Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has filed investor fraud charges against ex-broker Bruce Worthington, who was previously licensed with Commonwealth Financial Network and after that with Founders Financial Network. Worthington was based in Massachusetts.
According to Galvin’s fraud complaint, Worthington fraudulently misappropriated nearly $100K from one client’s accounts. The client is a retiree who worked as a groundskeeper and a landscaper. He was an inexperienced investor and Worthington was his broker for over 15 years.
From 2006 to 2008, about $98K was withdrawn from the retiree’s brokerage account. The state regulator contends that the money went towards Worthington’s own personal use. The ex-broker is accused of hiding his scam by persuading the client to diversify his portfolio. He also allegedly gave the retiree falsified documents to make it appear as if the diverted funds were put into alternative investments, including structured notes and laddered bonds, and had resulted in significant returns.
In 2017, the client sought to withdraw his funds to get ready for his retirement. Galvin’s office claims that Worthington engaged in “stall tactics” to persuade the investor that the money was not yet available to be withdrawn. Last April, Worthington allegedly put together a document that made it appear as if the investor’s diverted funds had made about $140K. Still, the client was unable to withdraw his money despite requests to Worthington.
The state regulator’s enforcement division is requiring Worthington to:
- Permanently cease and desist from conduct that would further violate The Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act.
- Give an accounting of losses related to the alleged wrongdoing.
- Provide restitution to investors that were harmed by the alleged wrongdoing.
- Disgorge any profits made from the alleged wrongdoing.
Galvin’s investor fraud case comes six months after the US Securities and Exchange Commission opened its own probe into Worthington over “concerns” related to his handling customer funds from before 2013. In December, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended the former broker. The self-regulatory organization (SRO) could end up barring him if he doesn’t provide certain information in its inquiry. Founders Financial Securities fired him last year. With 26 years in the securities industry, Worthington was also previously a registered broker with PFS Investments.
Please contact our broker fraud lawyers if you or someone you love lost money while investing with Bruce Worthington. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm) is dedicating to helping investors throughout the US recoup their losses. Contact us today.