FINRA Sues Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Ami Forte for Elder Financial Fraud

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it is suing Ami Forte, a former star Morgan Stanley (MS) broker. Forte is accused of making unsuitable trades in the account of Home Shopping Network co-founder Roy M. Speer, who was mentally impaired and bedridden at the end of his life.

Forte earned over $9M commissions in less than a year from her work with Speer alone, and overall his accounts were responsible for nearly 90% of the commissions she made. At one point she was considered one of the highest earning female financial advisers in the US.

While the FINRA fraud complaint only refers to the older investor by his initials, news sources and other court documents identify the elder financial fraud victim as Mr. Speer. The Home Shopping Network co-founder, who was 80 when he died in 2012, had an estimated worth of about $775M in 2003. For a time, he was romantically involved with Forte.

FINRA’s lawsuit comes two years after Morgan Stanley fired Forte in 2016. Her dismissal occurred after Speer’s widow Lynda Speer won her investor fraud complaint again Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, branch manager Terry McCoy, and Forte. Mrs. Speer had accused Morgan Stanley of making about 12,000 unauthorized trades resulting in approximately $40M commissions. A FINRA arbitration panel awarded Mrs. Speer $32.8M, in addition to what was expected to be millions of dollars in costs and legal fees.

FINRA’s elder financial fraud lawsuit against Forte also names broker Charles Lawrence, who, along with her, allegedly made over 2,800 trades in Mr. Speer’s accounts during the period when he was suffering from serious cognitive impairments. The self-regulatory authority (SRO) is accusing the two brokers of:

• Churning
• Excessive trading
• Unethical business conduct
• Unsuitable trading
• Exercising discretion in a client’s account without written permission

FINRA contends that Forte and Lawrence knew that Mr. Speer had become mentally impaired but they did not notify Morgan Stanley.

Forte’s BrokerCheck profile notes that beginning in March 2018 until this past October, she was a registered Pinnacle Investments (PNI) broker. Before that she was with Morgan Stanley for 10 years until her firing.

Morgan Stanley Investor Fraud Lawyers
If you are an investor that lost money while working with a Morgan Stanley broker, please contact our investor fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) today. In just the last few months, FINRA has barred a number of former Morgan Stanley brokers for fraud and other reasons. Contact us today.

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