Ameriprise Discovers Broker Forgeries and Keeps Him Over 2 Years

Ameriprise Financial Services, Incorporated learned that one of their brokers had allegedly been forging client documents and continued to keep him for nearly two and one half years, according to a release by Investment News. The broker, William Ray Collins, had allegedly forged the signatures of 10 customers on some 34 documents, which he had turned in to the firm for processing. The forgeries were on cash distribution forms, mutual fund redemption forms, financial advisory service agreements, medical release forms, bank authorization forms and life and disability insurance applications.

Ameriprise through one of its analysts discovered the potential forgeries in December 2005 but there was no investigation conducted at the time. It was not until March 2008, after new broker surveillance procedures were in place, that it was discovered that the investigation had not been completed. After a month it was finished and Mr. Collins was terminated. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) censured Ameriprise and fined them $50,000 for failing to have in place a supervisory system that was reasonably designed to prevent and detect wrongful conduct by their brokers. FINRA permanently barred Mr. Collins from the brokerage industry in 2010 and Ameriprise paid three of his customers $35,000 for damages that resulted from the signatures that were forged.

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