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Florida Broker Barred For Allegedly Converting Customer Funds

Joshua David Nicholas (CRD#: 6529944) is a previously registered broker and previously registered investment adviser (RIA). In the first half of 2020, Mr. Nicholas served as a representative for Merrill Lynch at a branch office in Stuart, Florida. In July of 2020, this broker was separated from his employment at Merrill Lynch following allegations of misconduct.

On January 22nd, 2022, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) completed its investigation, barring Mr. Nicholas after finding that he improperly converted client funds. In this article, our Miami financial advisor fraud attorney provides an overview of the allegations against former Florida securities broker Joshua David Nicholas.

Barred Broker: Former Merrill Lynch Broker Joshua David Nicholas 

The Background 

In July of 2020, Florida broker Joshua David Nicholas submitted his voluntary resignation from his member firm (Merrill Lynch) following allegations related to the improper forging of a client’s signature on an important document. After learning of his termination, FINRA opened up its own investigation into the specific allegations of misconduct raised into this case.

FINRA Investigation and Findings 

FINRA comprehensively investigated the allegations of professional misconduct raised against former Florida-based Merrill Lynch securities broker Joshua David Nicholas. According to the findings from FINRA, Mr. Nicholas participated in futures contract trading as part of outside business activities. Also known as OBAs, outside business activities occur away from a registered representative’s member firm—though financial advisor’s are required to disclose and seek approval for these types of commercial endeavors.

In this case, two of the outside clients of Mr. Nicholas lost a collective $1 million due to failed future contract trades. Mr. Nicholas allegedly made an effort to recoup those losses with an additional investment in a $300,000 promissory note. However, according to FINRA, Mr. Nicholas converted the funds invested in the promissory note—re-rerouting most of them to his personal bank account. FINRA assessed that Mr. Nicholas used nearly $60,000 in client funds to cover his own personal expenses. Further, he produced false brokerage account statements to conceal the fraud. The fabricated documents were allegedly used to soothe customer suspicions. 

Broker Sanctions

Without admitting to or denying any of the allegations or findings by the FINRA investigators, former Merrill Lynch financial advisor Joshua David Nicholas has consented to the agency’s proposed penalties. Most notably, Mr. Nicholas has accepted a permanent bar from the securities industry. He is forbidden from associating with a FINRA member firm in any professional capacity.

Call Our Miami-Dade County Financial Advisor Fraud Lawyers Today

At ​Carlson & Associates, P.A., our South Florida securities fraud attorneys have what it takes to hold brokers and broker-dealers accountable. If you were a victim of broker conversion of funds, we can help. Get in touch with us by phone or use our online contact form to arrange your confidential appointment. Our securities fraud lawyers serve communities all around South Florida, including in Miami, Miami Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter.

Resource:

brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/6529944

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