Former LPL Financial broker ordered to pay nearly $2 million in disgorgement and penalties after being accused of swindling clients out of nearly $1.7 million
Mr. Blake Richards misappropriated client money that constituted retirement savings, and even life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The majority of the siphoned funds were retirement savings or life insurance proceeds from deceased spouses, the SEC said in a press release
Richards worked hard to gain the confidence and trust of his investors, and at least two of the investors were senior citizens, and two others were widowed, according to the SEC’s original complaint. He stooped so low as to deliver pain medication during a snowstorm to a client’s husband who had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
Richards Concocted Phony Funds in Order to Siphon Funds from Elderly Clients, According to an SEC Official
Beginning in 2008 Richards advised at least seven clients to invest in bogus funds such as “Blake Richards Investments” or “BMO Investments”. Investors believed that their money would be going to fixed-income investments, variable annuities or equities, according to a case filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. They couldn’t have imagined that he was using their cash for his own personal expenses. Mr. Richards even submitted fabricated account statements, the Securities and Exchange Commission stated. “None of the investments appeared on the client’s brokerage account statements, and Mr. Richards received no commission income from these investments,” the SEC said in a statement.
The SEC Initially Announced Charges against Richards Last Summer
The ruling against Richards, barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. in June 2013, was part of a summary judgment by Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr. Richards was given the sack on May 3, 2013, by LPL, which claims to have conducted an investigation of its own into the matter. Betsy Weinberger, an LPL representative, stated that another financial advisor had tipped off LPL regarding the alleged misconduct.
Firms Seeking to Distance Themselves from Richards
Lanier Wealth Management of Buford, Georgia, declined to comment on the case. LPL, which has over 13,500 brokers, was not named in the SEC’s complaint. Mr. Richards served as an LPL Financial broker from May 2009 until May 2013.
Investment Fraud Lawyers Investigating Blake Richards
The Peiffer Rosca securities attorneys often represent investors who lose money as a result of Ponzi schemes, investment fraud, or stockbroker misconduct. They are currently investigating the possibility of assisting victims with the recovery of their losses. They take most cases of this type on a contingency fee basis and advance the case costs, and only get paid for their fees and costs out of money they recover for their clients.
Investors who believe they lost money as a result of investment fraud or misconduct may contact the securities lawyers at Peiffer Rosca, Alan Rosca or Joe Peiffer, for a free, no-obligation evaluation of their recovery options, at 888-998-0520.
Broker: Blake Richards
Status: INVESTIGATED by Peiffer Rosca.
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