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FINRA bars two ex-JP Morgan brokers for theft from elderly widow

People walk by the JP Morgan & Chase Co. building in New York October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
People walk by the JP Morgan & Chase Co. building in New York October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

(Reuters) - Two former brokers for a JP Morgan Chase & Co unit have been barred from the securities industry after they allegedly stole$300,000 from an elderly client's account and exploited her failing mental capacity to carry out the scheme, Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog said on Tuesday.

The brokers, Jimmy Caballero and Fernando Arevalo, worked for JP Morgan Securities LLC in Palmdale, California, until they voluntarily resigned from the firm earlier this year, according to regulatory filings. Both worked at a retail bank affiliated with the firm.

In settlements with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, they agreed to be barred permanently from the securities industry but neither admitted nor denied the regulator's filings, according to the settlements.

JP Morgan, which was not named in FINRA's enforcement action, reimbursed the customer, according to FINRA. A spokesman for JP Morgan, as well as Caballero and Arevalo, could not be reached for comment. FINRA did not identify the bank affiliated with JP Morgan.

The brokers' scheme occurred between April and July, FINRA said. In April, the customer, an elderly widow, deposited about $300,000 from the sale of two annuities in an account Arevalo opened for her at the JP Morgan-affiliated bank where he worked, according to FINRA. In May, Caballero opened an account at another bank, listing himself as a joint account holder with the customer.

Two cashier's checks were then issued from the customer's account where Arevalo and Caballero worked, bringing her balance to zero, FINRA said. Caballero deposited those checks in the joint account at the outside bank that same day. Caballero drove the customer to the bank, which had questioned the transfer, to personally confirm the transaction, according to FINRA.

Arevalo and Caballero used the money for personal expenses, including payments on a real estate loan, car loan and purchases at retail stores, FINRA said.

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Dan Grebler)