JPMorgan Broker Yonara Valerio Banned Over COVID Relief Funds Investigation

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) claims that it has banned another former JPMorgan broker who is accused of inappropriately obtaining economic relief from the federal government. According to BrokerCheck, JPMorgan has fired Yonara Valerio in October last year alleging that she fraudulently applied for and received a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant, without having an actual business purpose.

The letter of acceptance, waiver, and consent published this week by FINA says that in July this July, Valerio informed them she would not appear for on-the-record testimony regarding her termination from JPMorgan. Furthermore, the regulator said Valerio consented to her being barred without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

Valerio started working in the financial services industry in 2010, first registering with Chase Investment Services. In 2012, she moved to JPMorgan Securities, according to her profile on BrokerCheck.

FIRNA earlier barred Gloria Willis, who voluntarily ended her registration with JPMorgan in 2020. Willis was under investigation over allegations that she provided misleading information for receiving an SBA grant. It’s a little sketchy that the brokers didn’t specify which SBA programs they used.

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In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, SBA launched the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and the Paycheck Protection Program loans schemes.  The two programs are aimed at providing financial assistance to small businesses. They helped millions of people secure hundreds of billions in loans.

Valerio and Willis aren’t the only brokers barred by FIRNA for providing misleading details to obtain SBA grants. Previously, FIRNA suspended and fined two other brokers who are alleged to have improperly applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

In October 2020, Evelyn Batista was fired from Merrill Lynch over allegations that she improperly applied for the loan. Meanwhile, the following month Kenric Sexton was terminated by Wells Fargo after a probe revealed she applied for the same type of loan without owning any business whatsoever, according to reports.

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