Criminal Record and going from one firm

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Nov 21, 2006 1:10 pm

Hey everyone.

I used to work for Ameriprise Financial.  Before working there, I had a minor criminal record (misdemeanor- petty shoplifting) when I was 17 years old.  Because it was my first and only offense, the judge "covered" the case and select people are able to see that I had a crime.

I used to work for Ameriprise Financial... and they approved my background check so all was clear with them.

BUT... I'm about to go to another bigger and better firm (UBS or Merrill).   What's the chance of them NOT seeing my criminal record, especially as Ameriprise Financial even approved me too.

Will I get denied a job at these other firms because of my misdemeanor?  Remember, the case is covered, and only government officials (i believe) are able to see them.

ANY advice would be great. Thank you.

Nov 21, 2006 1:28 pm

All I have is an opinion, but a misdemeanor for petty shoplifting as a juvenile doesn't sound like something that will cause a problem.  If you can be a bit more specific about what you mean by "covered", perhaps someone like Bill Singer can give you a more qualified opinion than mine.  Was your record expunged?

If I were in your shoes, I would be very forthcoming about the issue.  Mentioning that you had a juvenile misdemeanor that was expunged(?) and to your knowledge doesn't even show on your record, shouldn't cause too much heartburn.  The worst thing you can do is to get caught trying to hide it...then you prospective employer will wonder what else you're trying to hide.  Many of us did stupid things as juveniles.  That's why they call it acting like a juvenile.

Nov 21, 2006 1:33 pm

Apply to a firm you have no interest in and see what comes up.  That way there won’t be any question as to who-sees-what.

Nov 21, 2006 1:35 pm

[quote=FreedomLvr]Apply to a firm you have no interest in and see what comes up.  That way there won’t be any question as to who-sees-what.[/quote]

Interesting concept, but what if one firm does more thorough due diligence than another?

Nov 21, 2006 2:26 pm

As far as I know and please don’t quote me but SB, ML, MS and UBS will not hire you. They will proceed with the interview process but will politely stop as soon as they view the disclosure on your U4 form. One of my good friends is a Manger at Ameriprise and they pretty much take anyone (misdemeanors, bankruptcies, felonies). Pretty sad really.

Which office did you work out of? Were you an FA or at the Managerial level and what is the main cause of leaving? Did you already get a current copy of your U4?

Nov 21, 2006 3:24 pm

You may want to join Johnny WADred at WR. Evidentally, they’ll take anyone.

Nov 21, 2006 3:35 pm

Good point but I think youyoume wants to make a step up from Ameriprise not take a step down which WR would definitely be.

Nov 21, 2006 4:45 pm

A felony I understand…but a misdemeanor…and a juvenile one at that…I guess I’m surprised that most firms would give such an offense much weight…

Nov 21, 2006 5:00 pm

I know a guy who applied to ML as in intern and got shunned because of a misdemeanor that happened when he was a juvenile. It’s tough these days to get your foot in the door to some of these firms and that’s with no ‘record’ at all.

Nov 21, 2006 5:09 pm

Don't lie, don't cover it up! Getting caught would prove you haven't learned anything and would instantly disqualify you.

Indy has it right. Tell'em the truth and let the cards fall where they may. If by chance you end up against a jerk BOM who says it's a problem, move on to another branch and another interview. Doing it this way will cost you zero sleepless nights and enable you to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. If it costs you in an interview or two, screw'em, their loss. I doubt it will cost you though.

Good luck!

Nov 21, 2006 5:25 pm

The biggest black mark on your resume will be that you worked at Ameriprise.

Nov 21, 2006 7:31 pm

The key to this question is your age.  I am 99% sure that all juvenile records are erased when you reach 18… Unless you are tried as an adult. 

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I doubt you were tried as an adult if you got caught ripping off beer or something stupid when you were 17.  
Nov 22, 2006 12:26 am

**** I was tried as an adult, only because in my state, at the age of 17… you are considered an adult.

But the petty shoplifting was only worth $70.  STUPID STUPID mistake I made when I was young.

BUt I mean “covered”… as in the case is sealed.  I don’t know if it’s completely expunged though.

How STRICT is UBS and their background check? I don’t really care for ML at this point. I rather have the job at UBS.

Nov 22, 2006 12:27 am

Also, I’ve only checked my own records under BrokerCheck.  I don’t know if the EXACT things are on a U-4.  But I don’t have any regulations or compliance issues.  So my U-4 is clear.

It’s just this misdemeanor case… but is “sealed”

Nov 22, 2006 12:47 am

I think you should contact competent legal counsel, and I’d lean towards

coming clean about the matter. I know that’s not what you’d like to hear,

and I certainly agree that it shouldn’t be a factor…but I’m not the one who

makes that kind of decision. However, I’d personally hate to see you get on

with a top notch firm only to have it all blow up 6 months later.

I hope it plays out in your favor!

Nov 22, 2006 1:00 am

Just wondering… how does most top notch investment firms… like ML, MS, UBS, Charles S, etc…

How do they do their background checking??.. Do they do computer research? Or do they through checking by getting fingerprints and go from there?

Or … do they directly call the police department of counties?

What are their methods of doing this?

Nov 22, 2006 9:46 am

How can your U4 be ‘clear’ when you have to answer “yes” to the following:

"Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or “nolo contendre” to, any misdemeanor involving: dishonesty, breach of trust, investments, an investment-related business, fraud, false statements, omissions, wrongful taking of property, embezzlement, bribery, perjury, forgery, counterfeiting, extortion, or a conspiracy to commit any of these offenses?”

Obviously you have so that means you now have a disclosure on your U4 which in my opinion and in the opinion of my buds at UBS and ML will not get you in the door.

Nov 22, 2006 11:05 am

Whether or not your youthful indescretion would inhibit your ability to get hired, I don’t like the fact at all that you’re trying to hide the issue.  That’s just wrong.  If you insist on hiding your past, I hope it bites you in the @ss.

Nov 22, 2006 11:30 am


As I suspected, your “explanation” of your criminal record is not only flawed but you may well have made a materially false filing on any U4 or proprietary employment application if you did not disclose the charge and the conviction.  Again, let me stress that clearly, if you intentionally failed to disclose your criminal history you may well have engaged in conduct for which a statutory disqualification is imposed (wilful mistatement on a filing) — moreover, the underlying misdeameanor may also constitute a separate disqualification.

Word to the wise, your queries give your intent away.  You seem intent on hiding your history in the hope that it will not be discovered. You are not only wrong but, with all due respect, foolish.


Bill you've hit the nail squarely on the head.
Nov 22, 2006 1:56 pm

I agree, there is more to this story.

Imagine Ameriprise hiring such high quality people.