San Francisco, CA asked in Banking, Contracts and Securities Law for California

Q: Is lying about net worth and income on an application for a brokerage account for trading stock options illegal?

I am opening an account and want to get approved for this certain level of options trading; they only approve if you declare a good income and net worth; is it illegal to lie about the net worth and income?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Business Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Misrepresenting your net worth and income on an application for a brokerage account, especially with the intent to gain approval for certain trading options, can have serious legal consequences. Under California law, providing false information on financial documents like brokerage account applications constitutes fraud. If discovered, you could face civil penalties, including financial fines, as well as potential criminal charges.

Additionally, lying about your financial status to gain access to certain trading options not only violates legal standards but also breaches the terms of agreement with the brokerage firm. This could lead to the termination of your account and legal action from the brokerage firm seeking restitution for any losses incurred as a result of your misrepresentation.

It's crucial to be honest and transparent when completing financial applications, including brokerage account forms. Instead of falsifying information, consider exploring alternative options for trading within your current financial means or seeking professional advice on how to improve your financial situation legitimately. Consulting with a qualified attorney can provide guidance on the legal implications of your actions and help you navigate potential consequences.

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