Last week, the SEC brought cease and desist proceedings against former broker Howard D. Richards (CRD# 2172691) for engaging in securities fraud. During the relevant period, Richards was a licensed stockbroker registered with the brokerage firm Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. and doing business under the investment advisory firm Securus Wealth Management, LLC.
During the relevant period, Richards allegedly participated in a market manipulation scheme to support the price of stock in a start-up company called Gatekeeper USA, Inc. From 2008 through 2009, Richards allegedly bought a large amount of Gatekeeper stock for himself. During that same period, the SEC alleged that Richards purchased around $900,000 in shares of Gatekeeper for his clients.
Then, the SEC alleged, Richards kept buying Gatekeeper’s stock on a discretionary basis in his clients’ accounts in order to prevent the price of Gatekeeper from declining. From approximately January 2010 through July 2013, Richards allegedly caused an additional $1.1 million of Gatekeeper shares to be purchased by his clients. Richards agreed to the SEC’s sanctions, including a bar from association with any brokerage firm in the future.
In separate cease and desist proceedings against Richards’ direct supervisor James D. Goodland (CRD# 2385266) and Securus Wealth Management, LLC, the SEC alleged that Goodland failed to act on red flags generated by Richards’ misconduct. Allegedly, Goodland had bi-weekly meetings with Richards and Richards had told Goodland about the Gatekeeper shares and Richards’ strategy of purchasing Gatekeeper stock in client portfolios. Because of these supervisory failures, Goodland has agreed to a bar from working in a supervisory or compliance capacity in the future.
If you invested with Howard Richards of Securus Wealth Management and lost money, we invite you to contact the securities fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson today for a free review of your case so that you can learn your legal rights and options.