Finra panel orders Wells Fargo to pay $219K, expunge broker ‘black mark’

A Finra arbitration panel has ordered Wells Fargo Advisors to pay $219,901 to Gary Helbling, who worked as an adviser at the brokerage firm for six years, through 2014.

The board also recommended that the record of Mr. Helbling’s termination by Wells Fargo be expunged, replacing a reference to falsifying documents to “termination without cause.”

“We’re certainly pleased that this black mark on his record was expunged, because a clean record is worth its weight in gold,” said Mr. Helbling’s attorney Richard Slavin, a principal at Cohen and Wolf.

Mr. Helbling, who has worked at Oppenheimer & Co. since 2014, could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Slavin said Wells Fargo claimed that Mr. Helbling was fired for ordering his assistant to falsify a customer’s address.

“Falsification of a customer record can get you kicked out of the business,” he said. “Their claim was that he did this for an illicit reason and was trying to avoid registration in a state where he wasn’t registered to sell an annuity. They rushed the judgement, put him on administrative leave for six weeks, and then fired him.”

Wells Fargo did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Mr. Helbling was originally seeking compensatory damages of $1.6 million, $3,400 in wrongful offsets, $110,000 in loss of deferred compensation, $100,000 in lost retirement plan distributions, $50,000 for the use of a bank credit line, punitive damages of no less than $100,000, attorneys’ fees of no less than $100,000, expungement, the return of proprietary prospects and leads, and a list of customers and contact information based on Broker Protocol.

Source: Investment News

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