FINRA barred Sacramento, California-based representative Michelle Lee Kern for the alleged unlawful conversion of a total $669,000 from client brokerage and checking accounts, including alleged theft from several elderly customers.
The investigation states that Kern's misconduct occurred between June 2010 and December 2012 while she was associated with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. of Roseville, finding that Kern first converted for personal use $569,000 from 22 brokerage accounts using unauthorized electronic withdrawals. FINRA alleges the remaining $100,000 in unlawful conversions came from two customers whose checkbooks Kern used to effect the misconduct.
Investigators discovered that nine of the allegedly victimized customers were at least 60 years old, including one of the two customers who gave Kern a checkbook with instructions to destroy it.
However, instead of destroying the check book as promised, Kern allegedly forged customer signatures and wrote personal checks for herself in the amount of $100,000, depositing the ill-gotten funds into her personal checking account.
Kern's BrokerCheck file indicates 17 disclosure events, all of which occurred after the alleged misconduct took place in 2012. Aside from the present regulatory decision barring Kern from the industry, customers filed complaints alleging unsuitable recommendations, misappropriation of funds, misleading statements and Ameriprise's own termination of Kern's employment.
If you have invested with Michelle Lee Kern or with any financial adviser or broker whose access to your investment account resulted in conversion of your money, personal loans to the adviser, or any other inappropriate activities which have proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.