The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has started disciplinary proceedings against former RBC Capital Markets analyst, Ji Jun Yang, who is accused of charging approximately $41,000 to his firm-issued corporate credit card for fictitious meal and taxi expenses.
According to FINRA’s complaint, Yang allegedly created Square and PayPal accounts for fictitious food and taxi vendors and linked those accounts to his personal bank account.
Yang joined RBC in July 2013 and worked in its investment banking department. Three years later, he became registered as an investment banking representative through his association with the firm and was promoted to an associate.
Generally, RBC’s travel and expense policies allowed certain employees, including Yang, to expense up to $25 per day for overtime meals, up to $50 per day for weekend meals, and up to $75 per day for travel meals. In addition, employees were allowed to expense taxi fare from the office to their home if they worked past 9:00 p.m., as well as when they were traveling.
To have his business expenses reimbursed, Yang had to submit an expense report through the firm’s travel and expense system along with details of each expense, as well as an original vendor receipt when required. The firm would then review the submitted expense report, pay the outstanding balance on the corporate card, and reimburse Yang for any expenses he paid out of pocket.
FINRA claims that Yang created online payment accounts on Square and PayPal in the names of fictitious vendors, including “Steak and Rice,” “KOGITRUCK,” “Yoshi’s,” “PHILSSTEAK,” “SOMASRTFOOD,” “Odang Udon,” “Yellow Cab Cooperative,” and “San Francisco Taxi Co.”
He purportedly controlled these accounts, which were linked to his personal bank account and not associated with any real food vendors or taxi companies.
According to Yang’s expense reports, the majority of his “meals” from the fictitious entities cost more than $24 and less than $25 each—just under the firm’s daily limit for overtime meals.
RBC fired Yang in January 2019 for “submitting fictitious expenses.” The firm later amended his termination notice following an internal review that found, “over a period of approximately four years, Yang created several fake food vendors and submitted meal receipts from those vendors for reimbursement.”
FINRA claims that Yang failed to respond to its requests for documents and information in October 2020 in connection with the investigation into his alleged fictitious expenses. Yang has not repaid RBC for the funds he received through his expense submissions, the regulator said.