Suing Brokerage Firms for Elder Financial Abuse
Ex-LPL Financial Broker Bradley Goodbred Charged In Alleged $1.3M Senior Investor Fraud
In Illinois, former LPL Financial stockbroker Bradley Allen Goodbred was arrested and charged with 23 felonies, including multiple classes of a felony involving both the exploitation of an elderly person and theft. Goodbred, who also was charged late last year by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with stealing $1.295M from a client with dementia, was fired by the broker-dealer in January 2021. He was permanently barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) a month later.
Our skilled elder financial abuse attorneys are investigating claims of investor losses involving Bradley Goodbred and other brokers who allegedly may have taken advantage of older investors by defrauding them. If you suspect that you or someone you love may be the victim of this type of broker misconduct, Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (investorlawyers.com) may be able to help.
What Is Elder Financial Abuse?
Some Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse:
- Unexplained withdrawals from the older person’s bank account
- Sudden changes made to financial documents, including wills
- Forged signatures on financial transactions
- Unexplained asset transfers to a family member, friend, or stranger
- The addition of someone else’s name on the account
According to the National Council on Aging in 2021, up to five million elderly Americans are the victims of financial abuse each year at a cost of at least $36.5B.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as the “intentional act or failure to act” by someone who is in a relationship, where there is an expectation of trust, that “causes or creates” a risk of harm to an older person. It defines financial abuse or exploitation of the elderly as the “illegal, unauthorized, or improper use” of an older person’s resources by someone in a relationship of trust.
In some instances, “undue influence” may be a factor. According to the American Bar Association’s National Center on Law and Elder Rights, this involves someone using their position and authority to exploit an older person’s dependency, trust, and fears to control their decision-making abilities.
A broker that commits elder financial abuse is in breach of their fiduciary duty and also is committing a crime. This is why Goodbred, who allegedly defrauded his older client, has not only been the subject of civil charges by the SEC, but also is now facing time in prison if convicted.
Also, financial advisors who commit elder financial abuse and their broker-dealers can be sued for damages by the victims and their families. In early 2022, LPL settled for over $1.2M a FINRA lawsuit filed by a customer accusing Goodbred of compelling her to execute a document that made him her power of attorney. She said that he allegedly persuaded her to invest in fraudulent, unregistered security.
Why Older Investors Are Vulnerable To Financial Abuse By Brokers and Others
Because many senior investors may have diminished mental or physical capacity, they can be more susceptible to being defrauded by a trusted relative, friend, or financial professional. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to preemptively try to protect them and you can consult with one of our knowledgeable elder law attorneys to find out more.
As a matter of fact, many victims of elder financial abuse are investors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, which can seriously affect their judgment and ability to comprehend that they are being scammed. To be clear, however, an older investor does not have to be impaired to be the victim of this type of broker fraud.
Another reason why senior investors are a favorite target of scammers is that often they will have acquired a lifetime of savings. This means they have a nest egg that others, including bad stockbrokers, may try to exploit.
Social isolation also can be a factor, especially if the older person does not have a close community or family. This can make it easy for elder financial abuse to happen without anyone else noticing. That said, there are also many older investors who have strong support systems and end up the victims of elder financial abuse because they and their families entrusted unscrupulous financial professionals to take care of their money.
How Can Our Elder Financial Abuse Lawyers Help?
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, our brokerage firm arbitration lawyers help seniors, retirees, and their families in pursuing damages from broker-dealers whose financial advisors breached their duty to these investors and caused them significant investor losses by committing elder financial abuse. (We also represent senior investor clients whose brokers placed them in unsuitable investments. In some instances, their accounts may be overconcentrated with complex alternative investments.)
If you or someone you love suffered serious investment losses because of this broker misconduct, we can help you explore your legal options. Our investor loss lawyers represent victims and their families in FINRA arbitration where they can sue their brokerage firm for damages.
To schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation, call (800) 259-9010 today.