The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. on Thursday suspended a former JP Morgan Securities financial adviser for two months after he allegedly broke industry rules when he made “negligent misrepresentations” in a loan application for the Federal Covid Relief.
Councilor Tameem Habib was also fined $2,500, according to the Finra regulations. Habib has 5 years of experience in the securities industry and was registered with JP Morgan Securities in Tarzana, California from 2019 to 2020. Habib has neither admitted nor denied Finra’s findings in the matter, according to the rule.
Habib could not be reached by phone Friday for comment.
In 2020, the federal government launched several programs to help small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Economic Disaster Loan program, which was administered by the Small Business Administration.
In January 2021, Finra declared Investment News it was surveying registered representatives who had obtained coronavirus relief loans for possible violations related to work they performed outside of their brokerage firms. Since then, Finra has penalized several registered representatives for incorrectly or improperly applying for federal loan programs for small businesses under economic pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In or about March 2020, while a registered representative of JP Morgan, Habib applied to the SBA for an economic disaster loan on behalf of an auto service business he intended to ‘operate as a sole proprietorship’, according to Finra. “Habib did not carefully review the loan application before submitting it to the SBA.”
On the request, Habib “negligently misrepresented” that the company made revenue between January 2019 and January 2020, when in fact it did not, according to Finra. He then received $1,000 in April 2020, but did not get approval from JP Morgan Securities to have an outside company before securing the loan. Brokers must obtain approval from their firm for any so-called outside business activity.
Habib has yet to repay the $1,000 to the SBA, according to Finra.