Unethical financial brokers and advisors skim money from clients' investment accounts without their knowledge. In many cases, unethical brokers and advisors deceive investors by providing false information, withholding important information related to investments, or offering clients bad investment advice.
Skimming Funds from Investment Accounts
Recently, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) secured a court order to freeze the assets of a Colorado financial broker who skimmed $2.8 million from client investment accounts. According to SEC complaints, the former broker for LPL Financial allegedly forged client signatures on checks made out to a company called C Investments, then deposited the funds in the phony company held by one of her advisory friends. When questioned by her clients, the broker allegedly lied about having any connection to C Investments.
Aoccording to the allegations, over the course of 13 years, the broker, Sonya Camarco, was able to accumulate $2.8 million for her personal gain. According to the SEC, the stolen funds were used to pay for personal mortgage debts, credit card bills, and other miscellaneous purchases.
In a separate case of fraudulent activity in Texas, a Houston financial advisor has been charged with theft for skimming funds from clients' retirement accounts. In July, 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Lawrence DeShetler with investment fraud. DeShelter allegedly skimmed $1.9 million from unsuspecting investors' retirement accounts, then used the funds for personal expenses and purchases.
The securities litigation attorneys at the Meyer Wilson law firm handle a variety of fraud cases and investment claims. Cases involving securities fraud often include:
- Ponzi schemes
- Pyramid schemes
- Fraudulent hedge fund investments
- Fraudulent high yield investments
- Fraud involving foreign currency
- Broker embezzlement schemes
To protect investors from various types of fraud, the SEC is establishing a searchable database that shows a list of brokers who have been barred or suspended from practice due to federal violations. Concerned investors are encouraged to use the website to identify unethical brokers and advisors who are guilty of committing fraud. By using FINRA's BrokerCheck, potential or established investors can conduct background checks on brokers and advisors prior to investing. The database isn't perfect but it is a good first step.
If you were the victim of investment fraud, contact our investment fraud attorneys at Meyer Wilson to set up a free case consultation today.