Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas Investigates Investor Claims Involving ex-Morgan Stanley Brokers Ami Forte and Charles Lawrence

SSEK Investigating The Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker, Ami Forte

Earlier this year, our investor lawyers reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had filed a lawsuit against former Morgan Stanley broker, Ami Forte. She allegedly made unauthorized trades in the now-deceased Home Shopping Network co-founder, Roy Speer’s, account while he was afflicted with dementia. 

The self-regulatory authority has now announced that it is barring Forte. Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) are currently investigating complaints and concerns by former customers of Ami Forte who are suspecting that their losses may be due to fraud. 

According to FINRA, from 9/2011 through 6/2012, the ex- Morgan Stanley broker engaged in churning, making 2800 unsuitable trades that garnered $9M in commissions. Churning typically involves making trades for the purpose of earning commissions and not because the transactions make sense or are in the client’s best interests. 

Ami Forte allegedly engaged in these unsuitable trades even while Speer was in the hospital for several days. According to InvestmentNews, there was $14M in transactions accumulating in the Home Shopping Network co-founder’s account during that time alone. Speer died in August 2012.

The SRO is accusing Forte of taking advantage of the fact the Speer had dementia, which, would be considered elder financial abuse, as well as fraud. Not to mention that clients suffering from cognitive and other mental impairments are often not able to make sound decisions when it comes to their finances.

Ami Forte, who reportedly at one time had a romantic relationship with Speer, has denied any wrongdoing in this matter. She claims that she did not make or supervise the trades in Speer’s account that were flagged for churning. That was allegedly done by a different broker on Forte’s team.

Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Charles Lawrence Also Barred

FINRA has now barred that registered representative, ex-Morgan Stanley broker Charles J. Lawrence, who is also accused of investor fraud while trading on behalf of Speer. 

He worked for 20 years in the securities industry and was the fixed-income trader on Forte’s team for many years until the broker-dealer fired him in 2016.  Until the bar, Lawrence has been an RF Lafferty broker since 2016. SSEK Law Firm is also investigating customer complaints involving Lawrence.

Forte Blames Morgan Stanley

Forte has accepted the lifetime ban by the SRO. According to her attorney, she believes Morgan Stanley is the one who should be blamed for not adequately supervising Speer’s accounts. As her legal team points out,  the broker-dealer made “many millions of dollars” while handling his accounts.

Morgan Stanley fired Forte in 2016 after Speer’s widow sued the brokerage firm for $400M over Forte’s alleged actions. A FINRA arbitration panel awarded Speer’s estate $34M for the churning claim.  

Forte is now suing Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.  She briefly worked as a registered Pinnacle Investments broker last year. Prior to her time at Morgan Stanley, she was a broker with Banc of  America Investment Services, Barnett Investments, Smith Barney, and Prudential Securities.

Broker Fraud Claims

If you suffered losses while working with former Morgan Stanley brokers Ami Forte or Charles Lawrence, contact SSEK Law Firm today so we can help you determine whether you have grounds for a broker fraud case or an inadequate supervision case against Morgan Stanley. We have helped thousands of investors in recouping their losses.

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