A former Wells Fargo financial advisor faces 128 felony counts, includingsecurities fraud and forgery. Federal authorities claim that the man operated a long-running Ponzi scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable clients.
Over a period of fourteen years, authorities say the man transferred annuity assets to other accounts to hide financial shortfalls. Several of the victims have or had Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. By the time authorities stepped in, they say the man had filched more than $1M from his clients.
He faces charges of forgery, theft of more than $150,000 from a vulnerable adult, telecommunications fraud and investment fraud. Wells Fargo said it fired the man in 2017 following allegations that he had moved client money without authorization. According to the company, the man also issued phony account statements. The Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) barred the man last March after he failed to respond to the agency’s inquiries.
Some clients have already received settlements totaling $1.7 million. Another client, who filed a claim in 2007, received a settlement of $80,000. More clients have filed other arbitration cases, which have not yet been decided.
The scam – which took place in Ohio – fell apart when state regulators launched an investigation in 2017. Authorities arrested the man in late December, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.
Federal securities fraud lawyer
When you face federal or state charges for investment fraud, hire an experienced securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes both federal and state cases. Mr. Helfend defends against federal charges in any circuit in the United States. He also takes state cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.
Many defendants choose to plead guilty to federal charges. While this approach may have some advantages, it’s not always the best strategy. Your first move should always be to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Having aggressive, experienced representation in court can make a major difference in the outcome of your case.
Don’t wait, and don’t take chances on inexperienced counsel. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: David Seibold, via Flickr.com