Current Investigation: Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas, LLP (“SSEK Law Firm”) is currently investigating claims on behalf of former clients of Kristian “Kris” Gaudet (“Gaudet”) of Cut Off, Louisiana.
In January 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) barred Gaudet from association with any FINRA member. The result of such a bar is that FINRA has effectively kicked Gaudet out of the brokerage business permanently. Kristian Guadet was most recently associated with Ameritas Investment Corp. (“Ameritas”), and had worked for Ameritas’ brokerage firm and insurance arm since 2003. Prior to Ameritas, Mr. Gaudet worked for The Advisors Group and Princor Financial Services. In November 2018, FINRA opened an investigation of Mr. Gaudet based on “suspicions that Mr. Gaudet was involved in fraudulent activities.” Then, only a few weeks later, on December 10, 2018, Ameritas terminated Mr. Gaudet based on allegations from clients that Mr. Gaudet was “using client funds for personal use.” Even after the termination from Ameritas, FINRA continued with its investigation. Rather than defend the allegations, Gaudet refused to appear or provide any on-the-record testimony, instead consenting to a permanent bar from the securities industry.
While it is unusual for brokers to find ways to steal client funds or otherwise use client funds as their own, it sadly does still happen. More importantly, our firm’s experience is that long before a broker starts taking client funds directly, that broker does many other less obvious things to hurt his/her clients while trying to profit from those same clients. The act of theft is typically the last in a series of wrongdoing that often goes undetected for years from customers.