The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred a former Charles Schwab & Co., rep for allegedly pilfering Social Security payments from a couple who held a joint brokerage account at the firm.

Ethan Christopher Martin, a registered representative with Schwab in Austin, Texas, since November 2021, was fired by the firm in September 2022. Finra said a Form U5 termination notice filed by Schwab in October 2022 revealed that Martin “was terminated in connection with allegations of the misappropriation of customer funds from the account of a senior investor.”

He accepted and consented to Finra’s findings without admitting to or denying the allegations, according to the regulator, which is an industry organization that operates under the auspices of the SEC.

According to Finra, between June and September 2022 Martin “converted and improperly used funds from a married couple who had a joint account with the firm.” One of the customers was a senior, according to Finra.

"We are disappointed in the conduct of this former representative who did not adhere to the high ethical standards that we expect of our employees," a Schwab spokeman said . "Once we discovered his actions, we terminated his employment, escalated the matter to FINRA, and made the clients whole."



The couple wanted to begin direct deposits of monthly Social Security payments into their  account and contacted Martin who worked as a brokerage service specialist and was responsible for such calls at the firm’s customer service phone number, according to Finra.

Finra said Martin emailed the couple instructions for setting up a direct deposit. But instead of providing the customers’ account number, he provided the account number for his own personal Charles Schwab brokerage account. He then converted three electronic deposits of the customers’ Social Security payments, totaling $6,981, and used it for personal investments and expenditures, Finra said.

As a result, Martin violated Finra Rule 2150(a), which provides that “[n]o member or person associated with a member shall make improper use of a customer’s securities or funds,” and Rule 2010, which  requires associated persons to “observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade” in the conduct of their business, Finra said.

Finra said Martin also violated Rule 8210 by failing to comply with a request for information in connection with the investigation. “A failure to comply with a request for documents and information pursuant to Finra Rule 8210 also violates Finra Rule 2010,” Finra said.

Martin’s only job in the industry was with Schwab, according to BrokerCheck.