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FINRA Sanctions Ex-Pruco Rep Alexis Cooke: Forgery Allegations
Former Pruco Securities stockbroker Alexis Cooke (CRD# 5598604) was recently sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and barred from acting as a broker. Formerly a representative in the firm’s office in New York City, Ms. Cooke was found to have engaged in “falsification, impersonation, and forgery” connected to customers’ variable annuity applications.
According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2018059175201) issued in August 2021, Alexis Cooke falsified four variable annuity applications for two firm customers in 2017. In one instance, she represented two applications to NYLife Securities “as authentic applications for transactions that the two customers had authorized” when in reality the applications were submitted with neither the customers’ knowledge nor their consent. The findings state further that she later completed and submitted two applications on behalf of the customers, attesting that she had met with them and witnessed their signatures when in reality “she never met with customer.” FINRA’s findings state that she received $68,000 in commissions connected to the four falsified annuity applications.
FINRA’s findings go on to state that Cooke “created fake email addresses” for the above-described firm customers, and that she used these email addresses “to electronically forge the customers’ signatures on two variable annuity applications,” subsequently submitting the applications to NYLife Securities without the clients’ knowledge or consent. The firm later “became suspicious as to why the applications remain unfunded,” FINRA states, and Cooke allegedly used the fictitious email addresses “to impersonate the customers in correspondence with the firm, purportedly requesting to cancel the applications.” Such false signatures and impersonations were forbidden by firm policy, FINRA states.
FINRA’s findings finally state that Alexis Cooke denied creating and using the fictitious email addresses during an on-the-record interview with FINRA in June 2021. When FINRA showed her “evidence that an email sent from the fake customer email addresses shared the same IP address as Cooke’s personal email address,” the AWC Letter states, she admitted creating the addresses. She additionally admitted forging one signature but denied forging the other, although FINRA notes that “audit trail data provided by NYLIFE after Cooke’s interview reflected that the other variable annuity application was also accessed and signed using a fake email address Cooke created.” FINRA therefore concluded that she provided false and misleading testimony in violation of FINRA rules. In connection with all of the above findings, FINRA barred Alexis Cooke from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Alexis Cooke holds 11 years of securities industry experience. Her previous registrations include Pruco Securities (Brooklyn, New York; 2018-2021), NYLife Securities (Lake Success, New York; 2016-2018), Wells Fargo Advisors (New York City; 2013-2016), JP Morgan Securities (New York City; 2012-2013), and Chase Investment Services Corporation (New York City; 2009-2012). Her credentials include the passage of three securities industry qualifying examinations: the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, or Series 63; the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, or SIE; and the Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination, or Series 6. She presently holds no state licenses. (Information accessed on January 2, 2021.)