Wells Fargo Broker Banned For Stealing from Elderly Client
On December 16, 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") banned a Wells Fargo stockbroker from ever working in the industry again. According to the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent ("AWC"), Jeffrey McClure stole almost $89,000 from an elderly customer's bank account.
Between 2012 and August 2014, McClure used 36 blank signed checks that he stole from his client to deposit money into his own checking account. No doubt trusting her financial advisor as a fiduciary, the client had given McClure some signed checks to pay her rent and other bills. McClure was terminated from Wells Fargo on October 23rd.
The Chief of Enforcement of FINRA was quoted in an InvestmentNews article saying, "FINRA has a zero tolerance policy for brokers who steal from their clients, especially those who are the most vulnerable … Rooting out this type of misconduct and removing these kinds of bad actors from the industry is a top priority." The harsh penalty by FINRA sends a clear message to its member brokers – that they should be acting in the best interests of their clients at all times.
It is important to eye out for elderly parents and family members - senior citizens are the demographic most commonly targeted by investment scammers. The average investment fraud victim is 69 years old, and 30 percent of all investment fraud victims are in the over-60 age bracket. Why? At an advanced age, they have accumulated valuable assets, they are more likely to suffer from a weakened mental state, and often scammers play on their emotions.