A former New York Life Insurance investment representative has agreed to a lifetime bar for forging clients’ signatures on annuities contracts and for denying her actions during a disciplinary interview with the the Financial Investment Regulatory Authority (Finra), the regulator announced.

Finra said it found that Alexis Cooke forged four different annuities contracts for clients she had never met, earning $68,000 in commissions between May 2017 and February 2018.

As part of the scam, Cooke “created fake email addresses for the two customers, which she used to electronically forge their signatures on two variable annuity applications via DocuSign. Cooke falsified the two fixed-annuity applications by untruthfully stating in the applications that she had met with the customers, witnessed their signatures, and verified their respective identities,” Finra said.

All the applications were submitted without either customer’s knowledge or consent, despite the fact that Cooke “falsely attested to meeting with them ... [and] reviewing their original driver’s licenses. Those attestations were false at the time Cooke made them because she never met either customer,” Finra said.

Cooke’s scam came to light when New York Life terminated Cooke’s registration, the regulator added.

“Ms. Cooke confirmed that she submitted four annuity applications for customers she never met,” New York Life said in the termination. “Ms. Cooke resigned during an investigation which alleged that [she] and other agents, at the direction of their recruiter, were submitting insurance and annuity applications for customers without the customers’ full knowledge or consent, as well as other related violations, for the purpose of meeting production requirements.”

During Cooke’s June 1 interview with Finra, “Cooke initially denied creating the fake email addresses for the customers and using those email accounts to forge the customers’ signatures on the variable annuity applications,” the regulator said.

“Only after Finra staff presented Cooke with evidence that an email sent from the fake customer email addresses shared the same IP address as Cooke’s personal email address did Cooke admit in testimony to creating both fake email addresses,” Finra said.

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