FINRA Arbitration Panel Hammers Discount Broker with Treble Damages in Elder Abuse Award
A recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration award in favor of a 96 year-old investor included treble damages for elder abuse. Under California’s elder abuse statute, plaintiffs may recover triple their actual damages if there has been “financial abuse.”
David Wolfson alleged that two brokers, Thomas B. Cooper and Peter L. Boorn of StockCross Financial Services, Inc., with various misconduct.
Among other things, Mr. Cooper encouraged leveraging the equity in Mr. Wolfson’s home with a reverse-mortgage transaction in order to invest additional capital. Mr. Cooper also placed Mr. Wolfson on margin.
Mr. Wolfson had been a client of Mr. Cooper for nearly twenty years when Mr. Cooper suddenly dropped the account in 2008. Mr. Cooper allegedly exhausted all of Mr. Wolfson’s savings, including using insurance money Mr. Wolfson received to replace his car, to invest. When all of Mr. Wolfson’s funds had been used up, Mr. Cooper quit.
The arbitrators awarded Mr. Wolfson compensatory damages in the amount of $320,000, and treble damages ($960,000) for elder abuse. The award also included attorneys’ fees, interest, costs, and expenses.
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