FINRA fined Prudential Annuities Distributors $950,000 this month for its failure to detect and prevent the theft by its agent, Travis Wetzel, of almost $1,300,000 from a customer’s variable annuity. The FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent may be found here.
Mr. Wetzel, who was a former registered representative of LPL Financial, allegedly submitted multiple forged wire transfer requests from the variable annuity, to be paid to a third party account in Mr. Wetzel’s wife’s maiden name.
FINRA alleged that Prudential failed to investigate red flags and audits associated with the repeated payments to third parties. FINRA stated, “PAD failed to establish and maintain reasonable supervisory procedures and controls to supervise third-party distributions and prevent fraudulent withdrawals from VA accounts.”