Bradley Everett Gardner (Gardner) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) pursuant to FINRA Rule 9216 of FINRA’s Code of Procedure to settle allegations he accepted a check from an elderly customer and deposited the funds in his personal account. As a result, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred Gardner from the financial industry for life.
Gardner (FINRA CRD No. 4423724) entered the financial industry in 2001 as a general securities representative. From June 2005 through February 2012, Gardner was associated with two other FINRA-regulated broker-dealer. From 2012 to until his termination in 2017, Gardner worked for LPL Financial, LLC (“LPL”). Gardner’s FINRA BrokerCheck report disclosed four negative disclosures, including two customer complaints. Gardner is no longer associated with any FINRA member; however, he remains subject to FINRA’s disciplinary powers.
FINRA’s Department of Enforcement investigated Gardner and alleged he obtained a personal check in the amount of $7,400 from one of his elderly customers. According to FINRA, the customer gave Gardner the check for the purposes of prepayer her advisory account fees. Gardner allegedly deposited the funds in his personal account and used the funds for his personal benefit without the customers’ authorization.
Based upon the foregoing misconduct, FINRA alleged Gardner violated FINRA Rule 2010. For example, “[i]t is well established that conversion violates the ‘high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade’ required by FINRA Rule 2010.’” Here, Gardner’s fraudulent act of stealing customers’ funds was not just and equitable.
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