August 3, 2022 – An AWC was issued in which Mehlin (CRD #736694) was fined $7,500 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for three months. Without admitting or denying the findings, Mehlin consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he exercised discretion in customer accounts without prior written authorization. The findings stated that Mehlin effected trades across the customers’ accounts without receiving same-day authorization. Although the customers approved Mehlin’s exercise of discretion, none of them provided written authorization for him to exercise discretion in their accounts. Nor did Mehlin’s member firm accept any of the accounts as discretionary and, in fact, it prohibited the exercise of discretion except in certain circumstances not applicable here. In addition, Mehlin inaccurately stated on annual compliance questionnaires that he did not exercise discretion in customer accounts, and improperly asked one of the customers to deny his use of discretion in any conversation with the firm. The findings also stated that Mehlin used an unapproved communication platform to conduct securities business. Mehlin used text messages to and from his private phone number to communicate with one of the customers in whose account he exercised discretion. The messages concerned securities business including, inter alia, discussions about investment choices, account performance, and completing firm forms. Because the text messages were not done through an approved firm platform, they were not captured, supervised, or retained by the firm. In addition, Mehlin inaccurately stated in an annual compliance questionnaire that
he did not use personal text messages to discuss securities business with customers.
The suspension is in effect from September 6, 2022, through December 5, 2022. (FINRA Case #2019061691601)