Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s office has fined United Planners Financial Services of America $100K for failing to properly supervise broker Thomas T. Riquier. The broker was charged last year for violating the state’s securities laws over his alleged involvement in a real estate scam that defrauded investors and others of at least $1M over 26 years.
According to the state regulator’s consent order, at one point Riquier, who is president of The Retirement Financial Center, oversaw 1,771 accounts for about 400 clients and generated more than $1.2M for United Planners, including over $500K in advisory fees. The state regulator charged Riquier, who is no longer a registered broker or investment adviser, last year with violating the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act.
Investors of a limited partnership known as the Rowley Land Appreciation Fund Limited Partnership (The Rowley Fund) contend that Riquier told them that the property he was purchasing on their behalf would be sold for profit. Instead, he allegedly used their money to buy property that already belonged to him. Investors have yet to see any return on this property. Last year, The Salem News reported that according to investigators, Riquier made about $730K from his investor fraud.
Riquier is accused of soliciting clients for over $800K in private loans, which violates not just Massachusetts law but also federal law. Galvin’s office, meantime, found that United Planners failed in its obligation to properly supervise and monitor Riquier. The state regulator accused the financial firm of failing to conduct even the “most basic of due diligence” that would have uncovered Riquier’s fraud. It also contended that there were “red flags” signaling Riquier’s misconduct but that United Planners failed to conduct a reasonable review of the broker’s outside business activities.
The regulator’s order states that now, Riquier and United Planners will jointly issue rescission and restitution offers to investors that were harmed. Riquier, who the firm allowed to resign last year, will also be permanently be barred from registering as a broker in Massachusetts and with the SEC. Additionally, he will pay a $50K fine.
Riquier’s BrokerCheck record shows that with over 45 years in the industry, he also was previously registered with New England Securities, Mainstreet Management Company, and MHA Financial Corp. His record notes several disclosures, including a number of customer disputes. Three of the disputes that involved the making of trades have resulted in settlements, including one for nearly $219K.
Broker misconduct can cause serious losses for investors who have been the victims of fraud. Brokerage firms have a responsibility to properly supervise their brokers and other representatives to make sure that they don’t engage in negligence, fraud, or other wrongdoing.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm), please contact our broker fraud lawyers and our brokerage firm misconduct attorneys so that we can help you determine whether you have grounds for an investor fraud claim. We represent investors throughout the US.