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Jonathan George Sweeney (Oceanside, California)

An AWC was issued in which Sweeney was barred from association with any FINRA member in all capacities. Without admitting or denying the findings, Sweeney consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he made material misrepresentations and omitted material information in an unsuitable recommendation 14 Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions July 2018 to his customer. The findings stated that Sweeney caused the customer to surrender two variable annuities and use the proceeds to purchase two new variable annuities. Sweeney, in order to convince the customer to accept his recommendation, intentionally misrepresented material facts to the customer. Specifically, Sweeney falsely represented that the new annuities provided her with the same benefits as the original annuities. In addition, Sweeney knew, yet intentionally omitted to disclose, several material adverse facts to the customer. Sweeney did not tell the customer that she would lose the enhanced living and death benefits to which she was entitled under the original annuities if she surrendered the original annuities if she surrendered the original annuities, nor did he tell her the value of these enhanced benefits. Sweeney also did not tell the customer that she would forfeit the enhanced growth features of the original annuities by switching to the new annuities, and that the accumulation values for her living and death benefits under her original annuities were higher than the cash surrender values, or that cashing out her original annuities would cause her to realize certain losses based on the performance of her various subaccount investments that she would not otherwise incur. The findings also stated that Sweeney effected the annuity exchanges without having a reasonable basis to believe that such sales and purchases were suitable for the customer in view of her age, retirement status, financial needs, and her desire to have guaranteed lifetime income streams and enhanced death benefits to pass on to her beneficiaries. Sweeney also did not have a reasonable basis to believe that his recommendation to the customer was suitable because he knew that the new annuities did not provide her with product enhancements or improvements, but rather caused her to forfeit significant benefits and become subject to a new surrender period. As a result of this conduct, Sweeney violated FINRA Rules 2111, 2330(b) and 2010. The findings also included that. Sweeney reused original signatures from forms his customers had signed to complete new forms that his customers had not signed. He then submitted the new forms to his firm as original documents. (FINRA Case #2016050142601)