Finra Knocks BMO Rep Who Charged Commuting Expenses to the Firm
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority imposed a $5,000 fine and eight-month suspension based on expense-account related allegations on a no-longer-registered New York City broker with 21-years’ experience, including for prime brokerages, and no prior disclosures on his BrokerCheck record.
Finra alleged Anthony DeJohn improperly charged $2,270 to a credit card issued by BMO Capital Markets, where he worked from 2015 to 2020, for his daily bus commute to and from his New Jersey home to his New York City office over a six-month span in 2019, according to a letter of settlement finalized Tuesday. He falsely represented some of the expenses as related to his travel to see clients, according to the regulator.
“These expenses were personal expenses that were not eligible for reimbursement as business expenses under BMO’s policies,” Finra said.
DeJohn, who had also worked at Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse Securities, Bear Stearns & Co., and most recently at a prime brokerage, ED&F Man Capital Markets, did not reply to a message left for him through social media. His lawyer, Michael Miu with Sack & Sack in New York City, did not respond to a call to his office.
In the letter of acceptance, waiver, and consent issued by Finra, DeJohn agreed to the discipline without admitting or denying the industry’s self-regulatory agency’s findings. He repaid the firm within 24 hours of being directed to do so, according to the settlement letter.
While he was not a retail broker, the penalty reflects Finra’s sharpened focus in recent years on following up on expense issues by registered representatives. The penalties have carried a high cost, including industry bars, and have concerned amounts as small as $273.
Finra considered DeJohn’s expense issues a violation of its far-reaching Rule 2010, which requires brokers to “observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.
The regulator began investigating the matter after BMO Capital filed a termination U5 form for DeJohn, disclosing that he had been discharged and alleging he had “used his corporate card for personal expenses.”
“For four of the reimbursement requests, DeJohn made handwritten notations on the bus travel receipts he submitted to the Firm, in which he suggested that he undertook the bus travel for client meetings away from his office,” Finra said.
DeJohn wrote “Travel ticket Boston” and the name of a client on one receipt, that he was traveling to another client on a second, and the name of a Pennsylvania-based client on two other receipts, Finra said. “In fact, the receipts did not represent the costs of DeJohn’s travel to client meetings, but rather were for monthly and ten-trip bus passes for his daily commute,” Finra said.
Spokespersons for BMO Capital Markets and ED&F Man Capital Markets did not respond to requests for comment.
On his LinkedIn account, DeJohn is described as “a profit-driven sales leader” who has built and managed “high-volume financing revenue streams through business development and relationship management” and has “expertise in prime brokerage, synthetic prime brokerage, enhanced leverage vehicles, margin, and global clearance of securities.”
What is now the sole blemish on DeJohn’s industry record amounts only to “a horrific brain fart,” Bill Singer, a securities lawyer who blogs about brokers’ legal battles, wrote in a post on the decision.
“He didn’t harm any investors,” Singer continued. “Regardless, DeJohn embarked upon a course whereby he essentially took about $2,200 in money that wasn’t his to take, and he took it from his employer BMO, which amounts to biting the hand that feeds you.”