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Egress declines alum award; AC grad fined for exam fraud.

Byline: Shaun Sutner

WORCESTER - A 2001 Assumption College graduate who was slated to receive the school's Young Alumnus award has declined the honor after a school official asked him about his recent $5,000 fine and suspension as a financial adviser for allowing someone else to take a licensing exam for him.

Kyle Egress of Plantsville, Conn., a longtime Assumption donor and member of the school's alumni board for six years, agreed in January to the disciplinary action by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to documents provided by the Washington, D.C.-based agency.

The school first became aware of the action by FINRA, the country's largest independent securities regulator, after being informed about it Friday by the Telegram & Gazette, said Rennee M. Buisson, an Assumption College spokeswoman.

School officials said they plan to check the backgrounds of award recipients in the future.

Mr. Egress and four others had been scheduled to accept alumni awards during the annual reunion on campus June 4. As of Friday, Mr. Egress was still listed in an online version of the school's alumni magazine as the Young Alumnus honoree, along with his photo.

No one will be given the Young Alumnus award this year, Ms. Buisson said. Meanwhile, she said, Mr. Egress' name will not appear in printed materials for the reunion weekend.

The FINRA action against Mr. Egress stems from October 2008, when a person referred to only as "DW" took an exam required for securities representatives planning to sell long-term care insurance in California, according to the letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Mr. Egress and his lawyer signed with FINRA Jan. 21.

Mr. Egress had a prospect in California to whom he wanted to sell long-term care insurance, but Mr. Egress was not licensed. So "DW," using Mr. Egress' social security and insurance license numbers and address, took the test for him, according to FINRA. Mr. Egress never sold the insurance to the prospect.

Mr. Egress' suspension ran from Feb. 22 to March 21 of this year, and a synopsis of the decision is currently posted on the agency's website.

When reached at his office at Citi Smith Barney in West Hartford Friday morning, Mr. Egress declined comment.

But a few hours later, after the Telegram & Gazette informed school officials of his fine and suspension, Assumption's vice president of institutional advancement, Thomas Ryan, called Mr. Egress and Mr. Egress "withdrew his name," Ms. Buisson said.

"We told him we were made aware of the situation," Ms. Buisson said.

According to Ms. Buisson, Mr. Egress said he had understood that the award was for his service to the alumni association, but when told that the award criteria also included contributions to the recipient's community, Mr. Egress declined the award.

"In the future, we will make sure that each of the nominees is fully aware of all the criteria," Ms. Buisson said. "We'll also do some investigation on people. I'm not talking about a huge background check."

Ms. Buisson said that even had the college done a Google search of Mr. Egress' name when the decision to give him the award was made in November, the FINRA disciplinary action would not have come up because FINRA did not make the move until January and did not post the decision until March.

A Google search Friday turned up the FINRA action as the fifth listing including Mr. Egress' name.

FINRA oversees 631,110 registered securities representatives, 163,500 branch offices and 4,550 brokerage firms. The group is funded by its members.

Mr. Egress has earned membership on Assumption's President's Council because he has donated to the school at the level of $500 a year, each year since he graduated, Ms. Buisson said.

Mr. Egress is also a member of the Connecticut Alumni Regional Club Committee and is an admissions ambassador who works with the college admissions department at regional events, according to a short biography in the alumni magazine.

"People felt he had done a lot of service to the alumni association," Ms. Buisson said.

Contact Shaun Sutner by e-mail at ssutner@telegram.com.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Mr. Egress
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 22, 2011
Words:687
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