According to a recent FINRA Disciplinary Actions announcement, Ronald Willard Vaught (CRD #2605545, Melbourne, Florida) submitted an AWC in which he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Vaught consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to disclose an outside business activity to his member firm. The findings stated that Vaught failed to update an elderly customer’s firm Trustee Certification form to disclose amendments to her living trust agreement and identify himself as the successor trustee and beneficiary. Upon the customer’s death, Vaught became trustee to the trust. Vaught was aware that firm policy required disclosure and written approval prior to engaging in any outside activity, and that the firm prohibited representatives from serving as trustee to a firm customer. Despite this awareness, Vaught acted as trustee for the trust without prior notice to, or authorization from, the firm. Vaught disclosed his role as trustee only after the firm confronted him.
The findings also stated that Vaught falsified, or caused to be falsified, the signature of the customer and the signature date on a business-related form. The customer could not have signed and dated the form, or authorized Vaught to sign and date on her behalf, because she was deceased. Vaught violated firm policy by falsifying or causing to be falsified the customer’s signature on a document without her authorization, and altering the signature date.
The findings also included that Vaught converted funds from the trust by improperly making a distribution to his daughters from the trust without first deducting prior monetary gifts as required by the trust and by making distributions to himself that were not authorized by the trust. The customer intended all monetary gifts given to Vaught’s daughters during her lifetime to be deducted from the amount distributed to each daughter pursuant to the trust. Vaught’s $150,000 distribution to his daughters failed to comport with the customer’s intended use of the funds because Vaught failed to deduct volleyball dues payments the customer had made for the benefit of his daughters. Vaught improperly retained $6,860 to which he was not entitled from the trust funds. Vaught also made four payments totaling $42,599.74 for his own benefit from the trust funds. The trust did not authorize these payments.
For FINRA’s full findings, see FINRA Case #2014040379101.
According to his FINRA Broker Report, Vaught was registered with Raymond James Financial Services from January 2005 through February 2014.
The foregoing information, which is all publicly available on FINRA’s website, is being provided by The White Law Group.
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