The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has permanently barred Staten Island, New York stockbroker Louis Cook from the securities industry based on findings that he fraudulently induced his customers to give him access to withdraw funds and stole money from their accounts.

According to FINRA’s findings, between August and December 2016, Mr. Cook sent letters to at least 11 of his customers at National Planning Corporation, requesting the customers to sign a third-party authorization form. The form designated Cook to make changes and/or withdraw funds from the customers’ variable annuities.

FINRA found that many of the customers were elderly investors or the parents of developmentally disabled children. FINRA held that Cook misrepresented the nature and purpose of the authorization forms in inducing the customers to sign them.

Cook used the forms to withdraw more than $150,000 from his customers’ variable annuity accounts and converted those funds to his own personal use, according to the findings of fact.

Cook’s conduct violated FINRA Rule 2010 which requires stockbrokers to “observe high standards of commercial honor and equitable principles of trade.” Cook was also found in violation of FINRA Rule 2510(a) which provides that “[n]o member or person associated with a member [firm] shall make improper use of customer funds . . . or use them for some purpose other than, as directed by the customer.”

Cook neither admitted nor denied the allegations, but accepted FINRA’s bar from further association with any member firm and agreed not to take any action or make any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, FINRA’s findings against him.

According to Cook’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, he previously incurred two customer complaints against him while employed by Securities Service Network and MetLife Securities, Inc.

If you or someone you know lost money as a result of an investment recommended by Louis Cook, National Planning Corporation, Securities Service Network, or MetLife Securities, Inc., please call the Frankowski Firm at 888.741.7503 or fill out this contact form.