The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred J. Gordon Cloutier, Jr. (Cloutier), a former Wells-Fargo (WFC) broker based in the Dallas area of Frisco, Texas, after he allegedly tried to make an unauthorized trade and requested a loan from a client. Cloutier, who had worked at the firm for seven years, was fired in 2016. Previous to working with Wells Fargo, Cloutier was a Merrill Lynch broker, which is now a division of Bank of America (BAC), from 1996 to 2009. FINRA ultimately barred Cloutier after he failed to respond to numerous attempts by the self-regulatory organization to interview him for its probe. It is FINRA’s policy to open an investigation after a broker is let go from a firm. It was Cloutier’s lack of response that led to FINRA issuing the default bar from the industry.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas LLP, our Texas broker fraud law firm represents investors in helping them to recoup their losses sustained due to broker misconduct, negligence, or carelessness. Over the years, we have successfully helped thousands of investors from our Houston offices. If you were an investors who worked with Cloutier, our Wells Fargo investor fraud attorneys want to hear from you.
Cloutier is not the only former Wells Fargo broker to recently be barred by FINRA. Earlier this year, FINRA barred Jeffrey Palish (Palish), who was accused of elder investor fraud. FINRA contends that Palish stole more than $180,000 from a female investor. Wells Fargo fired him last year after finding that Palish made misstatements about the transactions at issue. Palish was arrested and charged with theft by deception. Prosecutors think Palish may have stolen at least $600,000 from elderly investors and that Palish also neglected to pay two clients back for a $100,000 loan.
Unfortunately, broker misconduct can lead to substantial losses for investors and may include a number of inappropriate behaviors and actions, including margin account abuse, negligence, carelessness, churning, overconcentration, unsuitability, unauthorized trading, misrepresentations, omissions, excessive commissions, misappropriation, and theft.
Investors who are the victim of broker fraud may find that they have grounds for financial recovery and compensation, not just from the financial representative, but also from the bank or firm where the individual worked. In some instances, the bank itself may be the one responsible for the alleged misconduct.
Wells Fargo Continues to Face Misconduct Allegations
Recently, Wells Fargo Advisers came under fire from its own advisers who accused the bank of pressuring them to market products to high net worth investors, not because they benefited the clients but because these products charged higher fees, which would increase the revenue for the firm. These whistleblower former advisors have shined a light on the type of wrongdoing that occurs in the brokerage industry when there are large conflicts of interests and the firms, or the brokers, fail to act in the best interests of their clients.
Also, earlier this month, the state of New Mexico announced that it was suing Wells Fargo related to the scandal accusing the bank of opening up millions of unauthorized accounts throughout the United States. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas contends that Wells Fargo opened up over 20,000 fake accounts in New Mexico residents’ names. The lawsuit is asking that the bank pay a $5,000 Penalty for every authorized account it wrongfully opened up. The state also wants fines imposed for other alleged violations, as well as civil penalties, restitution, and legal fees. To date, Wells Fargo has paid over $500 million to settle with investors and customers over the fake accounts scandal.
If you are an investor who thinks you have suffered losses at the hands of Wells Fargo or one if its brokers, including Cloutier or Palish, contact our Wells Fargo investor fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas, LLP today.
Finra bars former Wells Fargo broker terminated for allegedly asking a client for a loan, InvestmentNews, August 28, 2018
AG Balderas Brings Lawsuit against Wells Fargo for Opening Thousands of Fake Accounts, NMAG.GOV, August 16, 2018
More Blog Posts from SSEK Law Firm:
Ex-Wells Fargo Broker Barred for Alleged $180K Elder Financial Fraud, February 26, 2018