Jeffrey C. McClure, a former Wells Fargo advisor, has been barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after being charged with stealing almost $89,000 from an elderly client. McClure allegedly deposited money into his personal account by using blank, unsigned checks provided by the client under the guise that McClure would use the checks to pay the client's bills. Wells Fargo repaid the stolen monies to the client.
Former financial advisor, Travis Wetzel, was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to a former client. Wetzel was first charged in May of last year with 24 counts of wire fraud and money laundering after he allegedly transferred money from a client's account into his own, without the knowledge or permission of the client. Over a 26 month span, Wetzel used his position as the branch manager at Research Financial Strategies to embezzle $1,282,224 from his client's annuity account.
After allegedly failing to supervise its representatives, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined WFG Investments Inc. $700,000.00. FINRA stated that WFG had failed to supervise their representatives in six areas of supervision. FINRA also alleged a failure to conduct adequate due diligence with regard to the sale of private securities transactions, alternative investments, and other private placement offerings.
U.S. Capital Advisors, an investment advisory firm located in Houston, Texas, was ordered to pay a group of Exxon retirees $3.8 million in damages for implementing an unstable investment strategy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the retirees were falsely told that there savings was invested in a strategy which would protect them from market downturns. Despite this assurance, the retirees lost their savings. The arbitration panel awarded the retirees $1.9 million dollars in damages, nearly $1 million for legal fees, and punitive damages in the amount of $852,630.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feinerman sentenced Oscar Overbey, Jr., to three and a half years in a federal prison. The charges against Overbey, a former Ameriprise advisor, stemmed from an alleged Ponzi scheme he created to pay off gambling debts and other personal expenses. Investigators believe that from 1996 through 2007, Overbey used his status as a financial advisor to embezzle about $4 million of his clients' money. This resulted in Overbey being barred from the financial industry in 2007 after he was terminated from Ameriprise in 2006. Ameriprise refunded all the clients who had lost money due to Overbey's actions. Overbey was also ordered to pay $3 million in restitution, which will reimburse Ameriprise. During the trial Overbey admitted that he met a lot of clients through his gambling and that, "The lines between my brokerage business and my gambling were often blurred." Once he completes his sentence, Overbey will then be placed on a three-year supervised probation, in which he will be prohibited from entering any casinos or participating in any gambling.