The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred Jeffrey Palish, an ex-Wells Fargo (WFC) broker in the wake of allegations of senior investor fraud. The regulator is accusing him of stealing over $180K from an elderly client with no plans or means of paying her back.
Palish was let go by the firm last year after an internal probe found that he had made misstatements about these transactions. He was arrested last week in New Jersey and charged with theft by deception involving over $75K.
According to prosecutors, Palish may have stolen at least $600K from elderly clients and failed to pay back a $100K loan from two clients. NorthJersey.com reports that Palish took clients’ money by selling their stock holdings and putting the funds from those sales into a bank account in which he deposited checks from clients. He also is accused of making more than three dozen unauthorized wire transfers of about $300K in total to pay his credit card bills.
DOJ Enhances Efforts to Combat Senior Fraud
Unfortunately, elder financial fraud continues to be a huge problem in the US. Last week, the US Justice Department announced its coordinated efforts with law enforcement partners in conducting a nationwide sweep of elder fraud cases that has led to over 250 defendants. Over a million individuals, mostly seniors, were the victims.
To date, 200 individuals have been criminally charged for their alleged involvement in financial scams impacting and /or targeting seniors that resulted in over $500M in losses. Fraud scams included those involving investment fraud, theft by guardians, mass mailing, identity theft and telemarketing.
One of those charged, reports the Associated Press, is Kentucky financial adviser Derek Payne Burcham. The ex-principal owner of Cornerstone Benefit Advisors is accused of fraudulently obtaining over $800K from investors between ’11 and ’16.
Burcham is charged with money laundering, wire fraud, investment adviser fraud, and identity theft. He allegedly used investors’ money to pay for operating costs and tp support himself.
Another man, Rhode Island resident Shawn Witfield, is accused of defrauding his victims by claiming that they won the lottery and then trying to get them to pay fees or taxes on their prize money. Some 47 people in nearly two dozen states were collectively bilked of over $98K in his alleged scam.
CNBC reports that 2015 data released by True Link Financial found that elder financial abuse is the reason that older Americans sustain about $36.5B in losses annually.
REIT Fraud Allegedly Targeted Elderly Investors in California
Recently, the California Department of Insurance announced the arrests of ex- Western International Securities, Inc. brokers Clement Lancelot Chichester and Brittney Sias for recommending high risk non-traded real estate investment trusts to one one older investor even though they were not suitable for this particular customer. Another elderly investor is pursuing a FINRA arbitration claim against the two of them for allegedly recommending that she invest almost her entire liquid net worth in nontraded REITS and illiquid private placements, including American Realty Capital REITs.
Sias and Chichester are accused of misrepresenting the risks involved with the REITs. Meantime, Western is accused of not properly supervising the two financial representatives and disregarding that too many illiquid REITs were recommended.
Last year, FINRA barred the two of them for not cooperating in a FINRA probe into allegations that they improperly received money from at least one customer while at Western International.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP, our elder financial fraud lawyers are here to work with seniors and their families in helping them try to recover the losses they’ve sustained due to investment fraud. Contact our investor fraud law firm today.
Ex-Wells Fargo rep barred and arrested for ripping off elderly, InvestmentNews, February 26, 2018
Justice Department Coordinates Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep of More Than 250 Defendants, Justice.gov, February 22, 2018
More Blog Posts from SSEK Law Firm:
UBS Must Pay Five Clients $521,000 Over Puerto Rico Bond Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 24, 2018
Fund Manager Accused of Losing $178M in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities is Barred from the Industry, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, February 16, 2018
Multi-Million Dollar Investment Adviser Fraud Cases Target Widows, Older Investors, and Other Retail Investors, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 28, 2017