Articles Posted in Edward D. Jones

Jason Wade Cox, a former advisor for Edward Jones, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering involving the account of a 56-year-old disabled woman. Cox had been managing the account of Jodene Beaver ever since the death of her father three years ago.

Beaver, who has mental and physical impairments, was left a trust by her father, who chose Cox as her financial adviser. Unfortunately, rather than helping Beaver, Cox stole thousands of dollars, taking money from the original account, moving the funds into her checking account, and then spending a lot of the cash on gambling. Not only did Cox spend all of Beaver’s money, but also he recommended that she sell her condominium and transfer to an apartment that had bed bugs.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, Cox got around federal banking rules by taking out from Beaver’s account just under the amount that would have required him to file currency transaction reports. When bank officials asked Beaver about the money she was withdrawing for the financial adviser, she replied that they were business partners but wasn’t sure what kind of business they were involved in. Her bank closed her accounts and notified the police.

In addition to the prison sentence, Cox must serve three years supervised release and pay over $412,000 in restitution.
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Edward D. Jones & Co., the brokerage firm subsidiary of Jones Financial Companies, has consented to pay $20 million to resolve U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allegations accusing the firm of overcharging clients by at least $4.6 million on new municipal bond sales. The regulator contends that the brokerage firm offered bonds at a higher price than what securities laws require.

Underwriters are supposed to sell new bonds at an initial offering price that was negotiated with the bond issuer. The SEC claims that instead of offering municipal bond sales to customers at the worked out a price, the firm allegedly brought the bonds into its own inventory and then later sold them at high prices. Also, said the Commission, in certain instances the bonds were offered to customers after they had already started to trade in the secondary market at higher prices than what was initially offered.

The regulator said that at the very least Edwards Jones was negligent with the overcharges and its behavior was “inconsistent” with the standards and written agreements that govern municipal underwriting. The SEC says it will continue its probe into the matter.
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Jason Cox, a former Edward Jones financial adviser, is criminally charged with allegedly defrauding a disabled woman. Robert C. Yeamans, who is the woman’s now deceased father, had tasked Cox with managing her account. The woman, who is in her fifties, is developmentally disabled.

According to a federal complaint, Cox took at least $160,000 from the investment account set up for her. He allegedly structured transactions by taking out small amounts during a short time period so he wouldn’t have to fulfill bank reporting requirements for bigger sums.

When worried banking officials asked the woman about the money, she told them she put it in a business that Cox owned but did not know what kind of enterprise it was. The bank closed her account.

The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation says Edward Jones & Co. employed “questionable marketing” to bring in customers. Seeking up to $3 million, the brokerage firm is accused of making 20,000 calls to residents that were on NH’s National Do Not Call Registry.

According to regulators, no other broker-dealer has been named in as many complaints about unsolicited phone calls. A spokesperson for Edward Jones, however, disputes this contention.

With over 12,000 financial advisers and approximately 11,400 offices throughout the US-mostly there is just one broker per locale-the brokerage firm tries to work around telemarketing rules by getting brokers to go door-to-door. Training materials talk about how when a potential customer asks to be added to the do-not call list, the broker is supposed to respond by saying he/she respects the former’s decision but that another visit may be likely if something that could be of possible interest to the prospective client arises.

According to Registered Rep magazine’s latest Broker Report Card, 98% of Edward Jones brokers say their securities firm is the best place to work. 78% of Merrill Lynch brokers ranked their investment firm as the number the one workplace.

Findings were compiled from Internet surveys taken by 898 captive brokers last October. Other results:

• 73% of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney representatives gave their firm the top spot.

Edward D. Jones & Co. will pay $75 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it failed to adequately disclose financial incentives to sell mutual funds from its Preferred Families of mutual funds.

The SEC also said that Edward Jones did not make adequate disclosures on its website about its revenue sharing, its directed brokerage payments and other payments for distribution of mutual fund shares. The firm was also accused of failing to disclose information about college savings (or “529”) plans it sold.

Edward Jones agreed to pay $37.5 million in civil penalties, as well as $37.5 million in disgorgement, and to alter its website disclosures about the preferred mutual fund family program and the college savings plan, but neither admitted or denied the claims against it.

As earlier reported, the securities firm of Edward Jones was ordered by the SEC to pay a total of $79 million to its clients and former clients. According to the SEC, the company failed to disclose kickbacks the firm received from various mutual fund companies, known as the “Preferred Fund Families.” The Preferred Families mutual funds are: American Funds; Federated Investors; Goldman Sachs Group; Hartford Mutual Funds; Lord Abbott Funds; Putnam Investments; and Van Kampen Investments.

Now, Edward Jones may be attempting to settle all potential civil claims against it “KNOWN OR UNKNOWN”, by its current or former clients FOR $18.00 PER CLIENT! The proposed settlement is as a result of a class action suit brought against the firm on behalf of millions of its current and former clients in the firm’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Language in the proposed settlement indicates the Edward Jones firm may be seeking to exempt itself from ANY AND ALL CLAIMS which could have been asserted by over 5 million of its current and former clients. Although, none of these clients would have actually signed such an agreement themself, any pending or future lawsuit, arbitration action or other legal claim could potentially be prejudiced by the final language in the settlement agreement.

Edward Jones is now sending checks and making electronic payments to its current and former customers as part of its settlement of revenue sharing claims. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the distribution of $79 million from the “Fair Fund” (also known as the “Edward Jones & Co., L.P. Qualified Settlement Fund”) as compensation to victims of Edward Jones’ practices according to the settlement reached. These payments do not compensate Jones’ clients for any losses caused by any other unfair sales practices.

According to the SEC, Edward Jones failed to adequately disclose kickbacks the firm received from various mutual fund companies, known as the “Preferred Fund Families.” The Preferred Families mutual funds are American Funds; Federated Investors; Goldman Sachs Group; Hartford Mutual Funds; Lord Abbott Funds; Putnam Investments; and Van Kampen Investments. The SEC’s order is available on the SEC website.

Edward Jones’ kickback scheme impacted approximately 2.1 million of its customers who purchased shares of the Preferred Fund Families between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2004. The firm told the public and its customers it was promoting the sale of the Preferred Families’ mutual funds because of the funds’ long-term investment objectives and performance. However, Edward Jones failed to disclose that it received tens of millions of dollars of undisclosed revenue sharing payments from the Preferred Families each year for selling their mutual funds.

The SEC is considering whether to change a rule that could require brokers to reveal whether they have “shelf-space” programs, which treats certain fund companies preferentially in exchange for payment by the fund. Its first point-of-sale disclosure rule had pushed for brokerage firms to reveal the actual amount that they received from fund companies that take part in shelf-space programs. Most brokerage firms, however, are still not abiding by this standard, usually only disclosing the amount that they receive from an agreement without naming the fund company involved.

Even though many brokerage firms are informing investors about any “shelf space” agreements they have with specific mutual funds, most of them are still not disclosing the terms of these agreements. Although brokers are not directly paid by the agreement, a shelf space deal can indirectly influence the sale. For example, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., funds that do “not enter into [shelf space] arrangements … are generally not offered to clients.”

Shelf space agreements can vary, although most of the bigger firms receive anywhere from 0.05% to 0.25% of sales or assets. Brokerage firms claim this money supports education, sales, and technology.

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