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by Mike Caswell
Former RBC Dominion Securities Ltd. employee Michael Francis O'Brien has won a reduction of the fine and suspension that he received from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada for borrowing money from a vulnerable, elderly client. Mr. O'Brien must now pay $50,000 and serve a nine-month suspension. IIROC had previously fined him $100,000 and banned him for two years.
The reductions are contained in an appeal decision that IIROC released on Tuesday, June 30. The matter stemmed from dealings that Mr. O'Brien had with a client, an 81-year-old woman. According to IIROC, Mr. O'Brien borrowed $156,603 from the woman, with a large portion of the money going to his credit cards. He had incurred charges in London, Paris and Las Vegas.
IIROC imposed the initial fine and suspension on April 6, 2020, after a hearing in Calgary, where Mr. O'Brien worked. Mr. O'Brien quickly appealed the penalties to the Alberta Securities Commission. The matter went to a virtual hearing on May 27, 2020, before a two-member panel. The reduction in Mr. O'Brien's sanctions is contained in an order from that panel released Tuesday.
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