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Former Advisor Justine Cantafio Suspended for Alleged Forgery and Unauthorized Conduct

Justine Cantafio, a financial advisor formerly associated with Hornor Townsend & Kent and NYLife Securities in Avoca and Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been doused in hot water over serious allegations of unethical conduct. These included unauthorized activities and forgery in violation of NYLife Securities’ policies and procedures. FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, records indicate her violations occurred when she allegedly forged customer signatures on two life insurance applications without their approval or awareness.

While this might sound like an isolated case, sadly, it is not unheard of in finance. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, more than a third of enforcement actions in 2019 were due to allegations like unauthorized transactions and forgery. This serves as a reminder that investors need to stay vigilant and actively involved in their financial affairs.

The Financial Advisor’s Background and Complaints

Digging deeper into Justine Cantafio‘s background, I see that she holds about four years of experience in the securities industry, with especially strong affiliations with Hornor Townsend & Kent and NYLife Securities. Her capabilities are underlined by her passage of three essential securities industry qualifying exams – the Securities Industry Essentials Examination (SIE), the Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination (Series 6), and the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination (Series 63).

Despite these achievements, the shadow of her infractions essentially overshadows her qualifications. As highlighted in her BrokerCheck report, NYLife Securities discharged her from services following the discovery of her violations.

Breaking Down the FINRA Rule

FINRA Rule 2010 governs the alleged conduct in this case. In simple terms, this rule demands high standards of commercial honor and fair principles from associated persons in their trade practices. Violations like forgery and attempts to settle customer complaints without involving the firm are both contraventions of this rule.

Sounds serious? Absolutely. This rule serves as a guiding principle for all associated persons to maintain a high bar of ethical and professional conduct. When breached, it tarnishes the reputation of the industry, instills mistrust, and can even lead to financial losses for investors.

Consequences and Lessons

Following investigations, FINRA imposed a hefty $7,500 fine and a 12-month suspension on Justine Cantafio, barring her from associating with any member firm. This prominent decision should serve as a deterrent to others contemplating such unethical practices.

As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” This underscores the importance of upholding ethical and moral standards in our dealings, especially in industries built upon trust such as finance. It’s not only about the personal consequences any one individual may face — it’s about maintaining the faith and trust that forms the backbone of any investor-advisor relationship.

In Final Words

If you’re an investor, remain alert in your financial dealings. Reviewing all documents carefully and maintaining open and regular communication with your advisor is advisable. Remember, trust but verify.

Find the Advisor’s FINRA CRM number here.

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