News Release

FINRA Panel Bars New Jersey Broker for Misappropriating Funds From 97-Year-Old Widow's Charitable Foundation

Broker's Wife Suspended and Fined for Related Misconduct

Washington D.C. — A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Hearing Panel has barred John Edward Mullins a former registered representative with Morgan Stanley DW, Inc. for misappropriating $11,156.47 from the charitable foundation of a 97-year old nursing home resident and widow who was his client for more that 20 years.

The panel also sanctioned Mullins' wife, Kathleen Maria Mullins, also a former registered representative with Morgan Stanley — giving her a nine-month suspension and a $20,000 fine for borrowing $100,000 from the same client without the approval of her brokerage firm. Kathleen Mullins also made material misstatements on compliance questionnaires concerning her official role in the charitable foundation and receipt of the loan. The hearing panel is also requiring Kathleen Mullins to re-qualify by examination before she can be registered in any capacity in the securities industry.

The hearing panel noted that in early April 2006, just after the elderly widow fell ill and was under round-the-clock nursing care, John Mullins "embarked on his misuse and conversion of the foundation's funds." The hearing panel determined that within three months of the customer's illness, John Mullins misappropriated $4,000 to pay for his and his wife's vacation at the Four Seasons in London. The hearing panel also found that John Mullins misappropriated $5,500 to reduce his personal bill at Boyds of Philadelphia, an upscale Philadelphia clothing store, and $1,656.47 to buy 23 bottles of wine from Morton's Restaurant in Atlantic City, which he stored in his personal wine locker at the steakhouse.

Unless the matter is appealed to FINRA's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC), or is called for review by the NAC, the hearing panel's decision becomes final after 45 days.

A hearing panel consists of a FINRA Hearing Officer and two members of the securities industry. The NAC is a 14-person committee composed of seven industry and seven non-industry members that decides appeals from disciplinary, membership and exemptions decisions, rules on statutory disqualification applications, and advises on other policy matters.

Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA's BrokerCheck. FINRA makes BrokerCheck available at no charge. In 2008, members of the public used this service to conduct 11.6 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at or by calling (800) 289-9999.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through comprehensive regulation. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business — from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms; writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws; informing and educating the investing public; providing trade reporting and other industry utilities; and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms.

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