, click http://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/fda_documents/2018059146801%20Michael%20David%20Garris%20CRD%201540384%20AWC%20jm.pdf

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients.  To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

In addition, Financial Advisors may only place trades in a customer’s account after receiving prior authorization.  The failure to obtain prior authorization for a transaction will cause the trade to be unauthorized and subject to rescission.  To the extent the security is sold at a loss, the customer may be entitled to recover the losses incurred on the trade. 

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis.  Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities.  Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters.  We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

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