Another LPL Financial Advisor Charged with Defrauding Clients

Another LPL-affiliated financial advisor has been accused of misusing his trusted position to defraud clients.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Blake Richards, a former Georgia-based registered representative of LPL Financial, misappropriated at least $2 million from at least seven investors over the past five years.

In the complaint, the SEC alleges that Richards told investors he would invest their funds in fixed income assets, variable annuities, and other investment products. Clients were instructed to make checks out to one of two companies under his control: “Blake Richards Investments” or “BMO Investments.” Then, instead of investing the money as promised, Richards allegedly stole the funds for his personal use.

“At least two of these investors are elderly,” alleges the complaint, “and the majority of the apparently misappropriated funds constituted retirement savings and/or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses.”

The complaint further alleges that Richards used fictitious account statements prepared on LPL Financial letterhead to conceal his scheme. He also allegedly misrepresented himself to investors as an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, a professional designation handed out by the College for Financial Planning.

A hearing on the SEC’s request for a preliminary injunction against Richards is scheduled for today. The SEC also is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties. To learn more, access the SEC’s full complaint involving LPL Financial here.

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