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Broker Theft

Financial advisors are in positions of trust – they manage our life savings, provide financial advice, and protect our best interests. Or, they are supposed to. While most financial advisors are reliable and trustworthy people, some unscrupulous brokers use their position of trust to take advantage of their customers by stealing customers’ money.

In our firm’s experience representing investors for over 20 years, we have seen broker theft carried out in a number of different ways, but there are two schemes that occur most often.

First, in many broker theft cases, the broker solicits his or her customers to purchase some type of investment, or engage in some type of business dealings, that requires them writing a check. The check could be made out to the broker or some entity that the broker controls. Instead of using the customer’s money for a legitimate investment or business deal, the broker diverts the money for his or her own personal use.

Second, brokers who set out to steal from their clients often do so simply by making unauthorized withdrawals from their customers’ investment accounts, either through forgeries, misrepresentations, or some other method of concealment that works for a period of time.

The best thing an investor can do to protect him or herself from broker theft is to be aware of common fraud tactics and to watch out for the recognized "red flags." Never, ever hand your broker a check payable directly to the broker or his or her own company. You should send your money to the institution that is going to take custody of your money, rather than the person who is selling you the investments.

It’s also important that you keep an eye on your investment account statements to look for potential signs of unauthorized withdrawals. Theft from brokerage accounts directly is unfortunately more prevalent with elderly investors who are more vulnerable due to medical issues or cognitive impairment – so it’s a good idea to follow up on your elderly loved one’s accounts and their withdrawals as well.

The silver lining is that a person who has suffered financial loss because of a broker’s theft often has options to recover their hard-earned savings. Most often, the best solution is not to bring a legal claim against the broker directly because he or she probably won’t be able to satisfy a personal judgment. However, all brokerage firms have a duty to reasonably supervise their brokers and vigorously investigate red flags. It is our experience that theft cases often leave a trail of missed red flags that were neither adequately identified nor investigated by the brokerage firm.

If you suspect that a broker may have stolen funds from you or a loved one, contact our firm today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

Need More Information?

Investment misconduct can be complex and confusing. That’s why we’re here to help you. Visit our Common Questions page to find in depth answers directly from our attorneys. Get More Answers
Have You Been a Victim of Investment Fraud?

You trusted your financial advisor with your money, but now you're left wondering what went wrong. If you or a loved one suffered losses because of investment misconduct, Meyer Wilson can step in and fight to recover your losses. The team of investment fraud lawyers at the firm has been helping people like you since 1999 by winning judgments, settlements and verdicts worth hundreds of millions of dollars against brokerage firms, financial advisors and banks.

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