Urgent question regarding felony charge (FINRA, future in IB, etc.)

Hey everyone, so I am a freshman at Rutgers currently, and around two weeks ago I was arrested and charged with 2C:20-3A, which is theft by unlawful taking. Basically, I found AirPods in a lecture hall and technically that is a crime. It is unfortunately a felony because the AirPods were valued at $250, and anything above $200 becomes a felony in the state of New Jersey.


No college student or anyone for that matter ever really gets convicted and charged with felonies like this if it is a first-time offense (which it is for me). My lawyer is assuring me that I will not be charged with this 4th-degree felony.

To fast-forward, I have been scouring the FINRA website and its regulations. The U4 form seems to ask if "you have been charged with a felony". This is something no matter what my charge gets downgraded to/charge gets dropped/etc., I must respond yes to it. Sucks, but it's the truth. But I probably and most likely won't get convicted.

It seems to me that FINRA will only disqualify you if you are CONVICTED of a felony or certain misdemeanors. Despite asking about a felony charge on U4, they seem to only disqualify you if are CONVICTED

I wanted to ask some people in the industry if they know someone that has been in a similar situation. Or maybe even themselves have been in this situation. Is my future in IB over? I am still a freshman so it's best for me now to know ASAP. Because if I can't even qualify or register with FINRA years from now, why even try for investment banking?

Any advice would be appreciated in this matter.

EDIT: Additionally, I also wanted to add and ask. I know FINRA does the fingerprint background check with the FBI database. The charge I have will be getting an expedited expungement. I wanted to ask if anyone knows if expunged/sealed records show on the FBI background check. I am getting a mixed bag of answers on this website and other websites like Reddit, Google, etc.

Comments (13)

BulldogKnight, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I didn't have the intention of stealing them. I found them, posted it on a huge Snapchat story if they are anybody's and no one responded. So I just used them until the owner tracked me down. Didn't have the intention of stealing it.

analyzinganalyst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why u wouldn't you just say you accidentally picked them up? They all look the same. And what type of loser calls police on some college kid for taking their AirPods? (And then giving them back)

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chimp0001112, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's literally stealing brother. You found someone else's property and decided to use it as if you owned it. Obviously it's a stupid charge, but placed in this situation, not many people I know would actually walk around and use the AirPods for themselves. 

No offense but from strictly a recruiters POV, a Rutgers student charged with a felony doesn't exactly scream employable, or even worth asking for an explanation. 

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ItsMeImHim, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not a lawyer but as long as you are not convicted  you will be fine. You will just need to disclose it on your U4 application, non disclosure may result in termination. Again like other posters suggested I would reach out to a lawyer who specializes in FINRA rules and regs.

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  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A

You would have to disclose the charge on your U4, but you are correct that it is not disqualifying if not convicted.

I would definitely get a top-flight lawyer to fight this which it seems you already have. I agree it is incredibly unlikely they throw the book at a college student for something small like this.

Als even if you are charged and have to disclose, this is clearly a BS "felony" and it will not become a problem. The reason the U4 asks about charges vs. convictions is they want to be aware of someone who was charged with murder or securities fraud, but it ended in a mistrial etc. 

Expunged records are not available to prospective private-sector employers. Maybe different if you needed a government security clearance or something.

TLDR; have to disclose but this type of charge is not a problem for IB.

vagabondmed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

only an issue if convicted not charged of a crime

BulldogKnight, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Exactly my thoughts! I was always told to never talk to the police and never did but when they called me in for questioning, I was honest and cooperated because quite frankly, I HAD NO CLUE IT WAS A CRIME. The arresting officer even said it's an unlucky day to be in New Jersey since most states don't have laws like this.

Mmmmmlake, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Ut neque veniam delectus harum. Est vel ut quia provident architecto inventore. Numquam quis accusamus quisquam ut in nemo quia.

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