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Jake Dawson: Former Merrill Lynch Broker Suspended Over Loan Allegations

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Lynchburg, Virginia broker Jake Dawson (CRD# 5418933) suspended him over allegations he took a loan from a customer in violation of firm policy. A former representative of Merrill Lynch who is currently an advisor at Caitlin John, Dawson was suspended for 45 days and fined $5,000.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2016050800401) dated November 2018, Jake Dawson was associated with Merrill Lynch when, in June 2016, he borrowed a sum of $250,000 from a firm customer. At the time, according to FINRA, Dawson was “in anticipation of leaving Merrill Lynch” and associating with another member firm. The customer in question was “an attorney with whom he… had a personal friendship.” Dawson allegedly took the loan via a company he created to engage in business at the firm he was planning to join, and he “used the borrowed funds to remodel office space he planned to occupy,” according to FINRA. The findings go on to note that he repaid the loan with interest a few months later, in August 2016, and that he and the customer documented the loan, but he did not notify Merrill Lynch or seek its approval from the loan. FINRA states that this violated FINRA Rule 3240, which forbids registered representatives from borrowing money from a customer unless their firm has written procedures allowing such; FINRA also states that at the time, Merrill Lynch’s written procedures forbade representatives from taking loans from customers unless the customer was a family member of the representative, which in this case the customer was not.

As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, Jake Dawson was suspended from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for 45 days. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Jake Dawson’s disclosure records also list two employment separations. In July 2016 he voluntarily resigned from Merrill Lynch following allegations he sent customer correspondence without management review, conducted customer events without management approval, and used a business development account for a personal expense. Later, in December 2016, he was discharged from Waddell & Reed over allegations he accepted “client new account paperwork collected by an individual [he] knew was not affiliated with the firm or a legal representative of the client and submitting the same under [his] own signature.”

Jake Dawson is currently not registered as a broker; he has been registered as an investment advisor with Caitlin John in Lynchburg, Virginia since 2017. His employment history includes Waddell & Reed, Merrill Lynch, and Wachovia Securities, all in Lynchburg, Virginia. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed five securities industry qualification examinations.

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