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John-Aaron Lehnert: Laguna Niguel Financial Advisor Suspended

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Laguna Niguel, California broker and investment advisor John-Aaron Lehnert (CRD# 5989046) suspended him over allegations he took unapproved loans from customers. A former representative of Morgan Stanley, Lehnert was suspended for five months and fined $7,500.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2017053139401) dated October 2018, John-Aaron Lehnert was associated with Morgan Stanley when, between December 2013 and September 2015, he took loans from three firm customers totaling $44,700, for which he did not provide the firm with advance notice or receive its written approval, and about which he made misrepresentations in annual compliance questionnaires. FINRA’s findings go on to say that he borrowed $29,700 from one firm customer through a series of loans governed by an oral agreement; he agreed to repay them at an interest rate of 6%, and repaid a total of $13,060 of the sum he borrowed. He also borrowed $9,500 from a second customer, according to FINRA, in a transaction governed by a promissory note with an interest rate of 31.5% and monthly repayments of $250, which he repaid “in full plus interest,” according to FINRA. He borrowed a sum of $5,500 from a third customer, according to FINRA, and repaid $2,000. FINRA states that he did not seek the firm’s approval for any of these loans, and did not disclose them until the firm questioned him about them.

According to FINRA, Lehnert gave “false or misleading” statements in two annual compliance questionnaires, in 2015 and 2016, in which he attested that he had not borrowed money from any firm customer in the preceding 24-month period. FINRA’s findings go on to state that when the firm interviewed Lehnert as part of an internal investigation, he falsely attested that “none of the Loans were documented by a promissory note and that he received some of the loans from [one of the customers] prior to his employment” at the firm. FINRA’s findings state that these activities constituted violations of FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, he was suspended from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity for five months. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $7,500.

John-Aaron Lehnert is currently not registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes Morgan Stanley in Laguna Niguel, California. He currently holds zero state licenses and has passed three securities industry qualification examinations.

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