(FINRA Case #2015046052701)
Jodie Ann LaMarre (CRD #2127928, Sarasota, Florida)– An AWC (Accept, Waiver & Consent) was issued in which LaMarre was assessed a deferred fine of $10,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for one year.
Without admitting or denying the findings, LaMarre consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that she recommended an unsuitable strategy involving the consolidation of all of an elderly customer’s assets in a single taxable account without regard to the fact that several of these assets were in tax-deferred accounts or investment vehicles.
The findings stated that LaMarre failed to give adequate consideration to the significant losses her client would incur as a result of the tax consequences of this recommendation. LaMarre did not have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommended strategy was suitable for the customer’s investment profile.
The customer had a total net worth of less than $200,000 and was living on a fixed income. As a senior living on a fixed income, she had relatively low reportable income on her federal tax return, and avoiding the payment of unnecessary federal income taxes was critically important to her long-term financial stability. LaMarre was aware of and understood these negative tax consequences as a result of her review of disclosure paperwork, and also understood in each instance that other options were available that would have eliminated or reduced these consequences.
LaMarre’s unsuitable recommendation resulted in unnecessary tax liability of more than $33,000. Moreover, the substantial spike in the customer’s taxable income for 2014 resulted in a reduction of her 2016 social security benefit by $264.80 a month. The findings also stated that LaMarre made a false statement on disclosure paperwork with the intention to conceal her role in recommending that another customer directly contact his variable annuities providers to make substantial cash withdrawals, even though the customer held both variable annuities in her member firm’s accounts.
LaMarre also made false and/or misleading statements to her firm, and to FINRA, about her role in the transactions. LaMarre had played the integral role in persuading her long-standing customer to make the substantial withdrawals from his variable annuities independently and without the firm’s supervision and oversight. LaMarre provided instructions to the customer on how to make the withdrawals, and provided him with phone numbers and policy numbers. LaMarre’s instructions to the customer were contrary to the firm’s WSPs,(Written Supervisory Procedures) which require that all variable annuity withdrawals must include the completion of disclosure paperwork and be executed through its annuity and insurance operations department.
Additionally, after LaMarre realized that she made a mistake by orchestrating these withdrawals away from the firm’s oversight and supervision, she completed withdrawal paperwork after the fact and included a false statement on that paperwork. The customer complained to LaMarre about her recommendation and the negative impact it would have on his financial situation. However, in violation of the firm’s WSPs, LaMarre did not report the customer’s complaint to management or compliance at the firm.
The suspension is in effect from March 5, 2018, through March 4, 2019.
LaMarre was employed by Robert W Baird & Co Incorporated (CRD# 8158) from June 2008 to February 2015. Prior to that LaMarre was employed by Janney Montgomery Scott LLC (CRED# 463) from February 2015 to November 2017.
If you feel you have been misled regarding investing and wish to discuss legal action, please contact Darren Blum at 1-877-786-2552 (1-877-STOCK LAW), www.stockattorneys.com for a free consultation.