FINRA Arbitration Fraud and Misrepresentation Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Jose Luis Vinas (CRD #4014454, Registered Representative, Houston, Texas) was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. The sanction was based on findings that Vinas converted approximately $3.3 million from customers, mostly Mexico-based, while he was associated with member firms and served as the registered representative responsible for these customers’ brokerage accounts. The findings stated that Vinas asked customers to sign blank documents, including firm documents that were printed in English when none of the customers spoke or read English, but they complied with Vinas’ request. The findings also stated that a variable credit line account was opened at Vinas’ firm in the customers’ name, and Vinas submitted or caused to be submitted applications requesting increases in the credit line that the firm approved, but the customers had not authorized the opening of the credit account or the subsequent credit increases, nor were they aware of the existence of the credit account. The findings also included that Vinas forged, or caused to be forged, customer signatures on Letters of Authorization (LOAs) and had a customer sign blank LOAs, which he submitted to his firm purportedly authorizing the transfer of customer funds without these customers’ authorization or knowledge. FINRA found that Vinas submitted, or caused to be submitted, to another member firm fraudulent verbal LOAs without the customers’ authorization or knowledge, which allowed him to wire funds from the customers’ accounts. In addition, FINRA determined that Vinas presented false account documents to the customers, which reflected fictitious account balances although he had closed the account after taking the last remaining funds from the account. Moreover, FINRA found that Vinas failed to respond to FINRA requests to appear and provide testimony. (FINRA Case #2009017198901).